Monday, July 18, 2011

Out of the Gate Monday

As we play catch up to all that falls in our e-box and otherwise, COP 24/7 does it's ever lovin best to stay current, as well as "on point." It can  be daunting in the scheme of everything that a producer must check out while being dutiful to every other aspect of their lives, especially when you have one such as myself that seems like it just won't quit. But, I digress. Anyway, we are here, hot, live and otherwise ready to keep giving it to you like you wanted us to. It's COP 24/7 coming out of the gate again!

30 Years and Counting
The Intersection of HIV and Poverty

Even as we move through another milestone year of the health dilemma and crisis of HIV/AIDS we continue to be reminded of the reverberations of this disease throughout an individuals life. We've learned of the need to access care through treatment, additional prevention messages have been developed, social services assessed and housing assistance sought, but the underlying impact of poverty has been demonstrated by researchers from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health and reported by USA Today (7/11/11). According to the article, "Southern counties that have the greatest rates of HIV infection are among the poorest in the nation," USA TODAY's analysis shows. "Elsewhere in the USA, counties with the highest rates of HIV-infected people had, on average, one in seven people living in poverty, earning roughly $22,350 for a family of four. In the South's most HIV-stricken counties, about one of every five people live below the federal poverty line."
Jonathan Mermin, director of HIV/AIDS prevention at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says the agency's research supports the link between HIV and poverty. "People with household incomes of less than $10,000 a year were 10 times more likely to have HIV than people whose household incomes are greater than $50,000." For the record, Arkansas fall squarely in this reality and these stats correlate to spikes of all sexually transmitted diseases as well as other co-morbidity issues such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Even more glaring is the fact that Arkansas lawmakers and policymakers have given lip service to this issue. Just for the record, even with the recent 94 Million dollar surplus announced, Arkansas has no line item in its budget directly addressing HIV/AIDS. All funding for this health dilemma is sourced from federal funding from the CDC. This funding has been flat lined for some time with no increases to deal with the increasing need for services from lab results to transportation. Local community group Arkansas HIV/AIDS Community Advocates has surmised that reported numbers from the Arkansas Department of Health should be considered a snapshot of the situation and not a full factual picture of what's really happening in Arkansas. If this is the case, then they assume that many within the true "pool " of possible individuals will include many not in care, not accessing services for numerous reasons and ultimately many who do not know that they are infected. AHCA, concluded that a "crisis fund" may need to be developed to assist those who fall outside of Federal Poverty guidelines and other barriers that affect those who are dealing with the disease. The USA today article also speaks to the shame attached to HIV which contributes to its spread by discouraging people — especially young black gay men, who are at especially high risk of infection — from getting tested or seeking treatment, he says. "People don't want to get into care because they're afraid their families will find out" and reject them said, AIDS activist Cedric Sturdevant, 46, of Jackson, Miss., who was diagnosed with HIV in 2006. Here in  Little Rock, The Living Affected Corporation will be launching an initiative to further address the plight of African American MSM utilizing their new offices in North Little Rock's Argenta area. The issue of outreaching to 18-24 population has been an ongoing project with the group and will be prioritize throughout 2011 into 2012 with the proposed project supported by grant sources. LACorp will be announcing their office hours and the entire range of services available within the coming weeks. As a 501c (3) all gifts and contributions are tax deductible and encouraged as the group continues to promote holistic, positive sexual & reproductive health for all. In conclusion the South's HIV-infection rates were statistically higher than the rest of the nation, and the epidemic disproportionately affects minorities, especially blacks. In Mississippi, blacks account for 37% of the population but 76% of new cases of HIV. For more info on Arkansas check out the interactive tool at  To contact The Living Affected Corporation: or send donations to P.O. Box 46558, Little Rock, Arkansas 72214-6558

BWMT Midland Meeting and Greeting in Little Rock

The National Association of Black and White Men Together's Midland Regional meeting, Ocotber 14-16, 2011 will be a first for the city. The meeting will consist of reviewing budgets, projects and other internal working of the regional group affiliated with the national entity NABWMT. To kick off the weekend, Friday, October 14 a Welcome to Little Rock mixer will be held in the Clinton Room at the host hotel, LaQuinta Inn & Suites 617 South Broadway. 7pm until  $5.00 donation. Proceeds from the mixer will support services of LA Corp the official chairty of the event. $35 Early bird registration is now underway on the online registration portal at  For more info contact

Another One Bites the Dust

Arkansas Community Arts Cooperative announced that they are outta here in Sunday's Democrat Gazzette. According to Executive Director Chad McGriff, there were many issues that caused the 10 year old NPO's demise including the holy trinity of surviving the Non Profit game of membership, board members with committment, networks and giving pocket books and above all accessing active revenue streams. It's that power mix that I've talked about until I'm hearing echos of "people power, visions, missions and MONEY. Doesn't it sound so simple. But it's not. I've learned over and over again, that gathering like minded folks who are willing to do more than put "lip service" to their interest is vital to any organization. Board Members are cultivated and educated as to what they "should" be doing for the entity. These "bell ringers" and I don't mean the Salvation Army type are charged with not only making financial committment to the organization from themselves, but should be determined to get that same support from their networks while sharing the "mission, values and vision" of the organization. ACAC mirrors what has happened to local GLBTQ groups that I've named oh so many times that I just won't even do it anymore. Yet, I keep hearing from many of you about why we don't have this or have that in this city like they do in other cities! Really? Sure we can have whatever is needed but when the rubber hits the road who will get on board, stay for the long haul while making it happen when times get tough. It's been my experience that many gay folks "pick up their "ball and jacks" and go to the house. ACAC cited that other venues with same pursuits such as the Argenta Community Theater had become a big shot caller on the arts scene which affected their appeal. Well that may be what they would like to think but it's not quite factual. The problems for that group and others that may be facing the same fate, is the lack of structure and financial base to support their mission. I attended a few of their functions, I bought art from an artist showing, got reminder cards of events, but it's the personal touch that I didn't get from anyone connected from the onset. NO one called me and said those magical words "you've been to our events in the past but we've not seen you in some time. We were concerned enough to personally invite you to event X." It's called "cultivating a prospect" and "making a personal connection" between both. Postcards, Form letters and Invites are not cutting the mustard in the effort to get new stakeholders or members. As for board members, if they are not totally committed then you've got nothing more than a name on the books. I'm a two term board member for The National Association of Black and White Men Together and I took that charge seriously. Especially my time and treasure that would be needed to be apart of the organization. To date, I've committed in-kind gifts, personal contributions and voluteer time to the tune of over $5,000. This doesn't count my efforts elsewhere where I have secured drug donations of $10,000 while offering my support and expertise across the board. This is what board members do daily as they guide "organization A, B or C" to full fill its mission and serve its constituients or stakeholders. Note to GLBTQ community and beyond: Got anybody interested in being a board member for whatever it is that's needed? Well do we? If so, here's your call to action, if you dare.
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