Monday, August 31, 2009

Speaking Volumes: August Bows Out


Since the inception of this forum, I've tried to leverage it's usefulness and access juxtaposed to our daily updating. In 2007 COP:24/7 we participated in a business networking concept, As 2008 took shape we adopted our 3 Pillar Mission Statement highlighting the scope of empowerment, information and infortainment. In 2009, this forum rallied the Pride cause with other local entities with our contributions to Pride Picnic 09 and now, we continue our community involvement as a facilitator for Gay Politics 101, "What you Don't Know, Can hurt You," as apart of the Three Days in September Community Building piece sponsored by Brotha's & Sisters and AMHC. I was some what broadsided by the request, but as many of you know, I'm always ready for yet another challenge. However, this opportunity will allow a chance to dialogue while disseminating some vital information. If you are curious, intrigued or just down right wanting to know what's really going on, then put your face in the place. Check out the Facebook E-vite, call B&S at 501.612.5775 or you can check in with us by hitting our comment icon. I promise you don't want to miss it....

Welcome to WELLNESS COP24/7 STYLE: All this week I'll be highlighting "all things wellness," in an effort to add to the Health care debate by encouraging each of you to get pro-active with your health instead of abdicating your health to a system that may or may not be available for you. I just completed my yearly physical and I'm proud to state that according to my PCP, I'm in good damn health for a man my age. Even with that said, you can't get out of the doc's office without those reminders of dropping a few pounds, more exercise and good nutrition. As a primer, I also get Men's Health online to keep me tuned into what I should be doing without the office co-pay.

From Men's Health:
Why Living Right Matters
For two decades, Men's Health has been telling you to eat right, to exercise, and to limit risk factors such as smoking and excessive drinking.Now, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association backs us up.The study looked at six lifestyle factors: body weight, smoking, exercise, alcohol intake, consumption of breakfast cereals, and consumption of fruits and vegetables. Then it measured the lifetime risk of heart failure among 20,000 men.Guys who didn't comply with any of the healthy lifestyle choices stood a one in five risk of heart failure. Those who adhered to at least four healthy habits were more than half as likely to suffer heart failure.What does it mean to you? It means the formula works. So stick to it:
Watch your weight. If you're carrying more pounds than you should, join the thousands of guys who've regained control of their bodies in the Belly Off! Club.
Exercise regularly. Hit the gym with one of our 18 cutting-edge training guides, all available in our recently updated iPhone app. It's like having a personal trainer 24/7!
Eat right. It's easier than you ever thought possible, with these eight perfect fitness foods and our list of the 20 worst fast foods in America. Need more ideas on eating smart? Pick up the new book Eat This Not That! The Best (& Worst) Foods in America.
Limit alcohol. Read on to know how much is too much, and how it can affect you from the workplace to the bedroom.
Don't smoke. Enough said, as it’s one of the 12 worst health problems for men.The good news is accomplishing just four goals was as effective at protecting the heart as scoring all six. You don't have to be perfect, just determined (on that note, consider these 17 shortcuts to perfect health). Do it and you'll be able to visit MensHealth.com and profit from more great tips for a very long time. For you tech geeks, apparently you can now get a prompt from your digits. It's now all about staying in touch with MEN'S HEALTH ON YOUR IPHONE For all-new on-the-go training guides, download the latest version of our iPhone App. It's like having your own personal trainer 24/7-for just $1.99 I don't have an I-phone and not sure how this gadget works but buyer beware, especially if you already have a gym membership that you are not using. Until next outing...be safe, be good or at least good at it!

Friday, August 28, 2009

On point Round Up

Throughout this week, I've kept this forum teeming with news from Village Voices from near and far. It's so important to me that I keep promoting the fact that this medium has been designed to interactivity, interaction and user friendly for the GLBTQ community and beyond. Since Central City has no actual hard copy media outlet, COP:24/7 has by acclamation somewhat filled that niche. It's is our desire to continue to be a "gatekeeper" of information, updates, links, commentary, pod casting, video and sometimes just plain old stuff for our readers. Your voices are boldly encouraged and welcomed to this table. We are fortunate to live in a land where speaking our minds can be done openly and honestly.



CDC Confab in the ATL: I was glad to know that my call for "voices" was met by the team that attended the HIV/AIDS prevention conference in Atlanta last week. As I've learned Arkansas was well represented at the conference including, ADH's HIV/AIDS Section Chief Kevin Dedner and Liz Gates, JCSSI's MSM program facilitator, Freddie Williams and a delegation from Black Community Developers. However, with all these faces in the place, what struck me was the fact that I don't recall any local mainstream news coverage. Of course, COP:24/7 loves scooping the news, but somehow all this participation needs to be known by clients, end users and the public at large. Especially if their is a "perception" problem or attitude that this dilemma has a lackluster priority. In the meantime, Brotha & Sister's dynamic duo romped the convention halls and reported back to this forum. A huge High Five to these individuals who brought the info to CorneliusOnpoint first! It's unedited and is the observations of the composer.

Here's Part Two:
Tuesday was our last day of sessions, so we wanted to get the most bang for the buck. We went to the Special Listening Session Male-to-Male Sexual Transmission of HIV. Conference participants shared their views and findings with the CDC leaders. The statements here were reverberated in every conversation. THERE HAS TO BE A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO PEOPLE AS OPPOSED TO ONLY SEEING THEIR DISEASE! This is stated over and over again with those that have been working in this arena for a while. How can we honestly encourage people to take care of themselves if the only reason we pay attention to them is because of a communicable disease. What about the fact that they need shelter and food? What about the fact that they aren’t educated because they were teased too much in school? Why is it that we can’t see this whole person as opposed to this virus? Okay, I will stop my tirade for now.
My next session was clearly to support our present grant. The title was, “How Many MSM Are There and What are the Determinants of MSM Transmission.” Our present grant proposes that we can give a better estimate of how many LGBTQ/SGL people there are in Arkansas. For many years the estimate of the number of LGBT/SGL people in communities was based on 1% of the population. Then it became 3 percent. The methodology Brothas & Sistas recently used indicates Arkansas has at least 9% of the population being Same Gender Loving. I personally believe that this too is a gross underestimation but as of now, this is what the numbers state. If there is anyone out there that has done some research in this area please let me know or if it sounds like something you would like to work on, give us a call.

“MSM Subgroups” was about those that are 40 years and older, their internet use along with drug use. This was my second time hearing about the Viagra + Ecstasy combination. It was very graphic in nature and explained how the older gentlemen would attract the younger ones because of the younger’s physiological needs (i.e. food, clothing and shelter). The unknowing younger man meets the older one on line and is promised a need filled. “Chicken Hunting” and “Fishing” are the terms for this behavior. What’s really interesting is this can and does take place more than one time per night per hunter. As if my mouth wasn’t hanging open at this point, then we go into Leather /Sadomasochism/Bondage world. Okay, this is when I realized how far away from home I was. Surely, Arkansas didn’t have such a community. Of course this was listed as a subgroup that had very high risk behaviors but because of the demographics of the group, they are more likely to practice safer. This is only true if there is restraint in the levels of sadomasochism. And from what I understand, on a global basis, there is no bottom to the levels.
I was on my way to one of the Cross-Cutting Theme Sessions entitled, “From the Inside Out: Personal Experiences of Stigma and Discrimination-Disclosure, Coping and Self-Esteem.” I only caught the last part of this because by this time the networking had intensified, people were being recognized and I ran into Dazon Diallo of “Sister Love” (http://www.sisterlove.org/)in Atlanta, whom I had met many years ago when she was first starting her prevention for women program. She informed me that her program was set to become a DEBI (Diffusion of Effective Behavioral Intervention) and that she would be presenting at the next conference. Dazon has replicated her program worldwide so I asked her to come to Arkansas and provide us with a training session. I then ran into Lewis who had taught a capacity building workshop in Pine Bluff a few months ago. He stated he was scheduled to return soon. I see Sandra Mitchell, Deborah Bell and about three more people from BCD, Kevin Dedner and Liz Gates from the Arkansas Health Department, and Patricia Minor from the Arkansas Minority Health Commission. We all promise to get together before it’s time to leave. This was HIV Mecca!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Voices Carry: HIV/ AIDS Synergy in Motion

