Meet the QCU Team!

Jorge Millares - Founder and Executive Director

Jorge Millares, was born in Miami, Florida from Cuban parents who fled Cuba's authoritarian regime in the early 1960's. They wanted to be a part of the American Dream and worked hard throughout their entire lives. Despite a lower-middle class upbringing, Jorge did not let that get in the way of his success. He is a 1st generation American and was always taught by his parents that you can accomplish anything that you dream possible in this country. 

At the age of 22, Jorge opened up his very first business in Jacksonville, Florida and experienced great success. He has spent a majority of his adult life as a journeyman entrepreneur and has always been a steward of the community. He has truly lived the American Dream thanks to his parents' sacrifice to come to this country before he was born. 

In 2010, Jorge moved to North Carolina for business. He immediately fell in love with the culture of the Carolina's and has been a resident ever since. During his time in North Carolina he witnessed great change and growth in Charlotte. But as we all know, great growth presents new issues for any community. 

The current state of affairs in Charlotte have created concern for some in the community, and the civil unrest of 2016 in Uptown was a pivotal moment in Jorge's life. It was that day that he decided to take action.

 

He couldn't stand around and watch the city that had come to love in the midst of violent tension and racial divide.He callled a meeting with friends, business partners, and colleagues to put together an extraordinary team to drive equity and equality for all in the city of Charlotte. That team came to be known as Queen City Unity.

Jorge's leadership and humility are proven to be extremely influential and impactful. He is a passionate visionary who is driven by mending the cultural divide that exists in Charlotte, and across the nation. His work in the community have earned him the '2017- Empowering Lifestyles Community Service Award' , the '2018-NAACP of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Champion Award', and he became the first Latino to receive the 'City of Charlotte Government- Martin Luther King Jr. Keeper of the Dream Award' in 2018. We have no doubt that under his leadership we can continue to make Charlotte an equitable and equal city for all. 

Jamal Harvey - Chairman of the Board

Jamal Harvey, was born in Oakland, CA but grew up in Portland, OR. While he was raised in the Pacific Northwest, he had touches of southern roots, as his parents were from Mississippi and Texas.  

 

When Jamal was 12 years old his older brother, a 31-year-old Marine Corps veteran, was killed by the Portland Police in what came to be known as the “Don’t Choke’em, Smoke’em Case”. It sparked protests and marches across Portland and changed the course of history between the citizens and police in the city.

 

That incident sparked Jamal to be part of the solution. In his early 20’s Jamal went to work for the Metropolitan Public Defender’s office as a Legal Assistant and helped vigorously defend people’s constitutional rights, and aid them in getting a clean start to their lives.

 

In 2007, Jamal and his family moved across the country to Charlotte, NC. The Queen City was a rapidly growing city that reminded him a lot of his hometown.

 

For the last 10 years Jamal and his wife have raised their family and he has immersed himself in all things Charlotte culture; including volunteering with organizations from the Girl Scouts to The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Jamal also serves on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Access Corporation Board.

When the tragic events and ensuing civil unrest unfolded on September of 2016 in Charlotte, Jamal knew that he couldn’t stand by without taking action. He had seen this before with the officer involved death of his brother and needed to step up and help the city that he had grown to call home. 

 

That's when he helped launch Queen City Unity; a group that had a pivotal message that he found as an extreme necessity. 

Jamal prides himself on being a family man and a positive leader for the young people in the community. 
He recognizes there is a cultural divide in Charlotte, and with the help of Queen City Unity collaborating with other organizations, he believes that we can all come together to bridge the gaps of division. It is his goal for Charlotte to become the next great American city that embraces its rural beginnings and urban future.  

Tim Nicodemus - Vice-Chairman of the Board

Tim moved to Charlotte in June 2013 for graduate school after college at Wake Forest. Tim had first experienced the Queen City in 2012 through a summer internship, and fell in love with the exciting growth, friendly people, and Southern charm. This love of city continued as he found a church family at Christ Central Church and made friends with folks who pushed him to see beyond the shiny exterior of Charlotte, into the murky history and challenging present issues facing this New South City.

He heard about Queen City Unity through one of the founders, Jamal Harvey, and was instantly hooked on the vision of building an equitable and just city, where opportunity was provided to all members of the community. Tim has seen commitment to this vision time and time again through the Ambassadors rallying around programs designed to close gaps, and a group-wide unselfish passion to partner with nonprofits already doing amazing work. Tim gladly joined the Board in March 2018 to help further community outreach, believing that each Ambassador carries incredible connections and experiences that can drive Queen City Unity’s reach into the hurt and pain in the community.

