Raven Feagins ’15
Storyteller. Advocate. Writer.
Raven Feagins gives a voice to underrepresented communities through her work at the AIDS Foundation Chicago.
Raven Feagins ’15 is drawn to untold stories because she has always been drawn to people. In her Intro to Women and Gender Studies course at Columbia College Chicago, she developed an interest in queer studies, which led to her Cultural Studies capstone project: an internship at Chicago House, focusing on HIV prevention and stories of black cisgender women affected by HIV/AIDS. Today, Feagins is the communications coordinator for the AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC), which connects people with medical and social service providers, and information on how to be involved. For many, AFC is the first point of contact when they search for services or advocacy opportunities in Illinois. In 2017, AFC facilitated support for 5,869 people by working with 132 case managers at 32 agencies. *
On the communications side, Feagins writes for the AFC, sharing stories and perspectives of underrepresented groups and communities to spread awareness of people living with HIV/AIDS in Chicago. So far, one of the most memorable stories for Feagins is that of Anton X, a young man living with HIV who participates in the Black Panther Party Cubs movement. After being diagnosed with HIV, he dedicated himself to connecting with the HIV community in Aurora, Illinois (his hometown) and began working with the Open Door Health Center, a partner organization with the AFC.
“Statistics on HIV in the U.S. always show the communities most impacted include Black and LatinX gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men,” says Feagins. “Anton’s willingness to share his story helps humanize a number.” Representation matters to Feagins, and she hopes to demonstrate the uniqueness of people within the HIV community by continuing to tell their stories at AFC. Through storytelling, she wants to empower her subjects and reinforce that their experiences are important to understanding the HIV/AIDS epidemic, spreading awareness to the community, and continuing the AFC’s charge to move toward health equity.
*Statistics from AIDS Foundation Chicago’s 2017 Annual Report.