Earlier this week I posted concerning delegates from Brotha's & Sista's whom were apart of the CDC's Innovation and Action to End the Epidemic conference in Atlanta, Aug. 23-26. As one who ventures from our fair city to such events, I was thrilled to know that more individuals are getting the opportunity to attend these fountainheads of information, updates, innovative presentations and breakouts in dealing with HIV/ AIDS. As attendees winged their way back to Central City, COP:24/7 was provided with some "ground zero" highlights and observations from Dedri L. Kudos to DL and Kendra for stepping out and bringing back some of the synergy they felt in the ATL. This conference fast track is being presented unedited and represents the opinions of it's composer. Always remember that this forum is an interactive excercise open to the LGBTQ community and beyond. If you've got something to share, an experience or a teachable moment, the floor's all yours...

The 2009 National HIV Prevention Conference was far more than I expected. For those that do not know, this is held annually by the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta and thousands of people from around the world come to learn and present their findings. I say this from a point of validation in Brothas & Sistas efforts. Let me not be misunderstood that the amount of new information was nothing less than overwhelming. The opening session was very emotional along with informing. The editor of POZ magazine, Regan Hoffman, told how being a white heterosexual woman living with HIV initially indicated to her friends that she must be a “whore”. Her statement that,”… it only takes one time, with one person…,” compelled me to relate HIV with pregnancy. This was a great lead into the initiative to normalize the disease. I found Magic’s plea to the churches routine but what he said about his own personal involvement was more on point. Magic stated that his healthy looking face connected with HIV made many think that it was okay to get it which of course was the wrong message. I could go on about the opening day but we must get to the new stuff.
The Monday morning 7 a.m. session of interest was “Preparing for the Advent of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).” I was caught completely off guard by this one. A pill has been developed that if taken eliminates your body from being able to accept the HIV virus. THIS IS NOT A VACINE!!!!! It only works for a limited time. The concern was how to make sure it is available to everyone. There will be new policies put in place for access at the institutional and community based level. We hope to be on the forefront of this in Arkansas. I will talk more on that as I learn more.
I would like to interject here the need for researchers here in Little Rock, Arkansas. I will never speak on things that I have no knowledge. I know that my knowledge in this field is limited to my academic level and well…. In statistics….I could have done better. But I do know that there has to be someone out there that does understand preparing for, implementing and presenting research and our plea is that they come on board.
At this point, Kendra and I split up and she goes to “Prevention Needs of Transgender Women” and I go to, “Latebreaker 1 – Interventions for Young MSMs”. My session addressed the age and behaviors of young MSM and semi-addressed the intergenerational gap that many times leaves those unable to attend clubs and other age based settings out of the loop. Also presented was a prevention trial for HIV positive MSMs Online. Let me mention here that every single solitary session I went to, had a “new media/internet” portion or reference. So here is our plea for a webmaster.
Monday’s 1:30- 3:00 pm session for me was “Reaching People Through Social Venues.” This had a presentation about putting HIV educational messages on the screen at your local theatres as opposed to the talking box of popcorn and singing soft drink. This method becomes age and demographically relevant because most movies are made with a general idea of whom is coming to see them. This can take a line item in a budget or a theatre owner who understands the need. At this point our request is for those with such connections (as in funding sources and people who own theatres) to volunteer your efforts in ascertaining these items. There was also a gentleman from Alaska, who stated up front that he had no dealings with Sarah Palin that launched an internet outreach because of the size of Alaska and the distance between populations of MSMs. Let’s not forget the fact that he only has six months to cover the area.
During this same time, Kendra attended, “HIV Prevention in Young Diverse MSMs.” I was a bit jealous because they talked about “The Ball Scene” and how this particular subculture is using their efforts and events to make an impact on HIV transmission. I love the Ball Scene and really wish that more people here were into it.. The Tea Party Boys and Little Rock Black Pride are presently discussing having one in October. My request here is to come see the movie, “Paris Is Burning”, on 9/11/09, discuss it, put your HOUSES together and support the Ball!
The 3:30 – 5pm session for me was, “HIV Prevention.Com.” Just more and more examples of how the internet is being used to help the community in several different ways. There is even something similar to Second Life available but with gay folk. There are online awareness games. There is my second plea for a webmaster. Kendra went to, “What a Tangled Web We Weave: Sexual Networks and HIV Transmission.” This dealt with my personally coined phrase “overlapping socio-sexual networks.” We always think of the “down low” people but what about the women that love gay men in a way that they shouldn’t since he has informed her that he is gay? What about sex clubs? (No I didn’t know it existed until one opened in Tulsa while I was there.) To be continued.....

Again, thanks to DL for this portion of her observations and I look forward to more updates from the shopping bag of literature and handouts that everyone gathers while doing a convention. Stay locked and loaded to this forum for those updates. In the meantime, if you've got webmaster skills or tech skills connect to B & S, they need your assistance TODAY!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mid Week Break Out

For many, the only reference of the House/Ball community comes from the movie, “Paris Is Burning;” which showed a world chiefly occupied by a melee of artistically talented misfits and criminals. This film will screen September 11 in Little Rock as apart of the Brotha's & Sista's Building Community film series at the Women's Project 2224 Main Street. Afterwards a discussion and open forum will take place. This article offers a closer look at that system and it's new focus. Since the movies release, members of the “House/Ball” sub-culture have often been viewed as outcasts of the larger lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and are even stigmatized among Black and Latino LGBTs. But there have been some changes to the world captured in Jenny Livingston’s revealing film. Chief among those changes is the efforts made by The House of Manolo Blahnik. This house chose to make a difference in the lives of others by awarding the “FIRST EVER” scholarship to students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities, both of whom are members of Houses.
The House of Manolo Blahnik, like those featured in Paris is Burning, values all of the social contributions made by this marginalized population; but, The House of Manolo Blahnik is also a real non-profit organization under the fiscal management of the New York State Black Gay Network. The House of Manolo Blahnik established its’ Tony Milan Scholarship Fund in 2006, to support the educational and “ballroom” success of LGBT members of the House/Ball community. The Tony Milan Scholarship Fund encourages LGBT community members to aspire to positions in which they are able to contribute to society, are open about their sexual orientation and act as role models for their peers in the Ballroom scene. This year’s inaugural recipient of the Tony Milan Scholarship is Ajmar Millar known by his House/Ball friends as “Ajay Balenciaga”. Similar to Tony Milan, after whom the scholarship is named, Ajay is pursuing his undergraduate education at Morehouse College, in Atlanta (GA) where he is a graduating senior and is an active member of Atlanta’s Ballroom community. “Ajay truly exemplifies our community’s new leaders,” states Damon Humes (co-founder, House Father and Executive Director of the House of Manolo Blahnik).
In addition to the Tony Milan Scholar, the House of MB chose to grant a second award to Jimmy Vincent, known by his House/Ball friends as Boi Boi St. Clair to help with books and supplies. Boi Boi St. Clair is a student at North Carolina Central University. “Both young men were chosen based on their academic performance, their ballroom community participation and their positive contributions to our community. They most certainly represent the legacy of Tony Milan and the Undeniable House of Manolo Blahnik. Please join me in congratulating both of these amazing men for their hard work and achievement!” exalts Humes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Swing Out Tuesday

Involvement Opportunity: Stonewall Democrats will hold our monthly meeting Thursday, August 27th at 6:00 pm at DPA HQ. Kyle Simon will be our guest speaker. Kyle currently serves as Arkansas State Director for Organizing for America, a project of the Democratic National Committee. OFA's mission is to organize grassroots support for President Obama's policy agenda and build a sustainable grassroots network in all 50 states. Prior to joining OFA, Kyle worked on the Florida Attorney General's race, and before that served as Arkansas Field Director for President Obama's campaign and has worked on two gubernatorial campaigns in Florida and Delaware.

