Garden State Equality welcomes two new team members

Kadja Manuel and Jahmila Smith
Kadja Manuel and Jahmila Smith have joined the staff at Garden State Equality

Kadja Manuel and Jahmila Smith join New Jersey’s largest LGBTQ organization

In April, Garden State Equality added two new members to the organization: Kadja Manuel, who is the new Community Organizer; and Jahmila Smith, who is the new Project Manager and Trainer.

Kadja Manuel is a Trenton, New Jersey native. Prior to joining GSE, Manuel served as the Vice President of Student Veterans of America’s Staten Island location. Prior to that, Manuel served in the U.S. Army for six years with a Military Occupational Specialty of Human Resources Specialist.

Manuel has held the titles of Public Affairs Officer, Human Resources Officer, and Executive Administrative Supervisor in the Army. Manuel is also a prolific writer and contributor to Out In Jersey magazine. He has been active with the LGBTQ community since 2013. Manuel also serves as the 3rd Vice President of the Trenton Branch NAACP, where he is Chair of the Armed Services & Veteran Affairs Committee and LGBTQ Committee.

Jahmila Smith is a Bronx, New York City native with over four years of experience working with diverse groups and populations. Her work and advocacy started during her undergrad years at Hofstra University, where she majored in Sociology, with minors in Psychology and Women’s Studies. Smith, while there, became a member of The Pride Network, the LGBTQ organization on campus.

Smith, after graduating, was active in supporting young adults in middle school and high school. She has worked with Phipps Neighborhoods in The Bronx, where she was a student advocate, and then became Program Coordinator. She focused on the daily activities and functioning of one of their after-school programs.

Smith went on to work at Graham Windham, working and coaching young people to age 26. She is passionate about mental health and wellness, women empowerment, social- emotional learning, literacy, nutrition, and community activism.