Pronouns: He, him, his
City & State: New York, NY
Tell us about yourself outside of NEAT volunteering! (e.g. work, family, hobbies)
I am originally from MIssissippi, and although have lived all over the US and traveled the world, New York is the home that was waiting for me. I now live in Manhattan with my kitten Lilian. I study Religious Theory at Harvard University.
What's your connection to LGBTQ+ justice work?
I faced quite a bit of adversity after coming out as gay in my small Southern town at the age of 14 years old. Of course, the regular bullying took place, along with sexual, verbal, and physical abuse from various areas of life. It was through the strength and courage that I found in activism and advocacy by sharing my story, living my truth, and helping others do the same, that I have been able to help myself not only overcome events in my past but help ensure that others do not face the same issues as I have. Outside of NEAT, I’ve worked in LGBTQ+ justice for the past 10 years working on numerous campaigns such as a worldwide anti-suicide campaign, marriage equality, the founding of the first LGBTQ+ community center in MIssissippi, as well as assisting on and even leading campaigns on local, regional, and statewide levels throughout the South.
I was involved with Marriage Equality USA through other organizations that I worked for, and through that built a relationship with Brian Silva that allowed me to become part of NEAT. I have been a member of the Core team at NEAT since 2015. I make calls and speak directly with voters around the country about issues that affect the LGBTQ+ community. I’ve helped train new volunteers and even worked with activists visiting as part of the international fellowship program.
Recently, I have begun managing our Communications Team where we write and edit the blog section of our website. I also oversee our monthly newsletter. As for why I am inspired to do this work, I remember a time when we had zero rights and acceptance of our community was nonexistent. It took years of hard work and dedication for us to get where we are today, and I feel it is up to me and my friends to ensure things get better not only for us, but for everyone. As long as NEAT celebrates and supports that concept, I’m down for this all the way.
Share a memory from volunteering that sticks out in your mind.
I have made so many wonderful memories throughout my time volunteering at NEAT, but what stands out the most for me is more personal than it is volunteer related. This organization has changed my life many times over. It gave me purpose, responsibility, and direction when I needed it most. The relationships I have with the team are invaluable to me. NEAT even made it possible for me to relocate to NYC permanently. So the best memory I have from this whole adventure is the day I was asked to sign up for my first shift.
What would you say to anyone considering volunteering with NEAT?
To quote Scream Queen Julie James in the 90's cult hit I Know What You Did Last Summer, "What are you waiting for?!"
---> www.theneat.org/volunteer <---