Our work

Policy & Advocacy Staff

Maxx Boykin
Community Advocacy and Social Justice Manager

In addition to this role at AFC, Maxx serves as the new co-manager of the HIV Preventive Justice Alliance, member of Black Youth Project 100 and is on the steering committee for the Collaboration on Health Equity for Cook County. His organizing ranges from direct action, civic engagement, conscious raising, to coalition building. Originally from the Suburbs of Atlanta, Maxx along with his two sisters were raised by his parents who were raised in Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement.

He has been an organizer for a wide arrange of issue based, political and union organizing. His first 2 years were in political organizing starting in Savannah Georgia on local campaigns later moving to Virginia to work on four winning campaigns including the Governor and Presidential races. In Illinois he has worked on the Fight for 15 campaign and the Get Covered America Campaign around health insurance before finding a home at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. He has always worked in primarily Black and marginalized communities and loves working with his people in order to make sure they are uplifted and liberated. Contact Maxx at MBoykin@aidschicago.org.


Kirstin Brockenborough
Policy & Legislative Coordinator

Kirstin is a Black queer advocate and activist who manages the SpeakUP national project for AFC, and part of HIV Prevention justice Alliance focusing on the intersectionality of race, class and gender within public health. Also, Kirstin is a member of the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) in Chicago addressing the structural barriers Black people experience accessing essential resources for survival.  Contact Kirstin at KBrockenborough@aidschicago.org.


Daniel M.O. Frey
Director of Government Relations

Daniel leads AFC’s advocacy and policy agenda at the state and local levels, working to enact sound HIV/AIDS and health care public policy.  He began working at AFC in February of 2015.  He previously worked on House Speaker Michael J. Madigan’s Research & Appropriations staff where he was the lead staffer on the Illinois Department of Public Health issues and policy.  He holds an Master of Arts from Northwestern University in Public Policy & Administration and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois at Urban-Champaign in Political Science and History. Contact Dan at DFrey@aidschicago.org.


Ramon Gardenhire
Vice President of Policy

Ramon oversees AFC's advocacy and policy work at the federal, state and local level. He previously served as AFC's Director of Government Relations from 2011 to 2013, working in Springfield to enact sound HIV/AIDS public policy, defend the rights of people with HIV, and advocate for increased services and prevention for people living with and vulnerable to HIV. Before coming to AFC, Ramon worked at the SEIU Healthcare Illinois-Indiana, Federation for Community Schools, Young Democrats of America, National Democratic Committee, The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Academy of Physician Assistants, where he worked on state level political and legislative initiatives. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Slippery Rock University and a Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University Law School. Contact Ramon at RGardenhire@aidschicago.org.


Kim L. Hunt
Executive Director - Pride Action Tank

Kim has a 30-year career that spans the public, private, and nonprofit sectors with a focus on advocacy and nonprofit management. She is currently the executive director of Pride Action Tank (PAT), a social justice lab devoted to improving outcomes for LGBTQ communities through a collaborative process of inquiry, advocacy, and action. PAT is a project of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, where Ms. Hunt also serves as an advocacy advisor. She is a co-host of a monthly LGBTQ storytelling event, political columnist for a quarterly gay men’s fashion magazine, and a member of various boards and advisory councils. Contact Kim at KHunt@aidschicago.org


Alaina Kennedy
Manager of Health Equity

Prior to joining AFC, Alaina was Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan’s research and budget analyst for human services. In that role, Alaina oversaw the Department of Public Health’s budget during the budget impasse and assisted in drafting the Omniums Stopgap Budget. As an Analyst, she worked closely with AIDS prevention and education programs, drug assistance programs, and the Ryan White Act. Alaina also helped craft and oversee the implementation of the heroin and opioid addiction bill in Illinois, now known as Lali’s Law. Before serving on Speaker Madigan's staff, Alaina attended Michigan State University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Health and Society with a specialization in bioethics and humanities. Contact Alaina at AKennedy@aidschicago.org.


Joshua Oaks
Digital Policy Manager

Joshua has been working on social justice issues affecting the LGBTQ community on the state and national level for over 10 years. Recently, he served as a co-chair for the 2016 National Conference on LGBTQ Equality: Creating Change. Prior to moving to Chicago, he served as program and marketing manager for the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice, a social justice and human rights organization in Tulsa. He has also served on the board of directors for Oklahomans for Equality, and as a committee member for the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, Tulsa Regional Chamber’s Mosaic Initiative and the National Federation for Just Communities. Contact Joshua at JOaks@aidschicago.org


Sara Semelka
Prevention Technology Education Manager

In her work with AFC she focusing on educating the HIV workforce and HIV-impacted communities in Chicago and throughout the Midwest on prevention methods including PrEP and female condoms. Her projects at AFC center on women’s health needs and empowering cis and trans women to advocate for their sexual health. Before coming to AFC, Sara was a journalist for a daily newspaper and earned a Master’s degree in Public Affairs from the University of Missouri. Contact Sara at SSemelka@aidschicago.org


Pamela Tassin, BSEd, CHES
HIV Prevention and Sexual Health Trainer

Pamela works primarily with the Midwest HIV Prevention and Pregnancy Planning Initiative, a project of AFC. Tassin brings more than 16 years of public health capacity building assistance experience to the non-profit arena. Her greatest focus has been training and technical assistance in evidence based interventions, organizational infrastructure and program sustainability, with the provision of services to organizations at regional and national levels. Specialized interests include community-based HIV prevention interventions specific to people of African descent, particularly women and adolescent girls. Contact Pamela at PTassin@aidschicago.org


Jessica Terlikowski
Senior Director of Advocacy and Community Mobilization

Jessica is a passionate advocate for sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice. For more than 15 years, she has worked to engage, educate, and mobilize communities on health justice issues impacting women and people living with and vulnerable to HIV.  Over her career, she has built advocacy capacity among community organizations and facilitated their development of strategic plans, policy priorities, and campaigns. Over her career at AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Jessica has developed and implemented training programs on new and emerging HIV prevention options, including PrEP, treatment as prevention, microbicides, and female condoms. She currently oversees AFC’s advocacy efforts as well as the Midwest HIV Prevention & Pregnancy Planning Initiative, a program focused on improving the sexual and reproductive health care of women living with and vulnerable to HIV. Contact Jessica at JTerlikowski@aidschicago.org


Jackie Thaney
Project Manager- Pride Action Tank

Jackie has over 20 years’ experience working in the nonprofit community as an administrator and event planner. She managed the vendor fair at the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago, and was the volunteer bus coordinator for the 2013 March on Springfield for Marriage Equality. Jackie enjoyed the opportunity to help with the organization and logistics at AFC’s 2015 Advocacy Days and is looking forward to assisting with more AFC Policy and Advocacy events. Contact Jackie at JThaney@aidschicago.org