Crisis and Care reveals what is possible when activists mobilize for the radical changes our society needs. In a time of great uncertainty, fear, and isolation, queer activists organized for health equity, prison abolition, racial justice, and more. Nobody who lived through the COVID-19 pandemic will soon forget the challenges, sacrifices, and incredible loss felt during such an uncertain time in history. Crisis and Care addresses not what happened during COVID-19, or why it happened, but rather how queer activists responded in real time. It considers the need to memorialize resiliency as well as loss, hope as well as pain, to remember the strides forward as well as the steps back. Activist contributors Zephyr Williams, Mark Travis Rivera, Jamie Gliksberg, Denise Spivak, Emmett Patterson, Omar Gonzales-Pagan, Kenyon Farrow, and more provide a radical lens through which future activists can consider effective strategies to make change, even or perhaps especially, during periods of crisis.
“Adrian Shanker has emerged in recent years as an urgent and prescient voice on matters concerning queer health. Crisis and Care: Queer Activist Responses to a Global Pandemic is timely, important and shares a message we ignore at our own peril. The response to COVID-19 from LGBTQ communities is informed by our own experience with a deadly pandemic made vastly worse by poor presidential leadership. Our lived experience over the past 40 years has valuable lessons for how we should be addressing today’s viral threats.”
—Sean Strub, author of Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival
“How did we respond? That is the central question in Crisis and Care. Lots of books will look at COVID-19, but this book looks at how LGBTQ activists responded to one of the most challenging moments of our lives.”
—Igor Volsky, author of Guns Down: How to Defeat the NRA and Build a Safer Future with Fewer Guns
“In Crisis and Care, Adrian Shanker and the contributing authors make the bold case that we are defined not by the bad things that happen in our society, but by how our community responds.”
—Robyn Ochs, editor of Bi Women Quarterly
“Crisis and Care tells stories about Queer people’s experiences during COVID-19 that needs to be memorialized as another example of our community’s resiliency in times of crisis. This book presents the stories of how LGBTQ community members came together to help one another not only survive the pandemic, but also our determination to thrive despite the failures of the federal government’s response.”
—David Heitstuman, executive director of the Sacramento LGBT Community Center
About the Contributors
Adrian Shanker (he/him) is editor of the critically acclaimed anthology Bodies and Barriers: Queer Activists on Health (PM Press, 2020) and the new anthology Crisis and Care: Queer Activist Responses to a Global Pandemic. He is executive director of the Spahr Center, serving Marin County, California’s LGBTQ+ and HIV communities. He previously founded and led Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania. A specialist in LGBTQ+ health policy, he has developed leading-edge health promotion campaigns to advance health equity through behavioral, clinical, and policy changes. Adrian is also a Biden-Harris appointee to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. He lives on unceded Coast Miwok land in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Rea Carey served as the National LGBTQ Task Force’s executive director from 2008 to 2021 and has advanced a vision of freedom for LGBTQ people and their families that is broad, inclusive, and progressive. She grounds her work solidly in racial, economic, gender and social justice. Currently, Rea is the principal of Carey Forward consulting, providing executive coaching and working with executives and boards to provide strategic advice, succession and transition planning, crisis management, and to sharpen their leadership skills.
Author: Adrian Shanker • Foreword by Rea Carey
Series: PM Press