Tuesday, July 15, 2008

As the World Turns and thensome

Is it hot enough for you? Well, if it's not then just you wait because I'm all about either turning up some heat or taking heat. It doesn't matter, just let me at the action in whatever form it comes to me. This week it's about the pride, Black Pride that is, as we prepare for this weekend Little Rock, Southern Comfort, Black Pride events being held throughout the city. But in the meantime, I'm leaving anything off the table as we keep it funky fresh with updates, commentary, links, and maybe even the kitchen sink in this edition of COP:24/7...are you ready, then get set, let's go get em...

Capital Pride Alert: Since we're talking about pride, Little Rock Capital Pride President is circulating an e-blast concerning the state of the group and it's upcoming board elections. According to Joe Lafountaine, he is responding to "many people" who have expressed their disappointment with the lack of a pride festival similar to last years River Market throw down. Furthermore he states, "as previously announced, we were unable to recruit enough volunteers to serve on our board to produce the event". Therefore, Little Rock Capital Pride will hold board elections on Saturday, July 26th at 2 pm at Central Arkansas Library Main Branch in the Friborough Room. Lafountaine reiterates, "If we are to bring Pride back to Little Rock, it is crucial that we have folks willing to serve. If you are interested in serving on the board, please email mailto:joe@lrcpride.org" O.K. the rallying cry, smoke signal, cyberblast has been sent, I'm interested in just how many of those concerned "folks" will have their face in the place. So, let's make this more interesting. Usually I'm not a betting man, but here's my challenge. If 50 people show up with $50.00 checks( real checks only not bouncers) or cash, this forum will commit to hosting a fundraising event for the group at our expense. It's on, you do the math....we'll keep the light on.

All Buzz...No Bull?: What's that you say? Well, it's coming from over the horizon and soon. So you will need to stay locked in to this forum as I start telling you about the "Buzz" that's starting to sound off on the north shore's Sidetracks. Of course those crazy guys won't stop there, just when I thought I had heard it all , then I got wind that there's going be some "suckin and blowin," going on as well. Now, if I've got your curiosity up, then you will really have to stay tuned because we will have all the news first! Who knows you might be a winner if you do....!

Black Pride in the City...What it's all about you ask?

Throughout the week, we will be examining as well as exploring BSGL issues from various aspects. Today, we sharing the concept of "Black Pride," and it's origins. If you have comments, thoughts, opinions or challenges, then we implore you to share in this open space with your voices. The IFBP is a national sponsor of LRBP 2008 and this commentary has been sourced from their website.

Black Pride plays an important role in the larger gay rights movement.
WHAT STARTED OUT in Washington, D.C., as the only Black Gay Pride event in the country in 1990 has grown to more than 35 gatherings nationwide
Starting in April and going through October of each year, more than 300,000 LGBTQ people of African descent rev up for a weekend of social and cultural events. Just last year, more than 350,000 attended Black Gay Pride events‚ throughout the U.S., with the largest events held in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Atlanta, and smaller Black Pride events like the one in Boston providing an equally important sense of identity and‚cultural heritage.
Sunday gospel brunches, Saturday night poetry slams, Friday fashion shows, bid whist tournaments, house parties, soul food, Caribbean cuisine and beautiful displays of African art and clothing are just some of the cultural markers that make Black Pride distinct.
But cultural exclusion was just one of a few things gay revelers of African descent experienced in Pride events. Racism is the other.รข€‚And so after decades of Pride events where many gays of African descent tried to be included and were rejected, Black Gay Pride was born.
'' We are not seeing ourselves culturally represented at Pride. We want to show not only ourselves, but the larger LGBT community we are out here and taking control of our lives. Black Gay Pride New England speaks to who we are, and it represents the substance that pertains to our lives,'' Philip Robinson, a teacher and community activist told me in June 2001.
Seven years later that sentiment remains. And subsequently, we all rev up each year for Pride so, too, unfortunately, do the fault lines of race and class.
The growing gulf between whites and blacks, rich and poor can be seen in the HIV/AIDS epidemic that was once an entire LGBTQ community problem and is now predominately a black one.
Another example of our division can be seen in the white gay ghettos that have developed and thrived safely in neighborhoods throughout the country. However‚with homophobia in black communities, where most of us reside, we cannot carve out a black queer ghetto within our existing neighborhoods and expect to realistically be safe.
OUR THEMES FOR Black Pride events are different from the larger Pride events. Black Pride focuses on issues not solely pertaining to gays, but rather on social, economic and health issues impacting the entire black community. For example, where the primary focus and themes in white Prides have been on marriage equality, gay people of African descent have used Pride events to focus on HIV/AIDS, other health issues, gang violence ‚ and‚youth homelessness, to name only a few.
By 1999, Black Pride events had grown into the International Federation of Black Prides, Inc. (IFBP). The IFBP is a coalition of 29 Black Pride organizations across the country. It formed to promote an African multicultural and multinational network of LGBTQ/Same Gender Loving Pride events and community based organizations dedicated to building solidarity, health and wellness and promoting''unity throughout our communities.
In recognizing the need to network and build coalitions beyond its immediate communities, IFBP announced in April the formation of the Black/Brown Coalition.
'' The purpose of the National Black and Brown Summit is to identify areas for potential collaboration between African-American and Latino LGBT communities, leaders, organizations and grassroots movements,'' said Earl Fowlkes, president of the IFBP.
BLACK PRIDE IS an invitation for the community to connect its political activism with its celebratory acts of song and dance in the fight for LGBTQ justice.
The Bible is replete with examples of oppressed groups parading in the streets while struggling for their freedom. For example, ''the Song of Mariam,'' in Exodus 15:19 21 celebrates the Israelites crossing the Red Sea while they still journeyed in the wilderness toward the Promised Land.
The Promised Land for all LGBTQ citizens is full acceptance into society and Black Pride plays an important role in fulfilling that promise.
Black Pride contributes to the multicultural aspect of joy and celebration that symbolizes not only our uniqueness as individuals and communities, but also affirms our varied expressions of LGBTQ life in America.
Happy Pride!

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