We are thrilled to announce True Colors United’s newest staff!
Announcing Shahera Hyatt as the New Program Director of Youth Action
Shahera Hyatt is the new Program Director of Youth Action at True Colors United, focused on centering the lived experience of LGBTQIA youth and young adults in solutions to address homelessness. Previously, Hyatt spent 10 years directing the California Homeless Youth Project, a statewide research and policy initiative on youth homelessness. During her tenure, a she founded Sacramento’s Youth Action Council, centering youth voices in research, policymaking, and community outreach. Hyatt has authored several publications on the topic of youth homelessness including policy briefs on LGBTQ+ youth, college homelessness, and the school-to-prison pipeline. She published the nation’s first state plan to end youth homelessness and helped pass numerous pieces of state legislation to protect homeless and formerly incarcerated young people.
“As a queer/bisexual person with lived experience of homelessness, I have seen and benefitted from the way that True Colors United has been a national leader on uplifting youth voice and action, particularly among LGBTQIA and Black and Indigenous people of color in the movement to end youth homelessness. I am thrilled to carry on that legacy with young people from across the country in the National Youth Forum on Homelessness and the Youth Action Society and look forward to what we can accomplish by working together in the new year.
Building the power of people directly impacted by homelessness, uplifting their ideas, honoring their trauma, and helping to coordinate youth-led action efforts is the most important work happening now, and what I am most drawn to after 10+ years of working in the field. This is a job I can bring myself to as a creative and an activist. As a performer, I am passionate about the intersection between homelessness and the arts, and I believe we can leverage our creativity to delight in the fight.”
Announcing Whitney Bunts as the new Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy
My name is Whitney Bunts and I am the new Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at True Colors United. I am excited to advance TCU’s mission through transformative systems and policy change. Before joining the True Colors United family, I was a policy analyst at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), where I worked on an array of issues such as mental health, education justice, workforce development, and juvenile justice. I led our decriminalization efforts to eradicate carceral and white supremacist structures that permeate through Black and Brown communities. During my tenure, I developed and led a coalition of over 20 members that continues to advocate for a transformed mental health system that does not involve the criminal legal system or law enforcement but creates a safe, accessible, developmentally appropriate, and equitable space for all young people. Moreover, I have provided technical assistance to states and localities, sat on several advisory groups and task forces, and published nationally recognized reports and articles.
Through my role at TCU, I plan to push us toward liberation, because justice is no longer enough. Young people deserve to live holistic lives, without generational trauma and systemic barriers. I am committed to moving beyond what is and envisioning a world of what should be. I am dedicated to transformational change that centers joy, safety, healing, and justice for marginalized young people across this nation – creating access and opportunities, changing narratives, and uplifting communities. My mission is to work alongside young people with lived experience to abolish harmful systems.
As a person who identifies as a Black Lesbian/Queer Woman, living in a white heteronormative society that has endured the systemic abuse garnered from racism, discrimination, and oppression, I know legislative change and incrementalism will not get us to liberation. I am at TCU to be an agitator, co-conspirator, and radical visionary for a new future for all young people. I joined this organization to be in the fight alongside young people to get them the future they deserve – not just to survive, but to thrive. I am guided by all of the youth and young adults in this work and my ancestors before me.
“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and respect one another. We have NOTHING to lose but OUR CHAINS.” – Assata Shakur
Jeff Katz Joins True Colors United As Senior Director of Development
True Colors United is excited to announce that Jeff Katz has joined the team as the new Senior Director of Development, overseeing the organization’s fundraising efforts and supporter engagement. Having spent nearly a decade working with youth and young adults experiencing homelessness, most recently Jeff served as the Director of Strategic Initiatives at My Friend’s Place in Los Angeles. It was there that Jeff led on advancing a number of the organization’s key projects, including campaign fundraising, advocacy, media relations and community partnerships.
Jeff has also raised funds and created campaigns for organizations including the L.A. LGBT Center, International Medical Corps., AIDS/LifeCycle and Ronald McDonald House Charities.
“As a longtime supporter of True Color United, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to join this incredible team! The vital work that TCU does is helping not only support youth currently experiencing homelessness across the country, but also getting us that much closer to ending youth homelessness for all.”