The Black AIDS Institute (BAI) has a new Behavioral Intervention Coordinator, David Coleman. However, David is no stranger to BAI. He is returning after a nine month hiatus and has previously served as one of BAI’s Health Education Specialist.
“I am drawn to fight the HIV epidemic in Black communities because when I got in the field at 18, many of my friends were dying from the virus. I found purpose in fighting for a cause so close to home for me,” says Coleman. “Almost 16 years later, I’ve seen how much our work has positively impacted our communities. I plan to stay in the fight until it is over.”
The Behavioral Intervention Coordinator plans and implements individual and group level HIV prevention and care programs specifically for young Black gay and bisexual men. In this role Coleman will plan and facilitate weekly meetings with peer leaders and hold sexual health empowerment groups.
BAI’s Prevention and Care Manager, Saron Selassie, says, “David thoughtfully centers his own lived experiences, and the lived experiences of others, in his work. I think this is so critical to our efforts to end the epidemic.” She added, “We are so happy to have David back. I am excited to engage with how he channels his creative talents into his new roles.”
David, who is a Black gay man, grew up in White Plains, NY, where he says he came out to friends at the age of 15, and then to his family at 18. The advice he gives to Black LGBTQ youth and young people, and the advice he would give to his younger self is, “If anyone tells you you’re anything other than beautiful, Black, queer, and joyous, fuck ‘em! You are loved. You are whole.” He adds, “You are a child of God, perfect the way She made you.”
He is a huge fan of his mother and father who he says, “raised me right.”
At a young age he got heavily involved in the ballroom scene. “That was my life for a very long time and I’m proud to see shows like ‘Pose’ and ‘My House’ that accurately depict ballroom life.” He adds, “The experience taught me to be confident, proud of who I am, and how to truly love myself.”
When it comes to heroes and sheroes he cites James Baldwin, Lena Waithe, and Oprah. “I think Lena Waithe is doing amazing thing in media right now for Black and queer communities. Oprah is always an inspiration.”
In his spare time, he enjoys fitness, comedy, astrology, and tarot.
*Hygh is the Senior Communications Manager for the Black AIDS Institute.