Imagine being 28 years old, arguably at the beginning of your life, and being given a terminal diagnosis. My guest on the podcast today is Martina Clark, a writer, teacher, and activist who has spent her career fighting to make a difference in the lives of those affected with HIV/AIDs .
Faced with a positive diagnosis at the young age of 28, Martina was told she had no more than 5 years to live. With a sense of nothing to lose, she dove into activism which led her on the unexpected path of becoming the first openly HIV-positive person to work for UNAIDS in 1996. In her work as an AIDS activist she has traveled all over the world, sitting at some of the most powerful tables in the AIDS pandemic, dedicated to bringing the voices and experiences of people living and dying with the disease to those who had the power to make a difference.
She captured that life in her memoir, My Unexpected Life, a mix of personal memoir, travel, humor and an up-close look at the squishy underbelly of the United Nations, My Unexpected Life follows her personal journey—emotional and physical—interwoven with her professional path. Martina’s memoir adds an insider’s view to the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, particularly as pertains to women. Throughout, she draws parallels to the COVID pandemic–including her own long-haul bout with COVID.
A native Californian, Martina teaches in the City University of New York system at Laguardia Community College where she empowers the next generation of young people to explore their passions to find their voice in the world.
To learn more about Martina's work visit her website:
To learn more about Robert Maggio, the composer of our theme music, please check out his website.
To learn more about Suzanne, visit her website.
To learn more about the inspiration for this podcast, please check out Suzanne's memoir, Estrellas - Moments of Illumination Along El Camino de Santiago
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