Beverly Gooden

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Beverly Gooden
Beverly Gooden 2015.JPG
Beverly Gooden receiving the Inspire A Difference Everyday Hero Award in New York, NY
BornNovember 24
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Alma materHampton University

Beverly Gooden is an African American social activist known for her groundbreaking work on domestic violence, victimology, and women's health, who created the Why I Stayed hashtag and movement in 2014. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times,[1] the U.S. Office on Women's Health,[2] and NBC's TODAY.[3]


Early life[edit]

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Beverly lived in foster care until being adopted by the Gooden family as a child. As a sophomore at Hampton University, Beverly was selected as a media scholar with the Summer Research Opportunities Program at the University of Iowa and researched the connection between alcohol advertisements and teen drinking & driving. During her junior year, Beverly interned with the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire as a reporter on Capitol Hill, covering the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal and NCAA recruiting reform. In 2005, Beverly graduated with a bachelor's degree in Journalism & Communications. She went on to attend Loyola University Chicago and graduated with a master's degree in Social Justice in 2009. Following the Financial crisis of 2007–08, Beverly worked for various government and nonprofit agencies to secure or administer resources for those affected by the crisis. As a grant recipient of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 housing funding, Beverly worked with organizations to find stable and affordable housing for families facing housing insecurity in Chicago, Hampton Roads, Virginia, and Northwest Georgia.


On September 8, 2014, Beverly created the hashtag #WhyIStayed in response to the Ray Rice video released by TMZ. A survivor of domestic violence, Beverly tweeted several reasons why she remained in an abusive marriage as a direct response to widespread victim blaming of Janay Rice.

Two days later, Beverly appeared on Good Morning America, and was interviewed by Robin Roberts where she explained her motivations for creating the Why I Stayed movement. "The reason that I started the hashtag was to give voice to the people out there who had that voice taken away. I think what bothered me most was that the question was 'why did she stay' and not 'why did he hit her'. And we do this across the board with violent situations, we do this with domestic violence by asking 'why did she stay?' and we do this with rape by saying 'why did she wear that?' as if your clothing or your mere presence gives someone the right to hurt you."

She has been featured on Good Morning America,[4] CNN,[5] Time,[6] The Washington Post,[7] HLN,[8] Inside Edition,[9] NBC Nightly News,[10] and more.

Why I Stayed was listed as one of the top social change hashtags of 2014 by Forbes,[11] and one of the top 10 hashtags that started a conversation by Time Magazine.[12] In March 2015, Why I Stayed was recognized as one of 8 hashtags that changed the world.[13]

In 2014, Beverly founded the Ella Mae Foundation, which supports "protection and superior upbringing for children as well as self-actualization and equitable rights for women".[14]


In September 2014, Beverly made guest appearances on the Dr. Phil show[15] and in Verizon's 2014 Domestic Violence Summit at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, CA. In October 2015, Beverly contributed a piece to the U.S. Office on Women's Health Blog.[2] She was also featured in the short film "Why We Stayed" by Emmy Award-nominated producers of Private Violence. Beverly wrote an article titled "Why We Stayed" for The New York Times,[1] and appeared in the December 2015 issue of Redbook Magazine. Beverly was featured in the August 2016 issue of Glamour Magazine, and appears in a Toyota commercial discussing her work with the Ella Mae Foundation,[16] sponsored by Investigation Discovery. Beverly was featured in the September 2018 issue of Ebony Magazine in an article titled "The Struggle To Get Out".


Beverly was given the "Digital Champion" Heart of Courage award by the Mary Kay Foundation in October 2017.[17] She was chosen by Investigation Discovery and Glamour Magazine as the 2015 Inspire A Difference "Everyday Hero" award winner. She was honored at an event in New York City alongside Angie Harmon, Grace Gealey, and AnnaLynne McCord.[18][19]

Personal life[edit]

Beverly plays three instruments; piano, bass guitar, and violin. She is an avid children's literature reader with a special interest in fantasy and folklore. In February 2019 she published a children's book, Deby Lyn & the Big Ouch.[20]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b Gooden, Beverly (2014-10-13). "Why We Stayed". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  2. ^ a b "#WhyIStayed Is Only Part of My Story". Women's Health. 2017-01-16. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  3. ^ Gooden, Beverly (2014-10-10). "Woman behind Ray Rice-inspired hashtag #WhyIStayed's letter to victims". Today. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  4. ^ "Video: #WhyIStayed: Women Speak Out After Ray and Janay Rice Controversy". ABC News. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  5. ^ Grinberg, Emanuella. "Meredith Vieira explains #WhyIStayed". CNN. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  6. ^ Lyengar, Rishi (2014-10-09). "After Ray Rice Video, Twitter Takes a Stand With #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft". Time. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  7. ^ Kaplan, Sarah (2014-10-09). "#WhyIStayed: She saw herself in Ray Rice's wife, Janay, and tweeted about it. So did thousands of others". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  8. ^ Taurianen, Jackie (2014-10-10). "#WhyIStayed & what it means". HLN. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  9. ^ "INSIDE EDITION Interviews Creator Of #WhyIStayed". Inside Edition. 2014-10-10. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Watson, Tom (2014-12-24). "Top Social Change Hashtags of 2014 Focused On Race And Gender". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  12. ^ Gibson, Megan (2014-12-02). "Top 10 Hashtags That Started a Conversation". Time. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  13. ^ Taurianen, Jackie (2015-03-20). "8 Hashtags that changed the world (thus far) |". HLN. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "NFL Domestic Violence: There Are No Sidelines, Only Sides". Dr. Phil. 2014-09-18. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  16. ^ "The Bolt Bag Project". The Ella Mae Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Investigation Discovery and Glamour Select Domestic Violence Survivor Beverly Gooden as Recipient of the 2015 Inspire a Difference "Everyday Hero" Award". Discovery Communications. 2015-10-16. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  19. ^ "2015 Annual Honors Event". Inspire a Difference. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  20. ^