Saturday, December 04, 2004

A Double-Take...Is Rome burning in Arkansas??

Phones were ringing and the commuity has been abuzz concerning recent developments in the functioning of community based organizations and AIDS based organizations in greater Pulaski County and statewide. "People are talking," and speculating about the closing aftermath of certain agencies and what caused their demise. It seems they were closing faster that Bush Cabinet resignations could be counted. As the smoke clears, the landscape is littered with bits and pieces of such groups as Arkansas Equity Network, which began with fanfare and much publicize organizing meetings. Promising a "new day" in Arkansas advocacy including a statewide network of newly energized youth who would be pulling us all together to deal with the real issues that affect us internally.However, this groundswell of strident"fired up individuals" simply flamed out and drew it last breath a few months ago as it scurried it's reminants over to yet another agency, Positive Voices, who suffered a slow and I what I feel was an unfortunate death, when there was so many resources poured into this venture. Office furniture, computers, databases and other valuable tools needed for organizational work now become "returned inventory" to the Arkansas Health Department, who will distribute it to other entities within it's massive system. Futhermore,the continuing power struggle of the Stonewall Democrats caused them to get "un-noticed by the State Democratic machine,"thusly dropping the ball in the recent election cycle. This fumble cost us a more formal place at the political table and possibly some marginal clout. Of course due to a leadership vaccum, lack of capacity building empowerment and vision, these folks, despite their meager cash stash, seems to be confusion as to how t0 leverage the organization into something viable. Such a pity. Nevertheless, the alledged disarray at Future Builders has all but stymied this "so-called" ASO's effectiveness and impact on its stakeholders as well. Yet another group ripe for the non-profit trash heap. Meanwhile, budget cuts still loom, other area agencies continue to eek out a muddled existence, the ADAP waiting list is 33 weeks old with more names to be added, the media reported that "Gays Moving out of State.." when in all actuality, it's only one Lesbian couple moving to Oregon which does not qualify for a mass exodus, and the band plays on! Is this all a bad dream or am I like "Alice" falling into the looking glass and ending up in a bizarre paradigm. No silly, it's just the Body Politic of Arkansas' gay community, still wandering in the desert in search of the promise land.

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