Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we in the Public Policy department have remained steadfast in our mission to protect our clients, our staff, and the Center so that we can all remain healthy and continue to provide critical services.
This includes tracking all the governmental responses to COVID-19 at the local, state, and federal levels to see how these responses impact us. We dive deep into the analysis of every legislative move and executive order, and we are also closely tracking how dwindling tax revenue coffers at each level of government affects potential discontinuation of service provisions.
This crisis has taught me that, if I have to, I can hammer through an 1,800-page federal bill in a day.
When I got sober more than 10 years ago and looked back on my experience, I realized that a lot of people in my community were barred from accessing services simply because they were LGBT, black, brown or some other disadvantaged group. Many of us didn’t even know services existed, how to obtain services if we did know about them, or how to get to them due to lack of transportation. So, I started to get involved and help people in the recovery community by connecting them to services.
In 2012 my twin brother Albert died from AIDS-related complications. It crushed our family. He lived in Texas and suffered from so much shame and guilt around his diagnosis and identity that he didn’t tell anyone, not even me, that he was sick. Before we knew it, it was too late. He went into the hospital and died six weeks later.
I vowed then and there to double my efforts of helping my community, to fight against all the legal and social barriers and stigma that we face as an LGBTQ community and as people of color. There’s no reason for any of us to die.
I participated in AIDS/LifeCycle for the first time in 2014 then again in 2016. This year would have been my third time. I’m already signed up for 2021.
Before joining the Center’s staff, I had been a volunteer for more than a decade then spent a year as a Public Policy intern while earning my master’s degree from UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.
Everyone in the department is so focused on lifting up the LGBTQ community by breaking down those homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, classist, and racist laws that prevent us from being the best we can be. It is in complete alignment with my purpose in helping my community.
Hometown: Lubbock, Texas
Year Started Working at Center: 2019
Senior Policy Advocate & Community Organizer