Faces of HIV/AIDS: Members from Central City's Brotha's and Sistas are in attendance of the CDC's 2009 HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta in an effort to retrieve the latest updates and information on this health crisis. While at the convention the attendees will be able to hear from former National Basketball Association player Earvin "Magic" Johnson whom gave Sunday's opening address of the convention according to the Southern Voice blog "The Latest" reports. He "spoke frankly about being HIV positive for nearly 20 years," and discussed the impact black religious leaders have on addressing HIV/AIDS in the black community, according to the blog. Johnson said, "We now have a major problem in urban America, in inner cities -- the face of AIDS has changed from a gay white man's disease to a black and [Hispanic] disease. And if we don't get the black church involved, there is no way we can bring these numbers (of new HIV cases) down." The Magic Johnson Foundation "is working to partner with black churches ... because African-Americans are disproportionately impacted by the disease," according to the blog. Johnson said, "We all have to get black churches involved. If we do, we will see change quickly. One constant in the black community is the church" Locally, the dilemma of getting churches and clergy involved has been marginal to none despite statistics that cite the increase of the disease in the African American community overall. As a positive statement, wouldn't it be an interesting premise if a group of local Ministers stepped up to be tested and speak openly about this issue. I wonder if this were proposed, just how many would be ready to do so. More than 3,000 public health, medical and AIDS community leaders are in Atlanta through Aug. 26 for the National HIV Prevention Conference. I salute those B &S members who took the challenge to access and network within this conference. It's vitally important that our local organizations connect to these types of venues where innovative and progressive mindsets are providing valuable resources.

BARWATCH: I finally went to the source about what's really going on with the launch of PULSE nightclub. Norman Jones himself offered myself a pre walk through of his latest venture and openly spoke about it's development. " It's been a work in progress, but after some delays PULSE will offically open to the public on September 2." The night spot adjacent to OffCenter will feature a stylized foyer lounge with cushy seating, distinctive bar, and both staging and dance area. " We will be open on Sunday's with a Beer Bust and the club will have spotlight shows in conjunction to shows featuring Whitney Paige and Breanna Braxton. I think it will be good mix including the 18 to 21 crowd." Even though the new site is not a cavernous as the Backstreet Complex, I believe that it's chic boutique feel will adequately fullfill another niche in the 7th Street corridor mash up. Especially those of us who miss dancing which I use to do much of in the past. It's a great means to getting the weight off and moving those muscles that haven't been in motion for some time. There will be a invitiation only "soft opening" 9.1.09 and this forum has made the guest list. Stay tuned... Meanwhile, there's still speculation swirling about the impending or whatever about Club SWAY from the Marcus empire which is making it's way through the ABC maze. As yet, there's been no formal anything that I can determine and I've found no access to Mr. M himself for comment. The site is proposed for 301 Center, a former print shop that in my estimate will take a serious tear out and revamp to make it viable. As I stated before, Mr. M will have to "bring it" to really compete for the minds, ears, and pockets of the community. And finally, Speakeasy Supper Club & Piano Bar is in the home stretch toward completion despite some setbacks and delays. The proprietors are enthusiastic and expressing a "go for it" attitude as they prepare for their opening in mid September. According an in house flier, "there will only be a cover charged very occasionally on Saturday nights for out town acts..." Also the flier states that their will be a SpeakEasy Revue, Jazz & Acoustic Nights and future Sunday classical/ Jazz brunch. I've seen the menu, the venue and met some personnel and I'm waiting with great anticipation for the grand unveiling. It should be interesting to say the least.

More Voices Carrying: Monday, Monday



Fall Fling: According to an e-blast from CAR, they are interested in collaborating in presenting another community based event that brings ALL of us together to deepen our relationships and move forward the dialog about Equality. The date would be for October the 10th. We're thinking Allsop Park again, there's folks that still want to play ball since the heat will be less, but we are open to location ideas. We have had some difficulty around setting a meeting time due to folks schedules, but time is of the essence. We'd like to set a firm meeting date for September 8th at 6:30pm at the CAR offices, 800 Scott St., inside the First Presbyterian Church.
The following list of invitees represent area organizations or entities such as, Brothas and Sistahs Stonewall Democrats, CorneliusOnPoint, The Alliance GSA at UALR, Fusion GSA at Pulaski Tech, Little Rock Black Pride, PFlag of Little Rock, and Little Rock Capitol Pride
If there's another group or individual who should be on this planning team, please extend the invitation. Organizers are appealing to all groups to RSVP to this invitation. If you can't come, please send someone to represent your organization, group. We want this to be a true collaboration. You've heard the call, so it's all about the response.

FACEBOOK Me & U: I didn't realize how many of you are down with the social networking portal Facebook. I've just been amazed at the friend request, wall scribling and postings that have come my way. Of course, our presence on that platform is in an effort to continue broadening our audience and connection with the GLBTQ community. Thanks so much for your outreach and hopfully as I learn more on how to use this exploding medium, we can touch you, you and gosh dern it you too!!

Royalty Giddy UP: Diamond State Rodeo Association is accepting applications for the upcoming Royalty Competition now slated for October 24, 2009. The following Positions Mr DSRA (Male competing as a Male) Ms DSRA (Female competing as a Female) Miss DSRA (Male competing as a Female) MsTer DSRA (Female competing as a Male ) These positions are the Royalty for Diamond State Rodeo Positions for a two year period. You can and urged to follow the rules to compete at IGRA level at a future time frame,,,a prestigous position at US level. The application will be sent to all those interested with a deadline to enter of 26 Septembe r 2009. The "cheat sheets" for the interview will be sent as well. There are four categories in this Competition:Interview (DSRA "cheat sheets" as well as other knowledge) Western Wear (An close look at you in authentic Western Wear and bearing) An On Stage Question( to see how you present yourself)
Talent (self explanatory) For further info and/or application contact Sandy Bidwell at bsandyj69@aol.com Rodney Brown (Pres) at LittleRockRodney@sbcglobal.net or any Board Member and don’t forget to visit our website at http://www.dsra.org/ (info available shortly) You can call me for more info at either 501-888-9311 or 413-2008

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Talking Out Loud Thursday 2.0



You were saying?: This forum has always been about taking a stance, speaking to power and getting off your duff to be proactive. Let's face it people, we have no time for excuses. In the past few weeks, I've been sought after for local Board of Directors post, volunteer for this or that, donations, can you attend this function or why didn't you attend that function, not to mention will you consider participating in Cause A-Go-Go. Oh boy, I began to wonder if I was somewhat popular, seen as an expert, easy to work with or in some unsuspecting way being tapped because of the lack of committed individuals needed to full fill these seats. It's all the above and more. The driving force behind community organizing is not only funding streams but most importantly, it's viola, PEOPLE. Yes my dear readers, it takes you, me, them, us and the entire community to answer the call of activism. There's no, "I thought some one else was taking care of it," mindset to waste on current issues ranging from health care to human rights issues. Even if you don't think you can make a difference, you should shortchange yourself on your impact. I appreciate all the local entities that seek my advice or desire my assistance, but I'm asking that this outreach goes beyond myself. I'm encouraging all who read this forum and beyond to find within yourselves some type of committed contribution. Got no idea? Here's a few: You could show some pride with a donation via the ChipIn icon on this site, join the HRC No Excuses campaign, send this forum a letter of support, offer your technical assistance to Brotha's & Sista's, join the ADH Consumer Advocacy Board or look into the newly established PFLAG group. By golly, do something, anything and do it right away to make your voice known. Do It TODAY!

