About Fairness West Virginia

Fairness West Virginia (Fairness) is the statewide civil rights advocacy organization dedicated to fair treatment and civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender West Virginians. Our mission is to ensure LGBT people can be open, honest and safe at home, at work, and in the community. We are open to everyone who believes in fundamental fairness.

Fairness West Virginia
Charleston, WV
(304) 806-2220
info@fairnesswv.org

Fairness is a proud member of the Equality Federation

Our Board

Aisha Reikow, Chair FWVI
Patrick Folio, Chair FWV
Jan Rader, Vice-Chair FWVI & FWV
Chris Walters, Treasurer FWVI & FWV
Donte Newsom, Secretary FWVI & FWV
Joseph Merceruio, FWVI & FWV
Rev. Betsy Walker, FWVI & FWV
Sam Green, FWVI & FWV
Alicia Sanders, FWVI & FWV

 

Meet Our Staff

Andrew Schneider
Executive Director

Since 2014, Andrew Schneider, as Executive Director, has led the effort to advocate for effective lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender policy changes in West Virginia. Prior to joining Fairness, Andrew served for seven years as the Executive Director of the ACLU of Connecticut where he was a leader in the successful state campaigns to win transgender civil rights, abolish the death penalty, and legalize medical marijuana.

Before that, he was the Executive Director of the ACLU of West Virginia for six years. In 2007 he was the recipient of the West Virginia NAACP Freedom Award for leading the successful legislative effort to ban and combat racial profiling in the state. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in European History from Washington and Lee University.

Contact Andrew Schneider at Andrew@fairnesswv.org

 

Jack Jarvis
Communications Director



Jack is a graduate of West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media, having received a bachelor’s degree in print journalism.
Prior to joining Fairness West Virginia, Jack worked as a journalist. He most recently covered state government and politics for the State Journal, and prior to that, he wrote about higher education for the Charleston Gazette-Mail. As the Communications Director, Jack handles all of the organization’s media relations and helps promote its work. He enjoys being a cat dad and reading new books in his spare time.

Contact Jack at jake@fairnesswv.org.

 

Isabella Cortez
Gender Policy Manager

Isabella is a 2017 graduate of West Virginia University’s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, with a bachelor’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies.Prior to joining the Fairness West Virginia staff, Isabella was an intern with United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 400. She also has written about the labor movement, gender and politics for various publications.  

As the Gender Policy Manager, Isabella is working with the state’s medical and education professionals to increase representation and level of care for the transgender community. In her spare time, she likes planting trees and gardening. Isabella lives in Charleston with her roommates and cats Binx, Gorgonzola, and Madam President.

Contact Isabella at isabella@fairnesswv.org.

 

Paula Kerner
Program Manager

Paula is a veteran teacher who has dedicated the past 35 years to the students and families of Kanawha County. She graduated from WV State University and earned the distinction of becoming a National Board Certified Teacher in 2019. As a full-time classroom teacher, Paula developed positive relationships between her students and the community. Through organizing community service projects, hosting roundtable discussions with city and state government organizations, and working with the Secretary of State’s office and Voters Registration, she helped students make the transition to adult life.  She also is very proud of the work she did leading her school’s Gay Straight Alliance as advisor.

The GSA supported all students through multiple anti-bullying projects, the annual Day of Silence, an art fair featuring student artists, the Marshall University Sustainability Fair and various events in collaboration with other schools. Paula is very excited to continue working closely with school officials, parents, teachers and students. As the Program Manager of the Safe and Healthy Schools Initiative, it is her goal that all West Virginia students are successful academically and emotionally.

Contact Paula at paula@fairnesswv.org.

 

Yvonne Lee
Voter Engagement Organizer

Yvonne is a pursuing a PhD from Walden University in family intervention and preservation, and she is an adjunct professor at West Virginia State University’s Social Work Department. She is originally from California, but came to West Virginia to pursue a career in social work. She is dedicated to uplifting marginalized people and building community power to achieve change.

As the voter engagement organizer, Yvonne works to register voters and to increase civic engagement. In her spare time, she enjoys being a mother to five beautiful children and one grand daughter.

Contact Yvonne at yvonne@fairnesswv.org.

 

Laura Gunnoe
Administrative Associate

Laura is a graduate of the University of Charleston with a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy (2014) and a master’s degree in Strategic Leadership (2021). Prior to joining Fairness, Laura worked in state government serving a dual role focusing on state revenue and the legislature. As the Development & Administrative Associate, she handles fund raising efforts and works directly with existing and prospective donors. Most of her free time is spent being a mother of five, but she also likes to sing and sew when she can.

Contact Laura at laura@fairnesswv.org.

 

Ethan Combs
Intern

Ethan Combs is a current senior at West Virginia University studying Political  Science and Philosophy with a minor in history. After graduating West Virginia University, Ethan hopes to attend University of Pennsylvania for a Master’s degree in Public Administration with a focus on nonprofit management. He’s a proud supporter of Fairness West Virginia and is excited to help give back to his community.