Kyle Sawyer

Pronouns: he/they

Kyle is a graduate from Antioch University Los Angeles with an undergraduate degree in Queer Studies and a Masters Degree in Nonprofit Management. He began Building Allies, the organization, in 2013 and now proudly claims the title of co-founder with MD Spicer-Sitzes. Kyle is a long time trans* activist and spends much of his time connecting his passions to social justice and challenging privilege. Kyle has conducted many lectures and workshops regarding trans* identity to help educate individuals, organizations, and service providers in the development of their own active ally behavior.

MD Spicer-Sitzes

Pronouns: they/any

Misty is a co-founder of Building Allies and the L.A. Co-op Lab, and producer and cohost of Synergy Airwaves podcast. MD has 18 years of labor in the restaurant industry, and holds a B.A. in Urban Communities & Environment with a minor in Queer Studies. MD also holds an M.A. in Urban Sustainability, and their thesis work included solutions to capitalism by way of worker ownership. They work today supporting pathways to owning the means of production, building curricula and programs with others, and breaking silos between movements. MD enjoys; trusted relationships, making food for loved ones, hiking in the East Bay, storytelling, research, and a successful direct action protest.


Shirley is passionate about empowering young people, education, and social change. Her background includes case management work with refugee and historically under-served youth in Seattle, teaching music to incarcerated youth in Western Washington, crisis counseling for young LGBT*Q communities, and delivering LGBT*Q literature to educators and students nationwide. She cites her liberal arts education at The Evergreen State College as the jumping off point which lead to a Masters in Nonprofit Management and a continual interest in social justice issues. When she’s not busy with Building Allies and her day job, Associate of Family and Community Engagement Programs with the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, you can find her volunteering as a crisis counselor for LGBT*Q youth, walking her dog Carlos, or catching up on some bad TV.