Join us for this Hummingbird Hour event where we will discuss the book “Drafts: An Imperfect Collection of Writing”, with its author, Mark Travis Rivera.

Mark Travis Rivera understands discrimination. A Latino with cerebral palsy who was raised in an inner-city environment by a single mother, Rivera endured oppression and bullying from an early age. In the face of such experiences, coming out as gay with a nonconforming gender identity required immense strength and courage.

But these myriad intersectional identities make Rivera the man he is, and he explores his character-forming and enlightening experiences, both positive and negative, in Drafts, a collection of poems, diary entries, and personal essays compiled over the course of fifteen years. Drafts reveals Rivera’s journey from youth to adulthood and his evolution through pain and heartache to self-discovery—and learning to love himself while forgiving others.

Despite discrimination, homophobia, and ableism, Rivera never lost hope. He has suffered, but he has also grown and thrived. His poems and essays offer insight into a remarkable life, challenging all of us to live with courage, vulnerability, and a vibrant love of life.

Drafts is lovingly, defiantly imperfect, and that’s as it should be—because only in imperfection can we discover true beauty and truth.

You can purchase the book here.

Mark Travis Rivera

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 of New Jersey, Rivera 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. In addition, Rivera received the Audre Lorde Award for Social Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. Rivera is the youngest person to found an integrated dance company in the United States; marked dance project, a contemporary company for dancers with and without disabilities, established in March 2009 made its debut at Rutgers University. Through MDP, Rivera worked with choreographers Caitlin Trainor, Stacey Tookey, Todrick Hall, Tyce Diorio, and Marinda Davis.

After ten years of remarkable dancing, Rivera decided to dissolve the marked dance project and continue working as an independent disabled choreographer. As a marketing and program manager, Rivera has extensive experience working in higher education, arts non-profits, and the private sector. His TEDxTalk, “Embracing Yourself, Embracing Your Potential,” shares his journey as a Latinx queer disabled femme person and the importance of media representation. Rivera’s writing has appeared in The Bergen Record, Herald News, The Star-Ledger, Fox News Latino, and The Huffington Post. His debut collection, Drafts: An Imperfect Collection of Writing, was published in August 2017 through Amazon. In addition, Rivera has spoken in front of audiences at Harvard University and MIT as a speaker. More recently, he spoke virtually for Facebook Latin America in collaboration with We Create Space. a UK-based wellness organization for LGBTQ+ leaders. He was also a featured speaker for the global DEI summit, Amplify DEI, based in Amsterdam. In 2020, Rivera launched his wellness podcast, Marking The Path, available on Apple Podcast and Spotify.

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