Iya SoJourner McCauley
Iya SoJourner, a mother of two, many by love and Agba (grandmother) of so many as a result, has been a political, grassroots agitator, organizer and advocate for change in the LGBT communities of color for over 28 years, She recently retired as the Coordinator of Community Services at BOOM/HEALTH, where she was instrumental in making HIV testing and condoms available in faith communities in the Bronx. This work had its foundation in the work she initiated as the Coordinator of the YMSM (Young Men Who Have Sex With Men) Coalition. This 32 member service providers coalition was one of five funded by the Center for Disease Control) in the country to work with this population in providing safe space and services.
As a faith leader, and survivor of domestic violence, she decided to speak out after her stay at domestic violence in the Bronx to educate the Yoruba Traditional faith leaders about HIV and Domestic Violence. Iya SoJourner responded to a specific call to women of color for membership on the Board of Directors at the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence as it relates to people of color and embarked on a life-changing journey. She speaks across the country on Domestic Violence/HIV and has delivered the keynote for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Iya SoJourner was one of the Founding Mothers for the Women of Color Task Force at the State Coalition. Her efforts have been acknowledged with awards and proclamations from the New York City Council, the office of State Senator Jose Serrano, Bronx Borough President Rueben Diaz. The Bronx LGBTQ Community Center acknowledged her work specifically in the Bronx with their 2014 Rev. Magora Kennedy Stonewall Courage Award. The Department of Health presented her with the Commissioner’s Special Recognition Award for her commitment, contribution and response to improve and promote the health and well-being of all New Yorkers on World AIDS Day 2016 in Albany.
After her retirement, acknowledgment by Fordham University C-STEP program for her dedication, commitment, and service to CTEP students. Many of whom have stayed in contact with her as they continue their journeys as doctors, lawyers and others working in marginalized communities brings tears to her eyes. She had told them all when you graduate from school, “Don’t talk about it BE about it!!!!”