Beverly Gooden receiving the Inspire A Difference Everyday Hero Award in New York, NY
Cleveland, OH, United States
|Alma mater||Hampton University|
|Occupation||Writer, speaker, musician|
Beverly Gooden is an award-winning social activist, public speaker, and writer, known for her work on relationship violence, as well as women's health policy. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, the U.S. Office on Women's Health, and NBC's TODAY.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Beverly was a ward of the state of Ohio, and lived in foster care until being adopted by the Gooden family. After attending several high schools, she graduated with honors from St. Peter Chanel High School in Bedford, Ohio. As a sophomore, 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 in college, 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 from Hampton University with a degree in Journalism & Communications. She went on to attend Loyola University Chicago, and graduated with a master's degree in Social Justice. Beverly was a community organizer in the Altgeld Gardens Homes (Chicago, Illinois), focused on stress related health issues. 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 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. The hashtag created a global movement to end victim-blaming and provided survivors of domestic violence an avenue for telling their stories.
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."
Why I Stayed was listed as one of the top social change hashtags of 2014 by Forbes, and one of the top 10 hashtags that started a conversation by TIME Magazine. In March 2015, Why I Stayed was recognized as one of 8 hashtags that changed the world.
In 2015, Beverly founded the Ella Mae Foundation, which supports "protection and superior upbringing for children as well as self-actualization and equitable rights for women".
In September 2014, Beverly made guest appearances on the Dr. Phil show 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. 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, and appeared in the December 2015 issue of Redbook Magazine.
Beverly 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.
Beverly plays three musical instruments; piano, bass guitar, and violin.