Thursday, November 19, 2009

Queer Frontier & Windmills 2.0

I know that Oprah's news of leaving the air has shaken the landscape, but I've been in preparations to conclude this forum long before she blasted her news. Even though it's not been 25 years, it's been a wonderful 4 years of offering my own personal brand of news related to the GLBTQ community and beyond. Who will take Miss O place is all that folks are talking about but who will take my place is what pertinent to this community. There is a lack of media covering this community or it's issues. Yes, there are some newsletters, webrings, group sites or what have you, but COP:24/7 has been the dominant force as the gatekeeper for such news. At this time, there have been some who have expressed interest but nothing has been confirmed. Only time will tell who or what will take up the mantle meanwhile taking it to the next level. Until then, as we continue the count down to 12.31.09, we will stay on point til the end.

VOICES CARRY: At every opportunity I'm thrilled for any interaction with readers or those who have valuable words to share. DL has been an ardent reader and supporter for this forum. I can always detect her passion in her writing and here's more of it for you to ponder and speculate. It's unedited and she owns the message.
Earlier this year, through his Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), President Obama announced there would be a series of Town Hall Community Discussions in a dozen locations around the US (and territories), in order to create a long overdue National AIDS Strategy. Jackson, Mississippi was one of the cities selected, and the meeting was held on November 16th, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Jackson Medical Mall. I, along with several Arkansans went. This is what I said.
My name is Diedra J. Levi, Director of Brothas & Sistas Inc., an HIV Prevention and Community Enhancement team for the LGBT People of Color in Arkansas. I remember the day GRIDS became AIDS and that night I lost my first friend to this disease. Now, 25 years and over 200 funerals later, I am affected by AIDS.
The unmet need in Arkansas is 70% as opposed to the 30% national average. In prevention work we are told to encourage testing which creates a paradox. Of the 30% of people positive for HIV, 200 of them will be denied care as of the first of the year due to funding shortfalls. Positive people in care are the first line of defense in prevention. We in prevention ask why we should test anyone to only send them into depression, anxiety and a waiting list. The virus doesn’t wait, nor does it care about eligibility.
My question to the White House is; is bad weather the only thing that can deem a state a disaster area which triggers emergency funding? Without medication, T-cell counts go down, viral loads go up and so does the infection rate. There is no gap period for the virus. Can’t Arkansas be a disaster area by definition?
A disaster area is a region or a locale heavily damaged by either natural hazards, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, technological hazards including nuclear and radiation accidents, or sociological hazards like riots, terrorism or war. The population living there often experiences a loss of energy supply, food, services, and an increasing risk of disease. Declarations of disaster areas open up the affected areas for national or international aid.
We ask that you use this emergency plan criterion “If the disaster response is
beyond local and state capacity, federal resources may be activated” , and send emergency funding to save the lives of the citizen/voters of Arkansas.

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