HIV/ AIDS Arkansas:
Lessons Still Being Learned

"Even as we've made some progress, dollars expended and staff changes, there are vital areas in this fight that we must now face..." Kevin Dedner, HIV/AIDS Section Chief, Arkansas Health Department

It was this broad statement that set the tone for the remainder of my conversation with ADH's Kevin Dedner, HIV/AIDS section chief. At this moment, I realized that our meeting would have that "keep it real" feel that I often muse about in this forum. Often, we have a tendency to believe that all is well, folks are getting access, treatment is abundant, messages are being adhered too, but the practicality of outcomes is not as rosy as one would think. Dedner, was quite frank at his disappointment at the lack of a working infrastructure in the LGBTQ community. "I've seen other metro areas that have serious organizations working in numerous ways. Either from lobbying their legislature to calling their Representatives. Unfortunately, at this time I have not seen this type of local effort. It's truly necessary as this would assist our efforts as we do future assessment." I have to agree with Dedner. This type of formal structure has been long overdue and despite past capacity building, nothing has become firmly rooted to reach any maximum affect. As we continued to speak, I also learned that Congress has implemented punitive clauses on those states that unable to adequate dispense it funding allocation based on those pesky federal regulations. Thusly, Arkansas will face a possible funding reduction/ short fall come the next cycle from 7.9 Million to 7.4 Million. Furthermore, it appears that as this short fall comes into play, also a severe review of the ADAP program will take place within the next few months. "We have no plans on removing and actual AIDS medicines from the formulary, but there are other drugs that will possibly be removed." Consequently, the program per Mr. Dedner, will also undergo some changes that will result in the aggressive use of PAP's (Pharmacy Assistance Programs) as well as no new client additions. "We are readily prepping for these possible changes, with all consumers being informed prior to implementation and supported thereafter," said Dedner. At this point I shared with Kevin that I hoped that however the methods are implemented that the ADH would be sensitive and forward thinking as it proceeds to these cost containment measures. He assured me that ADH wouldn't interrupt regimens or disrupt treatment schedules. He concluded, "it's vitally important that not only end users express themselves to us, but also that we find as many possible outlets to assure greater outcomes." I couldn't agree more.

Have you shown some pride with your ChipIn donation Well, have you?

Do it TODAY and start the ball rolling for PRIDE 2010!!!!



Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mid Week Swing Out

Here we go again, more news, updates, commentary, links, and just plain old stuff for the LGBTQ community and beyond. It's another Wednesday outing from COP:24/7 putting it all out their for your reading pleasure. While wait, dive in...




Help Wanted: Need Employment? The MANY MEN, MANY VOICES PROJECT has a part-time opening for an Advocate/Gatekeeper at the Little Rock Office. All positions require a minimum of a high school diploma. Familiar with community events and a strong relationship with diverse populations. Experience in group facilitation, cultural, and social norms is a plus. Call (501) 663-7166 ext. 113 to obtain an application or mail resume to ATTN: HMScribner, 2020 West 3rd, Suite 213, Little Rock, AR 72204. Submit no later than August 31, 2009. EOE, Drug-Free Workplace and Criminal Background check required. As I've mentioned in my AIDS reporting, I cited that locally this health dilemma has been impacted due to the lack of African American SGL entities in the struggle to forward prevention messages and treatment options. It's extremely important that positions such as this be filled with a committed individual who is willing to accept the challenge of facilitating this effort. Is that person you?

Rodeo Royalty: Diamond State Rodeo Association is accepting applications for the upcoming Royalty Competition for the following Positions Mr DSRA (Male competing as a Male)Ms DSRA (Female competing as a Female)Miss DSRA (Male competing as a Female)MsTer DSRA (Female competing as a Male) These positions are the Royalty for Diamond State Rodeo Positions for a two year period. You can and urged to follow the rules to compete at IGRA level at a future time frame, a prestigious position at US level. The application will be sent to all those interested with a deadline to enter of 15 August 2009. The "cheat sheets" for the interview will be sent as well. There are three categories in this Competition:Interview (DSRA "cheat sheets" as well as other knowledge) Western Wear (An close look at you in authentic Western Wear and bearing) Talent (self explanatory) For further info and/or application contact Sandy Bidwell at bsandyj69@aol.com, Rodney Brown (President) at LittleRockRodney@sbcglobal.net or any Board Member and dont forget to visit our website at http://www.dsra.org/


Step Up and Speak to Power!: Arkansas is a key state in the fight for ENDA! There are three votes in play here. Please call them today to ask for their support. Facts and contact info after the jump.Senator Mark Pryor, a Democrat, though fairly conservative on many issues, voted for the hate crimes bill. Please call him at 501-324-6336 to support S 1584.Senator Blanche Lincoln, also a Democrat, has cosponsored a previous bill with sexual orientation and gender identity, and voted for the hate crimes bill. Please call her at 501-375-2993 to support S 1584.Representative Vic Snyder, also a Democrat, voted yes on the hate crimes bill and on ENDA in 2007. According to Wikipedia, while in the Arkansas legislature, Snyder stepped into one of his earliest legislative controversies when he attempted to repeal the state's aged "Sodomy Laws". Ultimately, however, his efforts failed, and the sodomy laws stayed in effect until the state Supreme Court struck it down in Jegley v. Picado in March 2001. Please call him at 501-324-5941 to support HR 3017.The other three Arkansas Representatives, Marion Berry, John Boozman, and Mike Ross, all voted against ENDA in 2007.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday's Panorama

Away we go, as we seamlessly slip through 2009's 3rd Quarter, slowly descending into an either August dog days or an Indian Summer, depending on the weather. As usual this forum continues without delay in delivering substance admist the raging noise that's litterally filling the airways. Here at COP:24/7 it's all about keeping it real and sourcing "just the facts mam..." With that said, let's lift the veil shall we...



The Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday began "offering routine HIV tests to veterans who receive medical care," the Associated Press/Washington Post reports. The new policy follows CDC's recommendations for voluntary, routine HIV testing and no longer requires veterans to sign a consent form, the article states, adding that "veterans must verbally consent to the test. They can also decline it." According to the news service, "The CDC says all patients should be offered HIV testing even if they are not considered at risk. The hope is that by dropping the written consent, more veterans will get tested and get medical treatment earlier" (Hefling, 8/17).


