Aerion Andrew Abney is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 2010, he received his undergraduate degree in Communications with a minor in Theatre Arts from the University of Pittsburgh. Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, he continued his education and received his Masters of Social Work also from the University of Pittsburgh. He chose social work because he is dedicated to a life of service and making a positive difference in the lives of others and their overall well-being. His ultimate goal as a social leader is to raise the bar of acquired knowledge, while at the same time closing the gap of ignorance. Currently, he lives his professional life at the intersection of civil rights, philanthropy and politics.
Aerion is a Pennsylvania voting rights director and advocate that works across the state to expand access to the ballot for voters. He has led programs designed to educate voters in the criminal justice system about their rights as well as preparing voters for the upcoming changes to their voter experience since the passage of Act 77.
Previously, Aerion has worked as a Program Officer at a local foundation in Pittsburgh where he was responsible for identifying strategic grantmaking opportunities aligned with the Foundation’s mission and priority areas. He authorized over $1.2M in grants to non-profit organizations that supported critical programs across the region and in the 19th District particularly. In addition to overseeing direct funding to support non-profits, he provides technical assistance and coaching to organizations seeking to develop or improve their services in the community.
Aerion’s background and interests are in workforce training, community development, and social and economic justice. He is politically engaged within the City of Pittsburgh having served as a Committeeman for the 21st Ward 4th District. He currently sits on the boards of: Hill District Federal Credit Union, and Human Services Center Corporation, as well as the advisory board for the African American Achievement Trust Collective Focus. Additionally, he serves on the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County’s My Brother’s Keeper taskforce an initiative to create action plans around the opportunity gaps that impact young men and boys of color.
Aerion is a proven visionary and strategic leader that organized a city-wide community and police relations event to redefine how community and police build positive interactions and safer neighborhoods. As a community organizer, he has years of experience working to bring people together around issues that they care about most. He plans to continue to use his community organizing skills to advocate for marginalized people.
As a candidate for State Representative, Aerion seeks to support anti-displacement strategies geared towards ensuring residents have a fair opportunity to remain in their neighborhoods as communities continue to develop. Additionally, he seeks to support the highest educational opportunities for students so that they are prepared to excel in the 21st-century workforce. He is dedicated to criminal justice reform strategies that provide second chances for non-violent offenders to become reintegrated productive citizens within society.
Aerion is the recipient of the 2016 NAACP Pittsburgh Chapters Young Person of the Year, New Pittsburgh Courier’s 2016 Fab 40 award, Pittsburgh Magazine and PUMP’s 2015 40 Under 40 award, and University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work 2015 Rising Star Alumni Award just to name a few. He is also a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and Prince Hall Free and Accepted Masons.
Aerion lives in Pittsburgh’s Northside with his wife Tamara and their newborn son Aerius.