As Nevada’s statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, Silver State Equality brings the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in Nevada and Across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ people.
Silver State Equality is a Nevada-based program affiliated with and supported and managed by Equality California and Equality California Institute, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. Together, we’re fighting for full LGBTQ equality on multiple fronts:
- Electing pro-equality champions, up and down the ballot;
- Passing pro-equality legislation in Carson City, Sacramento and Washington DC;
- Advancing LGBTQ civil rights and social justice in the courtroom; and
- Reducing disparities in LGBTQ health and well-being through education and advocacy.
For more information or questions about Silver State Equality, please email State Director André Wade at silverstateequality.org.
Rick Zbur is the Executive Director for Silver State Equality and Equality California. He is a distinguished lawyer with a long history of advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, and environmental causes. Zbur retired from Latham & Watkins, one of the world’s largest and most respected law firms, where he was a senior partner and practiced law for 29 years.
A lifelong LGBT trailblazer, Zbur was Latham & Watkins’ first openly gay attorney and first openly gay partner. He worked in all aspects of the firm’s environmental, land and resource practice, including leading the firm’s extensive work before the California Coastal Commission.
A proud co-parent to three children with their lesbian co-parents, Zbur grew up in a farming community in the Rio Grande Valley south of Albuquerque, New Mexico, where his mother, Erlinda Chavez Zbur and her family have lived for generations.
Zbur is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School.
Tony Hoang is the managing director for Silver State Equality and Equality California. In that role, he oversees the day-to-day operations of the organization throughout Nevada and California. Prior to joining Equality California, Tony interned at the Pacific Council of International Policy and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. He holds a BA in international relations from the University of Southern California with minors in political science and biology. Tony serves on the board of directors of the Equality Federation, the national movement builder and strategic partner to state-based organizations advocating for LGBTQ people. Tony is also Vice President of the Los Angeles Innovation and Performance Commission and sits on the advisory board of Generation Change, an organization dedicated to electing millennials to office.
André C. Wade
André C. Wade is the state director for Silver State Equality. In this role he leads legislative, fundraising and political efforts in the state of Nevada. Previously he was the executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada. With a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in Public Administration, André has worked in human services for more than 20 years in a variety of public and nonprofit contexts including at the National Alliance to End Homelessness as a program and policy analyst. André has served on several boards and committees focused on LGBTQ equality and inclusion such as the Human Rights Campaigns (HRC) steering committee in Las Vegas, HRC’s All Children’s All Families program and the Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund. Currently, André is the chair of the advisory committee for the Nevada Office of Minority Health and Equity. A native of Las Vegas, André is a certified SMART Flow Yoga instructor who enjoys traveling and reading.
Samuel Garrett-Pate is the communications director for Silver State Equality and Equality California, where he oversees the organization’s strategic communications, brand management and media relations. Prior to joining Silver State Equality and Equality California, Sam was a Senior Account Executive at RALLY, where he led public affairs, political strategy and litigation communications campaigns on behalf of the firm’s clients. He previously served as an aide to New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney and received his BA in political science from the George Washington University. Outside of EQCA, Sam serves as Western Caucus Chair of the Victory Fund’s Campaign Board, supporting the organization’s work to elect LGBTQ leaders in states including California and Nevada.
Director of Development
Robbie Martin is Director of Development for Silver State Equality and Equality California, leading the organization’s events, major gifts, and corporate fundraising efforts. He previously held roles in corporate relations at preeminent Los Angeles cultural organizations, Center Theatre Group and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Martin hails from Chicago, where he began his career in corporate finance. He earned a Master’s in Social Entrepreneurship and Change from Pepperdine University in 2016, and is a member of Town Hall Los Angeles’ Young Professionals committee.
Director of Finance & Administration
Valecia Phillips is the chief financial officer for Silver State Equality and Equality California and has broad experience in the arts, public media and government. She previously served for a decade as director of business and finance for UCLA Live, an internationally renowned performing arts program at the University of California, Los Angeles. In her hometown of New York, she held a variety of leadership and analytical positions at Sony Music Entertainment, Aaron Davis Hall in Harlem and the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget. She holds a BA in economics from State University of New York at Stony Brook and an MBA in finance from New York University Stern School of Business. In her spare time, she is a public radio producer and vocalist.
National Policy Director
Valerie Ploumpis is national policy director for Silver State Equality and Equality California, based in Washington, D.C. She is a political expert with more than two decades of experience in issue-advocacy campaigns, grassroots education and mobilization, coalition building, lobbying and media outreach. She serves on the board of directors of OutRight International Action, a global LGBT civil rights organization, and the LGBTQ Victory Fund’s Campaign Board, a national PAC which endorses and supports LGBT political candidates and elected officials. Prior to joining Silver State Equality and Equality California, she was a principal at Burnside & Associates, where she managed political and mobilization campaigns. Prior to that, Ploumpis served as a legislative and policy advocate for several international trade organizations in Washington, D.C. She holds a BA in international relations from Mills College and an MA in international relations from Johns Hopkins University.
Digital Communications Manager
Josh Stickney is the Digital Communications Manager for Silver State Equality and Equality California, where he leads the organization’s digital initiatives as well as the online fundraising program. Josh previously worked in communications and development with Equality Federation, the national movement builder and strategic partner to state-based LGBTQ advocacy organizations. Originally from Oklahoma, Josh has worked with progressive political campaigns and nonprofits across the country since 2014. He was previously a Junior Partner at Skyfire Media, LLC as well as the finance director for a statewide campaign. Josh attended the University of Oklahoma-Norman.