Coleman Goode is our new Community Organizer! You may have most recently seen him around Springfield serving as Chief of Staff for long-time HIV advocate State Representative Greg Harris. We’re getting into who Coleman is and how he’s tackling health inequalities.
You can get to know Coleman and his plans for turning up our advocacy work by joining us at Advocacy Day on May 23. Click here to register.
Q: Who are you, Coleman?
A: Hello! Well, I am an HIV-positive gay Black man. I am 37 years old. I am a southern boy living in Chicago. I've been in the city since 2004.
Q: How do you bring yourself to the work that we do at AFC?
A: I feel like I've always had a passion for people. I like people, I like working with people, and seeing how we all think collectively.
I'm in recovery. I've been in recovery since 2006. I've been homeless. I've been through a lot, and I feel like that's made me a stronger person. It's made me an individual that cares about people, and I’m able to understand more where folks are coming from, especially as a youth experiencing homelessness. I was homeless at 25. Experiencing that shaped the way I view and advocate for homeless youth.
I'm a pretty strong person; I'm a family person. Some friends say that I'm resilient, determined ... I'm just passionate about what I do. I like leading people to reach to a goal. I want to inspire us to be better, like my mom did for me. My mother was an inspiration for me to be strong, take care of my family and remember my community.
Q: How do you define the role of a community organizer?
A: I define a community organizer as someone who understands that social and political change can come from disruption. It's my job to not only bring communities together, but to also form coalitions influencing policies favorably playing out in real world.
Q: What do you look forward to in your new position as community organizer?
A: Well, my last job was mainly behind a desk working in policy. It was mainly just learning about Illinois laws, discussing them and reading them. Now, I feel like I get to be on the other side!
I’m excited to work with our advocates because they all come with their own story, passion, and areas of expertise. I’m excited for the opportunity to walk into lawmakers’ offices and demand that they support youth, housing and health equity.
I want to affirm that people's voices matter. You have to speak up or you will be crushed by voices in the forefront — voices that can be very wrong, claiming to speak for our incredibly nuanced experiences.
Q: What is a fun fact about yourself?
A: I am classically trained in the tuba and flute. I also really like to knit. It calms me down, it cools my thoughts. It reminds me of family … and it's just grounding.
Get pumped to take action with Coleman in Springfield! Advocacy Day is happening May 23. Seats on the bus are going quickly, click here to register. To contact Coleman Goode, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.