He believes that a prosperous Charlotte starts with truth telling and relationship building. We need to understand the factors (both excellent and unsavory) that built the glamorous city we know, as well as going out of our way to show compassion, mercy, and love for those different than us. We need to embrace the ‘Hornets Nest’ mentality as we tenaciously live up to our rebellious roots – getting out of our comfort zone to build a counter-cultural, complex, and beautiful city with a sense of community and equity extended to all.

Jensen Nichol - Co-Founder and Board Member

Jensen Savannah Nichol, is a homegrown product of Charlotte. She has spent her entire life in the city that she loves and she firmly believes that Charlotte can be the progressive city that many crave it to be.  During her lifetime she has seen our city go from a growing town, to the metropolis that Charlotte is today. As a hometown girl she has experienced the segregation in our schools and knows as well as anyone that there is a cultural and racial divide that has existed for quite some time in the Queen City.

 

She watched this all come to a boiling point with the officer involved shooting of Keith Lamont Scott and the ensuing civil unrest that occurred in the fall of 2016. On that day Jensen was appalled. She couldn't believe that the city and community that she loves dearly was being torn apart. She always knew that there were issues but could never fathom that it would lead to bloodshed and violence. She knew then that it was time to take action and that our city was in dire need of a unifying movement. Her love for the people of Charlotte from all walks of life is incomparable to any other. 

 

Jensen is a Co-founder of Queen City Unity and an integral part of the organization. Her expertise in social media marketing, outreach, and event planning, make her a valuable asset to the team and a driving force behind making Charlotte an equal and equitable city for all. 

Erin Barbee - Board Member

Erin Barbee, a native of Charlotte, received her degrees in Sociology and Gerontology from UNC Charlotte in 2006. For eleven years, Erin served as an Executive Director of several different entities within the senior living field that ranged from free standing memory care communities to independent living facilities.

 

In September 2017, Erin returned to Charlotte after living in Atlanta for five years, to serve as the Director of Mission Advancement with Aldersgate Retirement Community, her most rewarding position yet. In this capacity, she works with community partners to bring programs and services to the Aldersgate campus and the city tackling community issues through the lens of aging including transportation, education, economic mobility, food deserts, political connectivity and social justice.

 

Outside of work, Erin is extremely involved in the community, serving on various boards and committees including the Leading on Opportunity Council, Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce Board, Charlotte East Board Co-Chair, Simmons YMCA Board Member, Habitat for Humanity Neighborhood Revitalization Committee Member and Charlotte Mecklenburg Aging Coalition Leadership Team Member. In her spare time, Erin enjoys being an amateur food photographer, kayaking and spending time with her wife and family.

Olivia Scott - Board Member

Olivia Scott was born in Columbia, SC but grew up in Charlotte, NC. As someone who has watched Charlotte transform into the metropolitan city that is known for today, she has developed a love for the city that continues to grow. As a former candidate for CMS School Board, Olivia has a strong passion for the community, children, and unity. Olivia was introduced to Queen City Unity in the Fall of 2016 and has since been proactive in the mission of the organization. 

 

With the help of Queen City Unity, Olivia prides herself on helping create a unified society that focuses on an individual's character instead of their outward appearance. She believes the mission of Queen City Unity will be pivotal to the implementation of that locally and is extremely optimistic about the future of Charlotte for all.

Dr. Damon Silas - Board Member

Dr. Damon Silas was born in Boston, MA to parents of very different backgrounds. His mom was Caucasian, Catholic, and from the north (Massachusetts); while his dad was African-American, Baptist, and from the south (Louisiana). His parents were among the first generation of interracial couples in this country who were allowed to legally marry.  He grew up with diversity as a normal part of his everyday experience. His dad served 20 years in the United States Air Force and therefore they moved around quite a bit, including to California & Oklahoma, thus experiencing people from many different cultures and backgrounds.

 

Following high school, Damon chose to leave his small town just south of Boston to go to Washington, DC.  This became his home-away-from-home for over twenty years. Here he earned two degrees - a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Howard University, and a Doctorate in Psychology from The George Washington University.  He has always been interested in the impact of trauma on one’s life, especially after losing a sister to homicide when he was 17 years old. In his professional career, he has helped countless people with mental health concerns ranging from anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress.

