Senior Director for Community Health Planning and Policy, Callen-Lorde

I stand up for health justice and for the lives of those who’ve been marginalized and oppressed. For me, this has meant fighting for black and brown lives, queer lives, trans lives, women’s and lesbian’s lives as well the lives of people who are economically disenfranchised. I’m drawn to social justice causes, and this has manifested in my work as a public policy advocate and has been focused on healthcare as a human right.

Health and healthcare is so deeply personal, yet our access to healthcare is influenced by how we are valued in American society.  We experience all the isms and phobias – classism, racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia – bearing out in how, and if, people access healthcare.

I found Callen-Lorde first as a patient and volunteer board member more than 20 years ago when I was a young, fresh-faced lesbian who was new to New York City and new to being out as a lesbian.  When I was introduced to Callen-Lorde, I was already trying to do my part to fight HIV and AIDS in communities of color and LGBTQ communities, as a journalist and then eventually working within the HIV service industry here.  Even so, back then I’m not sure I had the tools or vocabulary to articulate the ideal that healthcare could be safe, non-judgmental, high-quality and embracing of one’s whole self and body.  I could witness this ideal being realized as a patient. As a young board member I could be a part of sustaining that mission. It’s these combined experiences that have had a powerful impact on my understanding of health equity … the idea that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be healthier.  The work, advocacy and activism is just as much about health care, as it is about removing obstacles to good health. And, every day at Callen-Lorde, it’s a privilege to stand up, resist, and do my part … as part of a larger movement that demands justice and equity in healthcare.