Second Tuesday Presents “Asylum” with Edafe Okporo and Adam Eli
Our Second Tuesday concludes this season with a special Pride Month presentation and launch of Edafe Okporo’s memoir “Asylum: A Memoir and Manifesto.” Join us in person and in conversation with Adam Eli and Edafe Okporo as we discuss immigration justice and global gay rights activism.
“Asylum” is a poignant, moving memoir and urgent call to action for immigration justice by a Nigerian asylee and global gay rights and immigration activist Edafe Okporo.
On the eve of Edafe Okporo’s twenty-sixth birthday, he was awoken to a violent mob outside his window in Abuja, Nigeria. The mob threatened his life after discovering the secret Edafe had been hiding for years—that he is a gay man. Left with no other choice, he purchased a one-way plane ticket to New York City and fled for his life. Though America had always been painted to him as a land of freedom and opportunity, it was anything but when he arrived just days before the tumultuous 2016 Presidential Election.
Edafe would go on to spend the next six months at an immigration detention center in Elizabeth, New Jersey. After navigating the confusing, often draconian, US immigration and legal system, he was finally granted asylum. But he would soon realize that America is exceptionally good at keeping people locked up but is seriously lacking in integrating freed refugees into society.
“Asylum” is Edafe’s eye-opening, thought-provoking memoir and manifesto, which documents his experiences growing up gay in Nigeria, fleeing to America, navigating the immigration system, and making a life for himself as a Black, gay immigrant. Alongside his personal story is a blaring call to action—not only for immigration reform but for a just immigration system for refugees everywhere. This book imagines a future where immigrants and asylees are treated with fairness, transparency, and compassion. It aims to help us understand that home is not just where you feel safe and welcome but also how you can make it feel safe and welcome for others.
Edafe is a global gay rights activist and one of the country’s most visible voices on the issue of displacement, as well as the founder of Refuge America, an organization with a vision to strengthen as a place of welcome for LGBTQ displaced people. A graduate of Enugu State University and the school of Business at NYU, he currently lives in New York City.
He is the Founder of The Pont, a premier consulting firm whose vision is to create a diverse and beautiful world. He was born and raised in Warri, Nigeria, where his mother and family still live. A native of Egbo Uhurie, Ughelli South Local government in Delta State Nigeria.
Adam Eli is an American activist and writer known for his work in LGBT activism. His first book, “The New Queer Conscience,” was released in June 2020. Eli is the founder of Voices4, a nonviolent direct-action activist group committed to advancing global queer liberation. It was originally launched to protest the anti-gay violence in Chechnya and has since created international chapters in London and Berlin. He got his start in activism as a member of Gays Against Guns, ultimately managing their social media accounts.
Eli currently serves as the Editor-in-chief of Gucci’s queer zine, The Chime Zine. “Gender-based discrimination, oppression, and violence take many different forms,” he says. “Having a global perspective is essential to the mission of Chime for Change and The Chime Zine.” Chime for Change is a global campaign founded by Gucci in 2013 to convene, unite, and strengthen the voices speaking out for gender equality. In June 2020, he published his first book, “The New Queer Conscience,” a part of Penguin Teen’s “Pocket Change Collective Series” with Alok Vaid-Menon, Kimberly Drew, and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez.
Tuesday, June 14, 2022
7 p.m. ET
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. ET