 

Damon moved to the Charlotte area in July 2016 with his husband to escape the rat race (and cost of living!) of DC. He was ready for a change in all areas of his life.  That change happened when he turned on the news and heard what was happening in Charlotte after the death of Keith Lamont Scott. Being a constant advocate for change, he couldn’t sit on the sidelines after seeing this.  He went to the local police department to offer his support, recognizing that trauma doesn’t discriminate between law enforcement and civilians. Shortly thereafter, he became involved with Queen City Unity after seeing them on social media and loving their message of inclusion, love, and equality for all.  They represented the exact opposite of all the things people said he should fear moving down south as a gay black man.

 

Damon has since been a Queen City Unity Ambassador, and most recently became a member of the Board of Directors. He prides himself on constantly working to uplift those around him.  Queen City Unity is a perfect fit for this desire. In his spare time, Damon enjoys working on his new business, Tipping Point Wellness, which is all about holistic health and wellness; reading; and dancing.   

Chiana Hill - Board Member

Chiana came to Charlotte from Virginia because of her career in the banking industry. The first thing she noticed about the Queen City was how clean it was. She initially became a part of Queen City Unity because she wanted her children to be involved in something she believed in.

 

She came from a very diverse environment prior to moving to Charlotte. During her early days in the city she realized that when she would walk into a restaurant she wouldn't see African Americans, Caucasians, Asians, Hispanics all sitting at the same table. Instead everyone would surround themselves with people of similar backgrounds. She yearned for a racially integrated Queen City. A city where she could surround herself with different types of positive people and where people of all races mingle amongst each other. 

She love being a Queen City Unity Ambassador because she loves her fellow Ambassadors and treats them as if they were family, because in actuality, she believes they are. Chiana has been an integral part of the organization since coming on board. She currently leads our Greet Squad which focuses on being the first point of contact for our organization. 

Corey Sigle - Unity Ambassador

Corey Sigle Sr. is a native Charlottean. He loves everything this beautiful city has to offer from the educational opportunities, career opportunities, mass transportation, parks & recreation, pro sports and a thriving nightlife!

Corey was one of the first to become a Queen City Unity Ambassador shortly after the civil unrest 2016 as a result of the officer involved shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.

At that time he felt obligated as a Charlotte native to be more active and visible in our city and communities. During that time, our city still needed healing desperately and a voice of unity. Once he read Queen City Unity’s mission statement and had a conversation with Jamal Harvey & Jorge Millares, he immediately knew how passionate this group was about positive change in our city. Corey loves being a Queen City Unity Ambassador because he is able to make a positive impact in our city by being a beacon of light to others. He feels that Queen City Unity’s dedication to bringing people together of all races, genders, and socioeconomic statuses to unite Charlotte is unmatched!

Corey’s vision for a prosperous Charlotte is seeing more diversity in our communities, schools & workplaces. He firmly believes that in order to prosper as a city we need to be socially active by engaging ourselves in positive conversations daily. It is embedded within him that the best way to meet people is to sit down and have a conversation. Only by doing so will you realize that we have more similarities than differences.

We are proud to call Corey one of our Lead Unity Ambassadors!

Kelly Hunt - Unity Ambassador

Kelly, a long-time Charlottean, originally from Richmond, Va., moved to the QC during his college years to get a fresh start. He has witnessed the evolution of Charlotte from a medium sized city to a thriving metropolis

 

As the first Queen City Unity Ambassador, the opportunity to become an activist promoting Queen City Unity's mission is inspirational. As a pacifist, his diverse family and upbringing fuels his desire to encourage inclusiveness in the community for all people.

 

He enjoys working with Queen City Unity Ambassadors  and experiencing the diversity of Charlotte. Furthermore, he finds it very rewarding to work on projects such as the QCU Coats, Socks, and PJ drive for foster children, the Charlotte UNITE Festival, and the homeless care bag distributions in uptown. 

 

Kelly's vision of a prosperous Charlotte would include progressive educational programs for the city's youth covering civil and immigration rights;  bullying, and LGBT issues. With the concerted efforts of city/county government officials, CMPD, CMS and the residents of Charlotte working together, he envisions the possibility of major strides toward resolution in  the current, racial and socioeconomic divide.

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Photographs donated by Fusion Photography

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