Staff & Board of Directors
The Marriage Equality Rhode Island Staff and Board of Directors is a dedicated and talented group of Rhode Islanders whose purpose is to determine the organization’s mission and sustain its vision.
Growing up in Warwick in the 1950’s , the era of Eisenhower and Beaver Cleaver, Ken never heard the word “gay”. The term hadn’t been invented yet, but other words conveyed the message that being attracted to other men wasn’t normal and needed to be suppressed..
And, repressed it was until after graduating from Trinity College when the flame of social justice ignited a national prairie fire of revolt and reform that included the Stonewall riots in NYC. Gay Pride was born, and a new gay activist brought this new energy and passion back to RI in 1974. Through countless demonstrations and hearings and Pride marches—and with many fallen heros—Ken continued to push RI towards greater rights for LGBTQ citizens.
When AIDS hit RI in the mid-80’s, Ken stepped up to provide leadership in creating RI Project AIDS (now APRI) and chairing its Board for 6 years. He used his position at the RI Department of Education to advance LBGTQ rights in many ways, always being a visible and relentless advocate for gay youth.
Joining the YPI Board in 2000, Ken has seen the organization grow in stature, size, and influence through the tenure of three Board Chairs, three Executive Directors….and now its third move. Despite making great strides towards true equality (not mere tolerance!) for LGBTQ youth, Ken believes the most powerful revolutionary act remains each person’s own decision not to be invisible by stepping out and stepping up.
Ken joined MERI in 2009, hoping to use his experiences and relationships to bring about another important social justice landmark…true marriage equality for ALL Rhode Islanders.
After living in Boston, New York City, and Europe, Ken now resides in Warwick with Trent Ferrara, his partner of 24 years, and their three dogs…Salty, Tattoo, and Ollie.
Maureen Martin, RI AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer, has been a life-long labor union and community activist. After serving for 23 years in various leadership positions, culminating as president of her local state employee union and as a board member of the State Conference Board of RI Council 94, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, she retired from state employment. Maureen then joined the staff of the Institute for Labor Studies and Research where she worked with private sector and public employee unions, corporate and business leaders, and community and religious organizations. Currently, as the Director of Political Activities at the RI Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals, she organizes members for political action on local, State and national issues. As a union liaison with community organizations she has worked, and continues to work on, numerous social justice projects. Maureen sits on the Boards of Directors of the RI Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) and the United Way RI where she also holds a position on the United Way Labor Cabinet.
Dawn Euer / Director of Education & Community Outreach
Dawn is a long-time activist and organizer who has worked on environmental and LGBTQI campaigns for more than 15 years. She holds a BA from the University of Minnesota and a JD from Roger Williams University School of Law. Dawn currently serves on the board of the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island and is the South County/Newport Chair of the RI National Organization for Women. Dawn is excited to be a part of the marriage equality movement because winning marriage in Rhode Island will help Rhode Islanders as well as the national and worldwide movement.
"We all need to do our part to make this world a better place for everyone. Marriage Equality is an important piece of a larger movement to make sure that every human being is treated the with dignity and respect that they deserve."
Kate Brock is the Executive Director of Ocean State Action. Kate is Providence native who joined Ocean State Action Fund in June of 2010 after leaving Repower Maine, a local chapter of former Vice President’s Al Gore’s organization supporting comprehensive climate change legislation. Kate served as Project Director for the Ocean State Action’s Victory Campaign, and My Voice My Vote to mobilize voters in the 2010 election. Kate’s work for social justice began over 10 years ago with fights for stronger clean air and water protections and LGBTQ rights. Kate serves on the board of the Fund for Community Progress, Rhode Island Jobs with Justice, the Choice Coalition, Women’s Health & Education Fund, and chairs the Campaign for Rhode Island Priorities. She received a B.A. in political science from the University of Vermont.