HIV/ AIDS in Arkansas: Lessons Still Being Learned
This forum has been a long term outlet which has disseminated news, links, updates and open sources for information concerning HIV/AIDS. We've echoed the concerns of consumers as well as chided officials for perceptions that have cause us paused, ranging from miscommunication to perceived insensitivity's. Even as the national health care rhetoric soars to a fever pitch, locally within this broad issue lies forthcoming dilemmas that will have to be addressed in Arkansas' HIV/AIDS community. To begin exploring those scenarios COP:24/7 was afforded a meeting with Kevin Dedner, ADH Section Chief (HIV/AIDS) which shared some revealing statistics and consequences that face his department and end users. Our two hour conversation covered much ground that was supported with stark facts, observations and bold realities. I found myself broadsided by much of our conversation due to the fact that I had to admit that unfortunate stance which I often rail against, namely "abdication." I came to realization that "I thought that some one else was dealing with the crisis, with the LGBTQ's best interest at hand." How wrong was I. Mr. Dedner firmly asserted, 48 percent of Arkansas' new HIV/AIDS cases are African American MSM's ( men having sex with men.) Despite the fact that African Americans only make up 13 percent of this states entire population. Add to that fact that many of those, and possibly future cases perhaps don't know their status, are not being reached by prevention messages, have access to affordable health care nor early treatment options. Dedner also accentuated that factoid with the news that "co-infections," such as syphilis have also spiked across the state which have become apart of the health mix. Even as this toxic combination was taking place, it was alarming that there was no actual minority driven SGL organization in place to coalesce, furthermore a lackluster approach of direct action to address the problem. I was encouraged as he cited recent testing efforts during last months Black Gay Pride, joint endeavors with JCSSI and establishing future partnerships with Brotha & Sista's. I asked Dedner about ongoing negative perceptions as well as underlying mistrust of AHD. To which he acknowledged unfortunate management problems causing dissent, confusion and oversights. He reported that many of those involved have either departed or been replaced with new team members. Furthermore he shared his excitement about this new dynamic and the direction they are now pursuing. " On many days, I've held my head in my hands as I've read through much of the Ryan White Act itself. It's a complex set of regulations and provisions that takes time to completely understand." Dedner stated. I concurred with Dedner, as I also looked at some of the language which can be quite verbose and steeped in "congressspeak." I found myself asking, "exactly what does this mean or did it say?" Dedner continued," even though approximately 1.2 Million dollars has been spent in dental cost and other assistance, we are now facing a $600,000 reduction in congressional funding." I believe that this flat lining will most likely have repercussion, as I discovered during our conversation that ADH will have to face some hard decision concerning policies, procedures, guidelines and programs such as ADAP and HOWPA. This is where the conversation took a serious turn...that side of the story will drop in Thursday's edition. I should suggest that you keep it locked in and tell some friends. You don't want to miss it!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fresh out of the Shoot

It's another Monday and I'm in the Big Chair with news fresh out of the shoot. I checked all my sources, fielded questions and emptied the e-box in search of the latest updates, breaking news, links, video and anything that could make the cut. As usual it's fast and furious, ranging from the critical to the comical. Trust me, it's all right here at COP:24/7 and you simply must stay locked in to really know what's going on in Central city and beyond. Without delay, let's get cracking!
Crowns-R-Us: It's over and the winner is...Christina Saxton, Miss Gay Arkansas, 2009 with Zia D'Yor as 1st Alternate. O.K. I missed it in the prediction category but, the pageant Gods have spoken and it is what it is. Saxton has competed in numerous pageants across the state as well as promoter of other local titles. I competed against Christina 8 years ago ( was it that long?) and have seen him excel in talent and overall packaging since then. It's no secret that Saxton spares no expense to get that max affect in his crown pursuits. 1st Alternate Zia D Yor, has quickly emerged as a force to be reckon with on the circuit and has participated in various benefit shows including supporting the DSRA's rodeo. Congratulations to each as they continue on to the Miss Gay America contest in the STL ( St.Louis) October 28- November 1, 2009.
Bar Watch Update: At this posting, delays, miscues, mishaps and other mayhem seem to be the order of the day for the local venues trying to get the doors open. OffCenter's, PULSE, although in a fierce race to get things done, apparently has had a problem with getting it's lighting system delivered. I mentioned this about a month ago and I'm still hearing that these "lights" have not arrived or created or what have you. Also, getting those pesky craftsmen to get in high gear has been cited as issues in getting the venue off the ground. I'm plugged into to the Myspace site and will update as soon or later as I get the info. Meanwhile, I checked in on the Speakeasy crew, who also is full tilt with their efforts. Admist the dust and construction, the theme restaurant is slowly coming together including the addition of Chef Landry with an ambitous menu. The management has stated that they were planning to be open by the target date, 8.21.09, however in my honest estimate I can't forsee that actually taking place. Yet, if you've got tenacity to do it, then by all means do it. I certainly appreciate people on a mission. As for the purported club, SWAY, it's mums the words and no one seems to have any information on what's up with the urban theme club envisioned by Mr. Marcus. He's not talking, at least not to us and from what this forum can tell, not to anyone else. And so it goes...

PFLAG in the House: A Community Mixer to Celebrate the Launch of P-Flag of Central Arkansas will take place, September 18, 2009 6:30pm at 800 Scott St. inside First Presbyterian Church. According to an announcement from CAR, " In the course of CAR’s work with youth and young adults through our DYSC program we have encountered numerous families who are struggling with their child’s sexual orientation or gender identity. In order to facilitate access to resources for these families and other families as they emerge we’ve facilitated the beginning of a new P-Flag chapter that will initially be housed with CAR in order to provide infrastructure and resources to ensure its growth and longevity. Questions of sexual orientation and gender identity are not limited to any one race, ethnic or cultural group. In order to help present a realistic picture of the families living in Arkansas with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, same gender loving and questioning family members or friends, the founding members of this chapter are African-American, white and Latino. If you are interested in helping with the P-Flag chapter or attending meetings please contact us at 501-244-9690 or mailto:%20artchangesu2@sbcglobal.net

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Bounce

Usually I like to lighten up on Friday's, because I believe that four days of heavy lifting needs to be tempered with some relief. Therefore, if there's not pressing matters that warrant, and of course there's always something that breaking out or popping up, but as we bow out the week, it's important to take a diversion. So let's divert our attention to some pop culture shall we? O.K., let's go...

Crowns-R-Us: This weekend is what the circuit pageant girls have been waiting for, the crowning of the next Miss Gay Arkansas. It's all going down at DiscoBack complex this weekend (8.14-16.09) featuring the reigning MGAA, Stephanie Richards and MGA, Victoria Depaula. A picture would be nice of MGA, but I didn't have time to get permission to use one. So you'll have to go their website to take a peek at the current titleholder, if you don't make the event. At post time I couldn't determine how many contestants(sometimes guys drop out or drop in? The year I was to participate I was dropped out before I could drop in.) but I do know that the field will be cut by finals to at least the top 6. The evenings will be filled with a roll out of formers, special guest and pageant banter for spectators. I'm not sure if I'll be making the trek this year, but be prepared for a night of gowns, glitz and glory. In the meantime, here's my prediction for the winner, It'll be Zia D'Yor by a bugle bead! 1st Alternate, Diedre Windsor Walker. If the she brings the package, I'm betting that Diamond Rose will make the the finals. Alright,I've put it out their, so let the games begin!! Good Luck you guys!! Don't forget that everyone is winner for the experience.



OH Whitney: Yes after much drama and much soul searching it appears that Ms. Houston is ready for her close up. She's returning to the spotlight with her latest CD, I Look to You (Arista) featuring that title song and I've been running her I didn't Know My Own Strength in our Jukebox. At first listen, I wasn't sure about it, but as I allowed it settle in, I look forward to tuning in to hear it. I can find myself in the words and meaning. Sometimes, I don't know my own strength. Whitney looks serene and goddess like on the cover. Like any battle tested women, she's exuding an inner power, confidence and damn it all defiance that the lyrics state, "I stumbled, but I didn't crumble." Now that's saying a lot when the chips are down. Get up, dust yourself off and come on back because your not done yet. Here's a Way Up High Five to Whitney for taking it on the chin and come back swinging. The CD is dropping in the next 45 days and pre orders are now being taken at I-Tunes or your favorite outlet. You can find more on YouTube. Also, WH will start the grand comeback with a live concert, 9.02.09 on ABC's Good Morning America.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More Voices Carrying: The Thursday Edition

All our lives are accented with events, issues, crossroads and music that become the soundtracks that accompany us until we all exit stage left. Just as many of you have your songs that have marked certain milestones in your lives, often I too reminiscence with catchy tunes or either somber tunes that are mile markers along the way. Amiee Mann lead singer of the former group Till Tuesday did a haunting song entitled Voices Carry that has always been an all time favorite of my own and to this day when I hear it, each time it conjures up all types of emotions. Mann's interpretation concerned control issues in her ill fated relationship, however, my embrace of the song is more broad as over time I've come to realize that so many voices from my past are still "carrying" messages to this day and hopefully my own voice will carry messages of hope, empowerment, clarity for many of you. It's important in our daily existence to know that we all must be conscience of the voices that we listen to, the weight of the information being shared as well as it's impact. We can't forget that even with the maddening noise that surround us, somewhere there may be a small voice that's carrying a important message.




