Today we’d like to introduce you to DeMarcus Beckham.
DeMarcus, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am a Middle Georgia-based social activist and organizer, I was born and raised in small-town Zebulon, Georgia. I currently work as the Executive Director for Reach to Impact Group in Macon, Georgia, a Board member of Macon Pride and Recently named the Southern Field organizer for Georgia Equality, which is out of Atlanta. I received both of my degrees from Middle Georgia State University in history and political science. I love history when contextualized, it allows me to understand and immerse myself in my culture, history is the cause that gives reason to effects in our communities and how we see society.
In my upbringing, I didn’t hear about individuals who looked like me in my history books in my primary education. But as an openly Bi Black Male, I didn’t just want to read and write about the communities I am apart of; I wanted to contribute to my culture’s growth. I wanted it to do that through changing policy and law. I wanted to lead individuals to resources within their own community. And if those resources did not exist to help create them.
Honestly, I feel incredibly blessed that I am put in a position where I can be a part of the change. Each day I am dealt with matters that I’m truly passionate about. Those passions are working and educating others on LGBT rights, Voting Rights, Criminal Justice Reform, and working with advocates within the HIV/AIDS community.
I know that for some individuals my work can sound quite boring but I hope that my level of passion comes through. These are sensitive matters that we have to address in our society, we are all touched in some form or fashion by these matters. My everyday is filled with adventure, opportunity, and just the spontaneity that seems to be a common occurrence in my growth. I also get to create and experience things many could only imagine and get to be apart of conversations that affect our communities that are long overdue.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I would like to think the road has been smooth. In the last few years, I’ve been apart of a lot of projects that pushed a lot of progressive ideals, workplace protections for LGBT individuals, Harm Reduction ordinance limiting penalties for minor marijuana offenses, period property, and paid maternity leave. There is a great deal of push back, but you have to find individuals who agree with you and others who may not. We have to come to a common consensus that can help push for a positive change over time, that will benefit the community as a whole.
The most upsetting thing that I think a person can go through is when individuals make decisions that will affect your everyday life, while you are left out of the conversation. I constantly think If I am a citizen, why do I have to fight for my civil rights in the rights of others. If a person wants to see the change they have to be willing to walk into the room in demand to be a part of the conversation. Anybody can be a part of the change. I just do it with a southern small-town elegance.
Georgia Equality and Reach to Impact Group – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
For the last 25 years, Georgia Equality’s mission is to advance fairness, safety, and opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities and our allies throughout the state. As the Southern Field organizer for Georgia Equality, I am tasked with leading some of the coalition efforts around non-discrimination policies and civic engagement, as well as conducting educational programming around voting rights and the 2020 census, In the regions of Middle, Central, South Georgia. I travel from Macon, Columbus, Albany, Augusta, Savannah, and many other rural and populated cities across the southern regions of the state. My goal in this is to conduct voter registration and educational activities, provide information to decision-makers, and work to organize and mobilize LGBT residents and allies to advance equality in urban, suburban, and rural communities across the state.
In recent years the HIV/AIDS and STI epidemic has surged, making Georgia ranked 1st in the rate of HIV diagnosis among adults and adolescents, and 4th in the rate of persons living with HIV in 2017. “Reach to Impact Group”, is a 13 county initiative that works in tandem with the Hope Center and the North Central Department of Public Health in Macon, which provides safe sex and HIV/AIDS educational services to citizens.
We’re seeing numbers of affection rise greatly in men and persons of color, as well as individuals who identify as LGBT. Often individuals or intimidated by a clinical setting when are talking about safe sex practices and nervous about knowing their status. Reach to Impact Group’s goal is to offer free and discrete HIV and STI testing while breaking down the walls created by stigma and fear with knowing your status and goes to work individuals are. We travel to churches, Universities, and even meet people in their own homes. Our mission is to never shame anyone but Helping them understand that they have options and there are many avenues for prevention and risk reduction. We provide them with counseling and assist people with HIV AIDS concerns to meet both their instrumental and expressive needs within the Middle Georgia Area.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Being apart of the Harm Reduction ordinance which limiting penalties for minor marijuana offenses, which tackles the problem of jail and prison reform and implement alternatives to incarceration.
Being apart of the change to make sure that Macon-Bibb County employees are protected in the workplace no matter who they decide to love. We’re constantly pushing so that all individuals in public and private entities here throughout Middle Georgia are protected in housing, public accommodations, and in their workplace.
I get to be a part of many collisions that are fighting for individuals who are affected by the HIV and AIDS virus. And I get a chance to go out into the community to ensure individuals have educated an offer of resources so they can be apart of the conversations about his growing epidemic. And are able to use prevention measures and risk reduction tactics.
- Instagram: demarcusbeckham
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/demarcus.beckham