Editor Adrian Shanker joins our co-op for this virtual event with queer health advocates Mark Travis Rivera and Emmett Patterson to discuss their contributions to a the new anthology, Crisis and Care: Queer Activist Responses to a Global Pandemic.
In a time of great uncertainty, fear, and isolation, queer activists organized for health equity, prison abolition, racial justice, and more. Crisis and Care anthologizes not what happened during COVID-19, or why it happened, but rather how Queer activists responded in real time. It considers the necessity to memorialize resiliency as well as loss, hope as well as pain, to remember the strides forward as well as the steps back and provides a radical lens through which future activists can consider effective strategies to make change, even or perhaps especially, during periods of crisis.
Adrian Shanker is editor of the critically acclaimed anthology Bodies and Barriers: Queer Activists on Health (PM Press) and the executive director of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown, PA. A specialist in LGBT health policy, he has developed leading-edge health promotion campaigns to advance health equity through behavioral, clinical, and policy changes. Adrian serves as Commissioner and health committee co-chair on the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs.
Mark Travis Rivera is an award-winning professional storyteller––telling stories is at the core of Mark’s purpose in life. A graduate of William Paterson University, he earned a bachelor’s in women’s & gender studies with a minor in public relations. In 2013, Rivera received the Student Government Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his commitment to the William Paterson community. In the same year, he was honored with the Campus Pride Voice & Action Award for his work with the LGBTQ community. He recently won the Audre Lorde Award for Social Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, and the Lavender Legacy Award from William Paterson. Rivera is the youngest person to found an integrated dance company in the United States; marked dance project (2009-2019), a contemporary company for dancers with and without disabilities, made its debut at Rutgers University. After ten years, Rivera dissolved marked dance project and is now an independent disabled choreographer. Rivera’s writings have appeared in The Bergen Record, Herald News, The Star-Ledger, Fox News Latino, and The Huffington Post. As a speaker, he has spoken in front of crowds at various institutions of higher learning, including Harvard, MIT, and NYU. In 2020, Rivera launched his wellness podcast, Marking The Path, available on Apple Podcast and Spotify.
Emmett Patterson is a health activist, a writer, and the associate director of Building Healthy Online Communities. As the former global health projects manager of Grindr for Equality, he led the dating app’s COVID-19 response, connecting the app’s global user base with critical updates on the pandemic, safer sex information, and local support services. Over his career, he has worked in partnership with global activists in Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and North America on projects related to HIV home testing, migrant health, and trans and nonbinary sexual liberation. His writing on queer and trans health has recently been featured in Out, The Advocate, TheBody, and a book of essays, Bodies and Barriers: Queer Activists on Health (PM Press, 2020). He attributes his commitment to sexual health and liberation for himself and others to the wisdom of a lineage of HIV and AIDS, racial justice, and disability justice activists.