Health Firestorm: One by land , Two by sea or something that to affect, the government is coming for your health care! Well, not really, but if you've been tuned into the public meltdown that going on around the issue of health care in America, you would think that the damn sky was falling. I've just been floored, outdone, dumbfounded and downright vaclemped at the stormy reaction that this issue has received not to mention the venom that spewing from practically everywhere and anywhere. Even though there's no actual workable Bill that has been developed, I've been fascinated at the legions of folk who have clouded the entire matter with misinformation, inflamed rhetoric, passionate patriotism, partisan politics and toilet talk to boot. I was particularly broadsided with the "unplugging grandma" death panel mash us from one Sarah Palin, in regards to a counseling measure in one version of a possible bill. Then, there's the questions of rationing health care and doctor selection. Meanwhile, as this slug fest tarry's on, there are some basic realities. There are least(depending on who's counting) 46 Million uninsured Americans. The system is rife with pricey insurance premiums, pre-existing exclusions, complex and varying guidelines, No new patient barriers, and emergency rooms on overload. Paging America! dialogue, debate, deliberate, discuss, but this critical condition needs some decisive attention. The continuing unloading of side issues tinted with dogma raging from "socialized medicine" to government take over must not derail moving toward a reasonable outcome. On a personal note, I've been navigating the medical maze for many years especially in the last six years. What I've witnessed and experience can be be found within all the arguments that are being made on this issue. First up, when I changed employers, I found my self with no coverage. I made many attempts to get coverage, but when my arthritic condition was noted, I was denied by numerous companies. Arkansas's spin down program was seen as a solution but I hadn't amassed enough "unpaid" medical expenses to qualify because I had no physician who was going to make a move without some sound financial base. Sam's Club Golden Rule Insurance decided that they would insure me, however with the caveat that my pre-existing condition would be exempt from any coverage. Did that make any sense to pay for insurance for future problems but not the one I was dealing with at that time? I sought high risk pools to no avail, considered state supported entities such as UAMS where I was told I'd be on a "waiting list" then finally was in line to be seen, subsequently was informed that due my age the ortho physician perhaps would not consider me as a candidate for the hip replacement, ultimately as I patiently waited, the physician died while I waited. During this time I worked until I physically could no longer. Thus, I sought the disability route which was a demanding and brow beating exercise that was a immense tug of war that assaulted me on all senses. Especially when I was told a by an Social Security adjudicator that may I should consider getting a "job where I did have to walk." Or another phone voice that informed me that all my files had been lost and would have to be resubmitted. Through It all most of my emotions were tested as well as my endurance capacity, yet I never gave in, never gave up and never wavered that I would survive. Just imagine all this winding road even before a scheduled surgery date or hospital stay which is a story unto itself. With any good tale, I have to end with the fact that my surgeon, Dr. Gordon Newbern was extraordinary as he kept my confidence level high and assured me that despite the difficulties the outcomes would be worth it. I must say, it was worth it because it was life changing. Also I must recognize the staff of SVI in concert with all my medical team Shepperd me through the surgery plus physical therapy with great care. On a final note, many of you have brought it to my attention that you've seen my panel participation on the SVI Jumbo Tron and was impressed with my testimonial. Thanks for checking that out. You just never know where COP:24/7 will turn up next. Until next outing...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Voices Carry: A 360 Review

I'm always proud when many of you share your views with me personally or via our comment icon. It's very important to myself that a myriad of opinions, observations, rebuttals and commentary be a vital component of this online portal. I firmly believe that "sounding off" about current topics, issues, dilemmas and destinations can be positive veins of dialogue which could propel individuals toward action. I'm openly soliciting your viewpoints or by whatever means you may be able to convey your sentiments. COP:24/7 realizes that it can hot in the kitchen but strongly encourages all views to be considered of our audience with civility. Get those thoughts to working and let's start the Talk- Talk...we love hearing from you!

This outing this forum is highlight a interesting commentary from Randi Romo, Executive Director of the Center for Artistic Revolution, concerning the impending 2009 March on Washington. While I was in attendance of the NABWMNT convention in Philadelphia, this topic received a thorough hashing from delegates especially since a donation was being sought from the organization. I've read numerous accounts and much of the banter about this effort, meanwhile coming to the conclusion that I'm not totally secure that such a march will be fruitful or exactly what message will be extracted. Furthermore, I've seen postings citing some interest in doing a local version of the march. I'm not oppose to anyone whom wants to march, but I believe that a greater impact would be if those possible marchers would "march" themselves into the local offices of our represenatives to share their views on a laundry list of items, such as health care reform, HIV/AIDS funding, etc. Also, as established in Ms. Romo's item, perhaps individuals should consider using their expendable dollars toward those local groups with "boots on the ground," as this would be more useful with an X- factor across the board. As an example this forum has provided an online icon seeking your contributions toward Pride Picnic 2010 and will continue to urge each of you to demonstrate with your dollars. This commentary is published unedited and is the sole opinion of it's composer:


Commentary Special:
To March or Not march on Washington

There are disagreements across the country regarding the lack of inclusive planning for this march and questioning the march’s potential to have a real impact. Questions have been raised asking why if there has to be a march, why not one when Congress is in session and visits can be made with members of Congress? There are also questions about this effort’s impact - pro or negative on the current pending legislation on ENDA and the Matthew Shepard Act. There is also a sentiment that Washington cannot make laws for equality in a vacuum. And without a doubt we must have full protection under federal law. But the fact is that the work at the state level is critically important to support the ability of lawmakers at the federal level to have the cover to enact more just laws for the LGBTQ community. There is also the reality that this march will most certainly take away from the resources of on the ground groups at the local levels. During this economic decline many LGBTQ centric organizations across the country have been forced to cut their budgets, lay off staff and some are contemplating closing their doors. Here at CAR we have seen a $35,000.00 decrease in our budget income from some of our foundation funders who have suffered financial setbacks during this downturn in the economy, at the same time the in-state giving has also continued to decline. We have had to delay the hiring of the community organizer we had budgeted for.The March’s organizers have estimated that it will cost each attendee no more than $700.00 to attend the march. Multiply that by the 100,000 they are seeking for attendance and that’s an estimated $70,000.000.00! The travel industry, hotels and food/entertainment establishments will receive this money, not the organizations on the ground doing the work. Imagine what a shot in the arm if these funds were pumped into organizations at the local level. Think about it, if 200 Arkansans go and spend an average of $700.00 each, that’s $140,000.00 that could have been invested in the work here in the state! For CAR alone that would mean 3 more full-time staff people and funds for other expenses. Better yet, it could be split up between CAR, AR NW Equality Center, Stonewall Democrats, LR Black Pride, Brothas and Sistahs Together and each group could still reap close to $30,000. What an impact that would have on our work here IN Arkansas!It’s fun to think about going to DC to be an activist! But folks, we have more than enough activist work to get done right here at home and all of us who are doing this work need the help!

Randi M. Romo

Executive Director CAR

http://www.artisticrevolution.org/

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Up Periscope Tuesday

As the periscope goes up for a look see, I've determined that it's going to full week for this forum. I've been in full tilt mode with a barnstorming schedule that has me literally "booked" for the week ranging from meetings, networking, and researching all while still keeping the home fire burning. It takes stamina and laser focus to keep it flowing on a daily while navigating the rest of life's course. But, some how, some way, or for some reason, COP:24/7 keeps coming out of the box directly from the Big Chair. It's always all here, locally and globally with the latest updates, links, video, breaking news and so much more. Let's see what's churning...



