Michael Taylor Riggs died May 24 in Tuba City, Ariz., according to his friend Keely Varvel. He lived in Washington from 1998 to 2010 when he moved back to Arizona due to an unspecified illness. Riggs, who was gay, was 42.
He was born on Nov. 10, 1970 and grew up in the Navajo Nation, a remote area in Northern Arizona. He worked as an emergency medical technician in Arizona and for the Northern Arizona Area Health Education Center where he worked on an HIV/AIDS outreach program targeted at Native American men. During his time in California, Riggs worked in the office of U.S. Reps. Ron Dellums and Barbara Lee, whom he joined in Washington as a policy adviser on AIDS and other issues. He worked with Lee on the Global AIDS and Tuberculosis Relief Act of 2000 and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
He was interred in Arizona, but a memorial event is planned in Washington for his friends here. It will be held Thursday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Busboys and Poets (2021 14th Street, NW).