Safe Schools Texas: Our Team


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Amanda Hill

Amanda Hill
Safe Schools Texas Team Coordinator

Amanda received her undergraduate diploma from the University of Maryland in 2003 with a degree in Marketing and Women’s Studies. She joined Texas Civil Rights Project as the Director of Community Outreach and Development in April 2007. Since then, she has raised multi-millions in donations from foundations and individuals for the Texas Civil Rights Project.

In addition, in 2008 she created TCRP’s Safe Schools Texas, an educational project aimed at preventing harassment and discrimination of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) students in school.

In her free time she enjoys pit bull rescue and spending time with her dogs, Rory, Clementine, and June.


Danni Rae Cannon

Danni Rae Cannon
Safe Schools Texas Volunteer

Danni grew up in Louisiana, but moved to Portland, Oregon to attend college. It was with the distance that Danni finally came out to close friends and eventually family. After receiving her Bachelor of Science in Design Management and working for a few years, Danni and her partner decided to move to Austin to be closer to family and explore career opportunities. She now ironically works remotely for a firm back in Portland, OR and produces marketing events.

Danni is excited to have the opportunity to volunteer with Safe Schools Texas and share her story. When she is not working or volunteering Danni is busy taming two rescue pugs, hanging out with her two nieces, and writing.


Jennifer Chance

Jennifer Chance
Safe Schools Texas Volunteer

Jennifer Chance is a native Southerner with roots in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas. She came out in high school and remains a lesbian to this day, despite her time spent in True Hope Ministries’ reparative therapy program. She has been a volunteer with Safe Schools since 2012 and has loved every minute of it.

Chance studied computer science in college and now manages the business school’s Web Team at a prominent, local university. She lives in a very happy home on Austin’s south side along with one mean cat and one nice dog. When she is not championing truth and awareness in and around her community, Chance enjoys spending time with her friends and playing trombone in an all-lady brass band.


Sarah Jovinelly

Sarah Jovinelly
Safe Schools Texas Volunteer

Sarah graduated from Rice University in 2012 with a B.A. in Anthropology and Gender Studies. She is currently in her first year in the Master’s of Social Work program at the University of Texas in Austin.

Sarah has dedicated her volunteer efforts to several women’s rights organizations, and was a founding member of the Step Ahead program at Rice University, where she taught weekly bilingual computer classes to more than 150 members of the university’s maintenance staff.

Sarah is currently a social work intern at the Texas Civil Rights Project, where she provides individual counseling sessions to TCRP clients and facilitates Safe Schools workshops.


Candace Lopez

Candace López
Safe Schools Texas Volunteer

Candace is originally from the Texas panhandle, but moved to Idaho with her family when she started high school. She’s the youngest of four siblings and comes from a religious upbringing, with her father being a pastor in the Church of Christ for more than 30 years. Candace received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Pepperdine University and her Master of Arts in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She has a strong history of working and volunteering in development for several non-profit organizations in Los Angeles and Austin. She is currently the Director of Development at SafePlace. Candace is happy to volunteer for Safe Schools Texas to share her journey of coming out to family and friends.


Elizabeth Manieri

Elizabeth Manieri
Safe Schools Texas Volunteer

Elizabeth grew up and attended college in North Carolina. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. Post-graduation Elizabeth moved to Argentina where she lived and taught English for 9 months. Upon returning to the U.S., Elizabeth moved to Atlanta, GA where she worked in the study abroad office of Emory University for two years. During her time at Emory she enjoyed advising students and focusing on efforts to diversify study abroad. Elizabeth decided to apply for graduate school in the field of social work and follow her interest and passion in social justice. Last May Elizabeth traveled to Ghana to work with a group of HIV positive women on an income generating project.

Elizabeth is in her final semester at The University of Texas at Austin and will graduate with her M.A. in social work in the Spring of 2015. Elizabeth has interests in gender expression and identity, social work within in the legal system, counseling, and issues facing immigrant and refugee populations.


Erin J. Walter

Erin J. Walter
Safe Schools Texas Volunteer

Erin J. Walter is a seminarian in Meadville Lombard Theological School’s Master of Divinity program, working toward ordination as a Unitarian Universalist minister with a focus on civil rights work.

A native Austinite who has also lived in Chicago, Erin earned her bachelor of science in journalism from Northwestern University and was certified to teach elementary education in Texas through Region XIII. She was the inaugural literacy director of Chicago’s Open Books, creating education and mentoring programs and leading a passionate volunteer corps.

An activist and mother of two, Erin plays bass and sings in the rock band Butch County and is co-president-elect of the board of Girls Rock Austin. She lives in Southeast Austin near the TCRP offices and, if you give her a minute, she will gush to you about her obsession with Zumba and the Mindy Project.


Xiaomin Xue

Xiaomin Xue
Safe Schools Texas Volunteer

“X” is a 23-year-old senior at The University of Texas in Austin. He works for UT RecSports as a Program Assistant, Sports Coordinator, and referee. He is FtM (Female-to-Male) transgender. After graduation, he’d like to put more time into helping the trans community and be active in it.