Community 101: Last evening the newly refocused, Brotha's & Sista's: Affected By/ Living With, organization hosted a community building workshop facilitated by former B & S founder Darlene Hudson from the ATL. The event gathered local entities with similar social justice interest such as the Center for Artistic Revolution, KABF, Black Community Developers and Little Rock Black Pride. The purpose of the event sought to analyze and deconstruct the question of "community" and best approaches to dealing with fractures within the community construct, distinct issues such as substance abuse, domestic violence and health outcomes. All in attendance agreed that Little Rock is in need of more coalition building and finding commonality in our pockets of community. Addtional meeting are being scheduled with times and places to be announced.




Health Care Reform in America
U.S. Congressman Vic Snyder (D - Ark.) will discuss his views on health care reform as Congress prepares for a critical vote on health care legislation this fall. Prior to joining Congress, Snyder worked as a family practice physician in Central Arkansas for more than 15 years. A former member of the U.S. Marine Corp., he has represented Arkansas’s 2nd Congressional district since 1997.
When: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. – Lunch & Lecture *Bring your own lunch. Drinks provided.
Where: Clinton School of Public Service Sturgis Hall

This forum encourages all LGBTQ individuals to get involved in this issue. It's extremely important that as citizens that our concerns, voices, stories and issues find their way to our elected officials. Don't sit this one out with the attitude that access to affordable health care is some one else's problem. It may your problem before you know it. Think about it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

HIV/AIDS 2009: Lives lost and lessons still being learned

There's a fire raging in the land as the debate over health care escalates to a crescendo and this issue directly affects the LGBTQ community unilaterally. Whether it's the "guppie," (gay upwardly preppy professional) with premium insurance coverage, both the uninsured as well as under insured and many vulnerable individuals living with HIV/AIDS. No matter how you view it, this vital issue will either affect you personally, a partner or some one you know. It's imperative that SGL citizens sit up and take notice to what proposal will be considered, how they will affect your access to health care and most of all get engaged with your Representatives to share your opinions. Even though HIV/ AIDS has been center stage, ultimately we must embrace the paradigm of "whole health care" which involves the minds, body and soul respectively.
This forum through it's mission statement has featured a variety of items on new treatments, updates and guest professional viewpoints. We will continue to offer the latest health information impacting the LGBTQ community and beyond. Don't believe the hype, stay locked and loaded to COP:24/7 as we keep it real with the just the facts. The following is a primer concerning the expenditure of prevention dollars throughout the U.S. I found this item interesting in lieu of pending announcements from the Arkansas Health Department on proposed policy and program changes related to it's Ryan White initiative. As these announcements are finalized, CorneliusOnpoint will bring it to you first.
COP:24/7 Special
Small Dollars for Prevention by Dr. Drew Altman, Phd President and CEO Kaiser Family Foundation

It’s no secret that the response to the HIV epidemic domestically has not kept pace with the response to the global epidemic. And in an earlier column called America Has Gone Quiet on HIV/AIDS I wrote about the growing complacency towards the domestic epidemic revealed in our recent survey of the American people. Last Friday, we released a new study with the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors that documents the level of spending, state-by-state, for HIV prevention, looking at both federal and state funds combined that are administered by state and local health departments – where the rubber meets the road and HIV prevention is actually delivered in the U.S. The results were striking in two respects.
First, the overall level of spending for HIV prevention in the U.S. has been essentially flat since fiscal year (FY) 2004, the last year for which we have state-by-state data, except for one-time federal funding of $35 million for HIV testing in FY 2007. This is despite the fact that the CDC determined in August of 2008 that the number of new HIV infections in the U.S. is 40% higher than we thought it was – at about 56,000 per year.Second, and more striking, the absolute amount of money we spend on HIV prevention is quite small nationally and on a state-by-state basis. Nationally we spend less than $600 million in combined state and federal dollars for states to deliver HIV prevention services. But as the chart shows, the absolute amount of spending in the ten states with the largest numbers of people living with HIV/AIDS is modest, ranging from about $7 million in North Carolina to a high of $88 million in New York. These are the latest comprehensive state-by-state data, but they are from FY 2007 and many states have faced serious budget shortfalls since then and have cutback or may soon cutback programs. The most glaring example is California which just this week cut its HIV prevention spending drastically - by more than 80% in state funds - in the middle of its widely reported budget debacle, bringing total HIV prevention spending in California from about $50 million to $18 million, a tiny number in a state larger than most nations. There are a few simple points to be made here. First, while more needs to be done to target and fine tune prevention interventions (we have to improve prevention not just spend on it), scale and intensity are always important; these amounts are not big enough in most states for a prevention strategy to operate at scale or to reach high risk groups with sustained interventions of the intensity needed. Second, while treatment is inherently more expensive than prevention - and it is not appropriate to directly compare spending on treatment with spending on prevention - it is obvious that the treatment agenda has driven out prevention in recent years. Partly this is because it required funding to ramp up treatment services and partly this is because prevention became ensnarled in broader controversies about social issues.
Virtually every issue we work on in health makes a claim for more money and usually a valid one. In the real world of budget priorities there are many legitimate needs that have to compete for scarce dollars and not all needs can be met, especially in today's economy and the budget environment at the federal and state levels. But even in a world of competing needs, the small size of the investment we are making in HIV prevention revealed in this report stands out.

Friday, August 07, 2009

TGIF: The Round UP

It's been a hell of week of maintaining this forum, scheduling meetings, the home front, and any other curve that the daily grind throws your way. But, somehow and only God knows how I do it. I get the question all to often when I don't make certain events or seem to be dashing in and out of local outlets. It's what it takes to keep it movin and groovin personally and professionally. My early 4:30 AM, yes my pretties in the AM wake up call has become commonplace but it's all about the discipline that really makes it all happen. Think about it. In the meantime, let's do a TGIF Round up...

Networking in the City: I'm all about networking. It's a useful tool no matter what you are up to and this forum is always up to something. With that in mind, I've reached out to another local faction reincarnated from a former entity entitled Brotha's & Sista's, now uniquely christened, "Brotha's & Sista's: Living With/ Affected By". This newly formed organization has chartered it self as a conduit of capacity building for local other organizations. At this time they've established offices at 2224 Main Street inside the Women's Project building and have an array of projects slated for the community, including a film series, workshops, panel discussions, documentary and broad based outreach. Our working association is in it's early stages with more formal plans to come. As they develop, keep it locked to COP:24/7 because I feel there's something about to happen and you don't want to be left out.
Here's a quick post on the upcoming in the film festivals:
Brother Outsider - 'Identifying "Gay" Pros and Cons Friday, August 14, 2009 Doors Open at 6pm Film Begins at 7pm
Paris is Burning - Building the SGL Community Friday, September 11, 2009Doors Open at 6pmFilm Begins at 7pm


CHIP IN Icon None: So far, even after working to get the ChipIn icon to work properly and posted, to date, there's been no happenings. Zero, nothing, na-na,-- blank response! So what gives my readers? This effort is designed as a tool to begin accumulating the necessary funding stream for Pride Picnic 2010. The platform is secured through Paypal and you donations can start at $1.00 up to whatever your max may be. So, now, are there still questions, concerns, attitudes or adjustments about this effort. Don't forget that this forum put it's money where it's clicks are for 2009 and many of you shared that enthusiasm for 2010. O.K. it's now time to show some pride, TODAY! Hit the ChipIn Icon found prominently at the top of the margin. Either we put up or shut up as event planning starts taking shape. It's just that simple.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The 24/7 Catch Up: Take Two Thursday

News, News, who's got the news? Well, of course it's COP:24/7, since we are Arkansas' only daily updating blog site covering the LGBTQ community and beyond. Even though I monitored the in-box while traveling, it seems that there's always more tips and quips coming from every corner of cyberspace. This forum does it ever loving best to capture everything from what's relevant to the ridiculous. It's all here and so much more! So, come in and stay a bit for this version of the 24/7 catch up.

