Achim Jeremiah Howard
2018 Unsung Hero Award Award
Achim Jeremiah Howard, a native of Washington, DC, is a leader, mentor, father figure, advocate, activist, mentor, construction worker, minister, and humanitarian.
Since learning he was HIV positive in 2010, Achim has become explosively active in his community as a mentor to other transmen. After identifying a need for safe spaces for transmen in DC, he opened his home and founded TransMen Rising. TransMen Rising creates a safe space for Transmen to come together to discuss education, self-care, empowerment, HIV awareness and prevention, as well as other important issues. Achim is no stranger to overcoming obstacles–he was homeless for five years, dealt with domestic violence, experienced mental and physical abuse as a child, and was sexually assaulted as an adult, which resulted in him becoming HIV positive.
Achim’s community service involvement includes membership in Alpha Omega Kappa Fraternity, Incorporated, serving on the board of directors at Whitman Walker Health, and membership on the Positively Trans Advisory Board. He also has a distinguished list of accomplishments, which include being the first transgender apprentice of the year and the first transgender individual to be a member of the Operative Plasterers & Cement Masons Local Union 891; the first transgender to work at Capitol Paving of D.C., Inc. (where he physically transitioned in his third year of working and is in his eleventh year of working there); and the first trans minister at Bethel Christian Church of Washington, D.C. He was inducted into the Heroes Exhibit of DC in 2015, and he has helped fight for cultural competency training in the workplace. His commitment to paving the way for others has led to instrumental policy change.
Achim believes in standing up for something or falling for anything. He is a true believer of standing up and speaking for those who can’t do it for themselves as he demonstrated in September of 2017 during the United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) when he led a protest in response to lack of data and representation of transgender during the conference.
He is the father of two beautiful young ladies, and 20 young transmen. He is committed to advocacy and activism and his favorite quote is his own, “We all hold the key to our own destiny. It is up to us to turn the key, push the door open, grab hold to what is yours and keep the door open for others to follow. If you want anything bad enough fight for it and never give up. Once you claim what is yours, help others get theirs and never forget where you came from.”