Black queer people have been an innovative and integral part of every society they’ve been a part of. If you look back through history, you’ll find that they’ve been the backbone of many of the advancements we’ve made as a people. In many cases, that remains true to this day. We’re fortunate to have a change maker right here in our new Family and Community Empowerment Services (FaCES) department, Samuel Jones.
Samuel—or “Sam” is the Life Coaching & Liaison Services Coordinator for FaCES and has been blossoming in this new role. He is a highly visible, highlighted point of contact for the program. Officially, he is responsible for arranging and facilitating three key areas of FaCES: Community Trust Building, Community Life Coaching Services, and Community Liaison Service Referrals.
- Community trust building can look like acting as a “Face of the FaCES Department’ by engaging in prompt, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic communication (both incoming and outgoing) to foster and maintain effective, unified, and trusted communication between the agency and community service participants/stakeholders as related to building community trust.
- Community life coaching serving can look like scheduling and facilitating in-depth, short-term consecutive community goal-setting sessions meant to provide each community member with the valuable opportunity to be supported through the identification, setting, and initiation of personal goals, with an emphasis on fostering a sense of personal accountability, value-based decision making, and self-actualization.
- Community liaison service referrals can look like developing in-depth knowledge of local service organizations which offer housing, employment, violence intervention, and financial assistance while also being LGBTQIA+ affirming.
Having Sam as a first point of contact for FaCES participants is essential for a few reasons. Sam is Black and identifies as non-binary. Representation matters and having Sam on the front line demonstrates that FaCES is for everybody. He took time out of his busy schedule to have a chat with CJ Wallace from our marketing department to discuss their role and impact here at Resource Center and beyond.
CJ: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Sam: The more you get to know me, the more you get to love me. I’m typically a very polite person, so people think that’s all that there is to me. They don’t expect my sense of humor or my various viewpoints. I am so much more than what you see on the surface.
CJ: What experience did you get before this role that you feel prepared you for where you are now?
Sam: I’ve had a wide range of experiences that helped me get to this point. One would be Spiritual BFF, which has been my small business for close to 10 years now. I’ve been doing readings and life coaching. I’ve worked with people all over the United States.
I’ve been able to create these intimate, healing spaces no matter where I’ve been. My goal is that people always come out better than they come in. I’m thrilled that people tell me they always feel energized and have a sense of hope. They don’t feel like their world is collapsing and can face another day.
I also have experience from my time in the work-study program and grad assistant during undergrad and graduate school at UL Lafayette, my alma mater. I worked in admissions, financial aid, and was a Resident Advisor in the dorms. Being an RA helped me see that I can relate to all types of people. Then there was working in financial aid, which was literally crisis management for students and parents alike.
These experiences are significant because my new role at Resource Center has a life coaching component.
CJ: What impact do you hope to leave on the community as the FaCES Liaison?
Sam: I want to show people you don’t have to be like everybody else to be cherished and appreciated. I feel like so many people in our community want to stand out—we all want to be stars or famous. Because for such a significant portion of our lives, we were made to feel like we were nothing by people who were supposed to love us the most. We want to be stars because we want to prove those people wrong or convince them to love us.
What I noticed in the pursuit of that stardom is a lot of conforming. Where you hang out, how you dress, or what type of habits you have to be involved in. You must fit in before you stand out. When it comes to this Dallas community, I’ve never fit in. It’s because I don’t want to compromise myself and what’s important to me just to fit it. Interestingly enough, that’s what makes me a star—and embracing my talents instead of doing what’s popular. I want to empower others to also march to the beat of their own drum. If you want to stand out, you must do what’s true to you. You have to use the talent that was given to you and maximize it to the best of your ability.
CJ: How do you feel like being Black and Queer can help you in this position
Sam: For starters, representation matters. Just the fact that a Black person is integral to a program such as FaCES will open up accessibility to many other people of color. Being in this position as a Black person rolls out the welcome mat to a wider variety of people just because they can see my skin color. This also gives me an opportunity to bring positive attention to Black men and femininity, which historically have a tumultuous relationship.
I want to show people that they can be themselves, and not only can they create space, but spaces can be created for them. Authenticity is something that people are desperate for, and if you’re consistent enough with that within yourself, you’ll run into people who appreciate that.
We’re so excited to see all the amazing things that will come out of our FaCES department. Sam Jones along with the rest of the team are hard at work to make the Dallas LGBTQIA+ community a better place for all.