Community Organizing in the City: Historically this state and city has had it's fair share of problematic community organizing. I've seen a revolving door of stellar activist, organizers, capacity builder experts, strategist and grassroots coordinator come through this community and then find their way out as quickly as they arrived. It's unfortunate that this town can't seem to hold on this invaluable talent and expertise, despite the efforts of tireless local advocates whom stay in the trenches on the behalf of social justice. Recently, it was announced that Ryan Olson,(pictured) DYSC coordinator will be moving on from his post at the Center for Artistic Revolution. According to the announcement his obligations with the Clinton School will preclude him from devoting a full time commitment to the project. However, he plans to stay engaged with the Friday night meetings. I've briefly encountered Mr. Olson and found his enthusiasm appealing and his outlook positive even though I believe that he quickly learned that doing such work in this city has it's bounty and often times many barriers. I learned from him of his global travels that included visits to South Africa. On a side note, during our brief conversation, he inquired to myself, if I knew who Archbishop Desmond TuTu was? At that moment an awkward expression came over my face, yet we resolved the question that Cornelius is very adept on who's on the world stage. Nevertheless, I sensed that Ryan willingly came to Little Rock with mixed expectations and perhaps some misconceptions, but with an open mind to assist in the efforts at CAR and the community at large. This can be quite disconcerting after traveling among the large metro areas where activism has more depth as well as synergy from a vibrantly connected community. Energy such as Ryan's and other activist is vitally necessary to non-profits across the board and if more of this people power doesn't materialize, then local organizations will always struggle to accomplish their ongoing agendas. If you are interested in the coordinators position or offering committed volunteer time contact the organization. There's a link in our margin for easy access. In the meantime, thanks Ryan for your work and best wishes on your next endeavors.

Stone Diversity: Jovan Haynes, Membership and Diversity Enhancement Committee Chair for Arkansas Stonewall Democratic has announced an open call for participants in an upcoming meeting. Haynes in an e-mail stated, "that the Arkansas Stonewall Democratic is committed to expanding our circle of friends by increasing diversity. We recognize that this wasn't always the way, however we are hopeful that together we can rebuild bridges so that together we can look toward a new direction of inclusion for all." The committee has identified three areas for diversity enhancement: minority, youth, and veterans. Minority outreach is one area that has been severely overlooked. LBGT Black and Hispanic Americans have long been sidelined on critical issues such as HIV/AIDS, faith, straight outreach, LBGT immigration, LBGT history and political policy as well as race relations. Our challengers have used the scheme between white and minority LBGT communities to pass discriminatory policies such as anti-gay marriage amendments, Prop 8 and Act 1. Here's another opportunity for community organizing that open to all community members. Hit Jovan up at http://www.stonewallarkansas.com/ Tell em that you heard about it here at COP:24/7
COP Facebook Blow up: It has to had happen right? This forum leaped into the fray of Facebook a few weeks back and many of you and I do mean MANY of you have discovered our presence and gave us hearty shout out for the friend hook-up. I appreciate the many tags, strippers, gadgets and all matter of communication. I appreciate it all and hopefully everyone will backtrack to this platform to give us a boost in our circulation. Speaking of circulating, In the margins you can see who and where many of our readers are checking in from around the country and sometimes the world. I even noticed a click from the former Soviet Union and New Zeland. Alrighty then...now run tell that!
Help Wanted: Are you an artist, writer, commentator, podcaster, videophile or ranter? Then there's a place for you here at COP:24/7. This forum is always on the look out for our talented folks who want a place to put it and then share it. So if you want to be apart of Arkansas' only daily updating, portal, then hit us up in the comment icon section.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

And the COP Beat goes On...

I believe that I'm finally bouncing back from some semi-jet lag and hitting the ground running in my usual fashion. It's the pace, demand and commitment that keeps the fire burning in this forum. Ultimately, it's that fuel that allows me to stay laser focused on updates, links, commentary, video, pod casting and so much more. After all, we are Arkansas' only daily updating portal for the GLBTQ community and beyond. We appreciate your support and seek more of it as we roll through the remainder of 2009. Let's hear from you TODAY!! In the meantime, it's all about staying on point...


Community Organizing Rising: In a previous post I mentioned my invitation to a meeting in which a "Black Gay Agenda" would be explored for the Central Arkansas area. However, it was brought to my attention that this meeting was not exclusively covering that subject but was rather a meeting to discuss SGL issues on numerous levels and was open to everyone. I stand corrected. I hope that as this materializes that the organizers will be able to make sure that we all on the same page. Here's the location: Women's Project, 22nd Main Street in the Quapaw Quarter. 7 p.m. 8.10.09


Barwatch/The Update: As promised I've got to update the info on the latest moves or non-moves on the outlets in Central City. I'm in a pondering mode when it comes to Speakeasy Supper Club, slated for a August 21 opening. From what I've seen and seen again, this venture is plodding along but with marginal results. According to owners, they are still scheduled to open on that date, some additional personnel has been hired including a Chef and entertainers are being considered. As you recall, or maybe not, this mash up is the offshoot of the former Easy Street. Honestly, in my best guess, is that this outing will have to really sprint to the finish line to be ready for patrons. In the 7th street corridor, OffCenter's "Pulse" is taking shape and floating the word of a pending announcement on the official opening date. The website, http://www.pulseatoffcenter.com/ is up and vibing with icons and links to a Facebook page. The atmosphere appears to be all about being hip, cool, and in vogue as the website hypes" music and great bodies." The Eyes of Texas, Whitney Paige is still a go as show director for weekly entertainment. Stay locked and loaded to this forum for the countdown and first out the gate opening news.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The 24/7 Catch Up: A Tuesday Edition

Whew, can you say, busy as a bee? You betcha. I stomped by into Central City earlier this week, got fifty winks of sleep, blew through a stack of snail mail, winced at the e-mail stash and went directly back to the Big Chair too keep things movin and groovin for the rest of the week. It's that "thing that I do," you know...being the VOICE out in the wilderness of GLBTQ land offering you the latest updates, links, mash-ups and gosh dern it whatever it takes to keep you informed. Without any delay, let's rock...


Benefits- R- Us: I posted about local benefits that have had lukewarm turnouts or response, so here's another chance for you everyone to demonstrate their concern and support for those living with HIV/AIDS. If you plan to attend and would like this forum to send it's ambassador give us a shout out. The goal is at least 50 shout outs or $100 in ChipIn contributions by show time. There's the Challenge, so what you gonna do?
DSRA Clubhouse: 4525 Hoffman Rd. Little Rock, AR. (501)562-4466
8-8-2009 at 9:00 pm
$5.00 at the door or an unwrapped toy.
Show Stoppers:
Cherity, Mary Kay Arden, Miranda Miridian, Marvella, Veronica Devaul, Dan Scott and many others
Refreshments will be served. All proceeds and tips will be donated to the Arkansas AIDS Foundation in support of their annual holiday meal.


BLK Agenda Rising: I've been made aware of community wide meeting in search of assessing our current needs, definitions and future goals. Local activist and capacity building facilitators are preparing to launch this endeavor. It's all going down at the Women's Project, 8.10.09 with time to be determined. Check back for more details and information this week!

Pride 2010: In lieu of this years Pride Picnic location, it's time to start the process to dialogue about next years location and offerings. If you are interested in this project and so many of you told this forum that you were, let's hear from you Today to get organized and preparing! It's the advance planning that makes any event a success. Don't forget it. Hit us up in the comment section or directly at Nealix101@comcast.net Do it NOW!!!


HAVE YOU hit the CHIPIN Icon yet? It's waiting and ready for your secure donation for Pride Picnic 2010. What you gonna do...