Gabby Rivera is an outgoing, outspoken creator invested in fostering better dialogue, inspiring radical creativity, and improving our most vulnerable communities. The author of Juliet Takes a Breath, she’s also the writer of the new Marvel series America—featuring the first queer, Latinx teen-girl superhero, ever—that’s catching headlines from The New York Times, CNN, Vogue, and beyond.
“Marvel’s America is the superhero people need right now.”— Entertainment Weekly
Gabby Rivera is a young, charming speaker dedicated to empowering women and improving our marginalized communities. She’s currently making major waves for her new Marvel series starring America Chavez: a queer, Latinx superhero who’s been written and designed, crucially, by a queer Latinx. And while the series is “definitely going to tackle America’s ancestry and ethnicity,” Rivera tells The Washington Post, it’s also a comic book aimed at wide appeal: committed to snappy one-liners, blowing stuff up, and beating up the bad guys, naturally.
Rivera is also the author of Juliet Takes a Breath, a YA novel listed by Mic as one of the 25 essential books to read for women’s history month. It’s a critically acclaimed coming-of-age story starring a queer puertorriqueña who leaves her native Bronx behind to intern, over one transformative summer, with one of her literary heroes: the feminist author Harlow Brisbane. “I strongly encourage you to read Juliet Takes a Breath,” writes Roxane Gay. “It’s quite dazzling, funny as hell, poignant, all the things.” Witty, authentic, and humming with the full complexities of modern life and radical politics, the book was called the “dopest LGBTQA YA book ever” by Latina magazine.
As an activist, Rivera also gives back. She’s the Youth Programs Manager at GLSEN (pronounced “glisten”): a leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for LGBTQ students. That means fewer incidents of bullying and harassment, and more students treated with respect. She’s also worked with Autostraddle.com for over five years as the QTPOC Speakeasy editor and A-Camp staff. As a film and multi-media teaching artist, she’s worked with social justice organizations like DreamYard Project, Inc. And she’s appeared as a featured panelist and counselor at the annual Autostraddle Queer Women’s Conference, and has presented at the Allied Media and Digital Media and Learning Conferences.
Inspiring Radical Creativity Empowering Young, Diverse Voices to Tell Their Own Stories
To Gabby Rivera, it’s vital to encourage people of all backgrounds to create, daydream, and tell their own stories—and in so doing, open a radical space for creativity. Now, in this affecting talk, Rivera unpacks how she navigates the world as a queer, Latinx, millennial woman; how she incorporates her heritage into her writing; how she strives to be a thoughtful ally for others, and how she celebrates the healing power of community. This is a talk about privilege and power, and what we can do to support the ideas of diverse artists working with progressive politics. It asks difficult questions: What if this country made everyone—people of all colors, cultures, orientations, abilities, and genders—feel at home? What if the traumas experienced by marginalized peoples could be reconciled and incorporated into a broader, richer definition of America? What if our non-white ancestors weren’t erased, but represented in pop culture, in our textbooks and classrooms? And what if we could privilege difference as a site of wonder, laughter and celebration, and not as something to fear? With Rivera’s smart, funny talks, we can start imagining these worlds as our reality.