Kate Monteiro is a born and bred Rhode Islander and a 20 year veteran of the LGBT civil rights movement. As the President of the RI Alliance for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights she organized several successful campaigns including the repeal the state’s sodomy laws and the extension of civil rights protections on the basis of gender identity and expression. Kate was a charter board member of the Federation of Statewide Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Political Organizations, and has served on the boards of the RI chapters of the ACLU, the NCCJ, the Civil Rights Roundtable and Ocean State Action. She currently serves on the board of Rhode Island Pride. Kate holds a BA from Dartmouth College, a MA from Brown University and a Masters of Public Administration from URI.
My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total. And I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution. -- Barbara Jordan
Seth joined the Board of Marriage Equality in 2011. A native of Bristol, Seth works at Trillium Asset Management, a socially responsible investment firm headquartered in Boston. Previously, Seth worked at Point Judith Capital in Providence and spent two years teaching elementary school in rural Louisiana as a member of the Teach for America Corps. Seth holds a bachelors degree in history from Brown University and an MBA from Yale University. He is also on the Boards of Common Cause of Rhode Island and Serve Rhode Island, the organization that oversees Americorps and other volunteer programs in the state.
"Rhode Island has always been a beacon of tolerance and fairness. Now is the time to ensure that all of our state's families have equal protection under the law."
Martha joined the Board of Marriage Equality Rhode Island in 2009. She works as an attorney in Providence and is an active member of Lawyers for Equality and Diversity (LEAD). Martha has also served as an Advisory Council member of Equity Action, a Field of Interest Fund at The Rhode Island Foundation which is dedicated to serving the needs of LGBT Rhode Islanders.
"Marriage equality means being able to protect all of Rhode Island's families."
Brad R. Pelletier
Brad R. Pelletier is the managing partner of the firm Pelletier & Clark, LLC in Providence, RI and practices primarily in the fields of real estate transactions, estate planning, business organizations, family law and civil rights litigation. He graduated from the University of Rhode Island and Roger Williams University School of Law. Mr. Pelletier began his law career at the Roger Williams Criminal Defense Clinic, where he had the chance to represent indigent clients in Rhode Island District Court and Traffic Tribunal. Brad then transitioned to private law practice as an associate at James V. Aukerman & Associates. He is an active member in the LGBT community and serves on the RI Bar Association LGBT Subcommittee, Lawyers for Equality and Diversity (LEAD) and was a past President of the Roger Williams University School of Law’s LGBT Alliance. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for AIDS Care Ocean State.
"As a practicing attorney, I have first hand knowledge of the struggles same-sex couples face everyday. Whether it be buying a home, preparing estate planning documents, or starting a family, same-sex couples have to jump through legal hoops in order to make sure their relationships are protected. I'm looking forward to 2011 when Rhode Island will become the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage and finally put an end to an era of second-class citizenship and unfair discrimination under the law."
C. Kelly Smith
A founding member of MERI, Kelly is the principal of Buddha Smiles Consulting, which provides organizational development, strategic planning, fund development and marketing support to nonprofit organizations. Kelly serves as Treasurer of the (c)(3) MERI Education Fund, is Chair of the Base Building/Outreach Committee, and is a member of the Legislative Committee. She lives in Providence.
“I see our work with other groups across the nation and throughout the world as part of a global human rights movement. I am passionate about securing marriage equality as a means by which to protect our families and secure the dignity which we all deserve. I am also eager to help everyone who wishes to join our movement become involved in creating change.”
An early member of MERI, Peter is a Library Media Specialist in the Providence Public School Department. Peter recently chaired MERI’s executive director search committee and serves on the Base Building/Outreach and Legislative committees. He lives in Providence with his husband Tom. They were married in Provincetown, MA, in 2008.
“Like many Rhode Island same-sex couples, Tom and I were married in Massachusetts. Knowing just how precious our marriage is to us, I continue to feel compelled to fight for this cause. I believe that every Rhode Island couple should have this right and look forward to the day when marriage is available to all Americans.”
A long-time member of MERI, Rich currently serves as Chair of the 501(c)(4) Board of MERI, Inc. Rich is the State Records Coordinator with the RI State Archives & Public Records Administration, and lives in Cranston. He currently serves on the Communications Committee.
“My niece is gay and I became interested in the fight for marriage equality largely as a result of seeing the consequences of a relationship ending that she experienced — one that would have been a marriage if it had been legal.”