Join us for September’s Hummingbird Hour event on Tuesday, September 20th at 12 pm EST, 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.

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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, 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. His TEDxTalk, “Embracing Yourself, Embracing Your Potential,” was a smash in 2014 at Bergen Community College. His debut collection, Drafts: An Imperfect Collection of Writing, was published in August 2017 through Amazon. In 2020, Rivera launched his wellness podcast, Marking The Path, available on Apple Podcast and Spotify.

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