GO! Presents 100 Women We Love: Class of 2024

THE CULTURAL ROADMAP FOR CITY GIRLS EVERYWHERE

Kalima McKenzie-Simms

June 26, 2021

Kalima McKenzie-Simms by Yesenia Reynoso

“I have always been a sharer,” says Kalima Mckenzie-Simms, Program Manager for PFLAG NYC. “Ever since I was a child, I was a chatterbox, never hesitant to express my feelings to others — whether verbally or in my creative writing. When I was a teenager, however, coming out was difficult for me because I did not think I would be accepted by the people I cared about the most.” However, with the help of a close friend and her supportive mother, Mckenzie-Simms found that coming out wasn’t so bad. Now with PFLAG, the country’s largest LGBTQ+ and ally support organization, Mckenzie-Simms is in a position to provide aid for other LGBTQ+ youth who are navigating the complexities of coming out. As Program Manager, Mckenzie-Simms is responsible for program content and development and for shaping the Safe Schools program, a resource that guides the city’s schools in creating welcoming and supportive learning environments. She is also the Lead Facilitator of Black Family Circle, an online support group for Black families with LGBTQ+ loved ones. In the fall, Mckenzie-Simms will receive her Master of Public Administration from the Colin Powell School of Civic and Global Leadership at CCNY — a huge stepping stone towards continuing her advocacy work for the LGBTQ+ community. “My coming out process started out with a lot of self-doubt and uncertainty about whether I would be accepted,” she tells GO. “Thankfully, I found myself again. I was happier, and extremely passionate about helping others get to a place of self-love and acceptance, so that they would not have the same difficulties I had.” —RK

Click here to check out the entire list of Women We Love 2021!

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