4 results for author: Brian Murphy


Why Patricia is combining art therapy and activism

Patricia first came to Harlem United a year into her recovery, hoping to not just survive but thrive, and one of the first programs that she connected with was art therapy. “Some things that I did were self-destructive and I’m not going to be able to cure that right away. Working on yourself doesn’t happen overnight.” Addiction led to risky sex and other behaviors with results that Patricia is not happy about, including an HIV diagnosis. Which is why some of her art takes an activist stance. One of her earlier pieces is a pop art - activist mashup, juxtaposing the then- (and still now) megahit musical Wicked with safer sex messages. ...

What we learned meditating with Pandit Dasa

The room is so quiet that the only things you can hear are the buzz of the central heating and the soft gentle breathe of the young adults with their eyes closed and backs straight. “Exhale completely. Emptying your lungs,” Pandit says softly. There’s a pregnant pause before he speaks again, “Inhale completely. Fill your lungs." Our drop-in space for LGBTQ young adults is usually buzzing with activity. The crinkle of bags of food, people coming and going, clicking on computer keyboards for job searching or simply checking in on friends and family. And always lots of loud conversations. But twice a week, the space transforms as Three ...

Facing HIV & addiction through performance

I spent a few hours each week in December in the dining room of Harlem United's Willis Green Jr. Adult Day Health Care Center. There was silverware clanking, conversations bubbling, and of course clients bustling. As lunch hour ends, clients and staff clear out the tables and the room becomes a make-shift rehearsal space. Here, the clients put together their annual Men's Winter Spectacular. I'm there to document the experience and, frankly, I don't think I have the words to describe how moved I was by everyone who shared not only their talents—but also their personal stories of struggle and triumph—with the group and with me. Take a look at ...

What I learned on my trip to Coney Island

Last month, I rode out to Coney Island, in Brooklyn, with Isaac & Pedro, two staff in our Integrated Harm Reduction Program to see their work in action. Nestled right next to the iconic rides on Coney Island’s historic boardwalk is a neighborhood where injection drug use is common. Despite the wind and rain, we park our van and the team sets up shop. Over the course of the day, the team meets with clients who come for new, clean, sterile needles. We give them out for free because using clean needles lowers the risk of HIV and other blood-born infection transmissions. I learn that in cities with needle exchange programs, HIV infection rates ...