Dismantling HIV Criminalization: A Panel Discussion
LA MAMA GALLERIA
Dismantling HIV Criminalization brought together activists and advocates working to end practices that punish and incarcerate people living with HIV, linking Visual AIDS’ summer exhibition Cell Count to the ongoing movement against HIV criminalization.
The panel featured a discussion between Kate Boulton of the Center for HIV Law and Policy, Kenyon Farrow of TheBody.com, Abdul-Aliy Muhammad of the Black and Brown Workers Collective, and Robert Suttle of the Sero Project.
Kate, Kenyon and Robert had just returned from the 2018 HIV is Not a Crime Conference in Indianapolis, where activists from around the country gathered to build a national movement against HIV criminalization.
Dismantling HIV Criminalization was dedicated to David Plunkett, a survivor of HIV criminalization who passed away in 2018. After five years in prison, David’s successful appeal in 2012 set a legal precedent in New York that the saliva of a person with HIV could not be characterized as a deadly weapon. David contributed an essay to the catalog for Cell Count, reflecting on his experience facing HIV criminalization. The catalog is available for purchase at the Visual AIDS store.
Kate Boulton is a Staff Attorney at the Center for HIV Law and Policy, where she focuses on HIV criminal law reform and the overrepresentation of people living with HIV in the criminal legal system. She has particular interest in the intersection between HIV criminalization and the criminalization of sex work, and recently spearheaded the creation of an advocacy toolkit addressing this issue. From 2007 to 2012, Kate served with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where her work centered on migrant health and infectious disease. She earned her JD from Harvard Law School and her MPH from the University of Michigan.
Kenyon Farrow is the senior editor with TheBody.com and TheBodyPro.com. Kenyon has a long track record working in communities impacted by HIV as an activist, writer, and strategist. Prior to joining TheBody.com, he served as U.S. & Global Health Policy director for Treatment Action Group (TAG), where he led a research project to explore the role of community mobilization in the U.S. HIV response and helped develop strategies for southern jurisdiction’s ending-the-epidemic campaigns. Kenyon has also worked on campaigns large and small, local, national, and global on issues related to criminalization/mass imprisonment, homelessness, and LGBT rights. He is the co-editor of the book Letters From Young Activists: Today’s Rebels Speak Out. His work has also appeared on websites and in publications such as The Body.com, POZ, The Atlantic, TheGrio, Colorlines, ReWire News, The American Prospect, and AlterNet.
Abdul-Aliy Muhammad is a Black queer poz non-binary jawn* from Philadelphia, PA. They’ve worked in the field of HIV prevention for 6 1/2 years and currently work as an organizer with the Black and Brown Workers Collective and does anti-oppression trainings with the BlaQollective. Abdul-Aliy is releasing A Flower Left To Wilt, their first poetry book, on October 26, 2018.
Robert Suttle is the Assistant Director of the SERO Project, a network of people living with HIV and allies fighting for freedom from stigma and injustice. He oversees the community outreach and education and coordinates Sero’s HIV Criminalization Survivors Network.