Kevin Henderson, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, is a doctoral student in political science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Kevin was an outspoken leader for queer students and faculty during his undergraduate career at John Carroll University. Kevin rebuilt his campus’s gay-straight alliance at a time when membership was waning and when administrators were canceling events and threatening its funding. He annually directed and performed in “The Queer Monologues,” a student-written production that showcased queer voices on campus without censor or shame. In 2010, Kevin helped organize a student sit-in at a university basketball game to demand that nondiscrimination statements be instituted for all JCU employees and to hold the university up to its inclusive social justice mission. After the sit-in gained media attention, he successfully met with members of the board of trustees to change university policies. Kevin was also a leader in Take Back the Night, an anti-sexual-violence group, and taught a civics curriculum to underserved 5th graders in Cleveland through the program We The People.
After graduating with top honors, Kevin committed to providing legal assistance to low-income immigrants and refugees at the Nationalities Service Center in Philadelphia through a year of full-time, postgraduate volunteer service with Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Right before leaving, his life radically changed when he was diagnosed with HIV. However, Kevin remained committed and completed his year of service. He became heavily involved in HIV/AIDS activism in Philadelphia. In 2016, Kevin’s commitment to teaching was recognized with the Pi Sigma Alpha Best Teaching Assistant Award, voted upon by all political science and legal studies majors at UMass-Amherst. His research focuses on histories of queer, feminist, and anti-racist activism.