Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rainbow Trending

Human Rights Campaign Bus Tour Rolls into Arkansas

The HRC Bus Tour will roll through the state this weekend September 16-18 with stops in Eureka Springs and Little Rock. According to circulated press items"On the Road to Equality" is HRC's nationwide bus tour to spread the message of equality over 12 weeks, 17 cities in 11 states and D.C., with particular emphasis on the Midwest and South. In actuality, Eureka Springs was not scheduled for a stop but as COP 24/7 learned of an eleventh hour a e-mail out reach campaign was launched by locals to demand that Eureka be considered for a stop. Reports in the Gayly, a Oklahoma based publication cited comments from LGBT community leader Michael Walsh who quipped that "it was unthinkable that the Equality Bus would bypass the only city in Arkansas that has over the last five years achieved some of HRC's most important objectives, setting historic state-wide precedents along the way." So what were these badges of courage you ask? Well, organizers cite the city's Non-discrimination Employment Policy of 2006, Domestic Partnership Registry which has attracted more than 500 couples since 2007, a Family Leave Law enacted in 2010 which allows city workers to take time off to care for their domestic partners or children and a health insurance for domestic partners of municipal workers. Eureka folks were quick to tout to HRC that they have a disproportionately large LGBT population with an assortment of gay owned businesses plus home to Diversity Weekends in order to influence the organization to make it a stop on the tour. Well now, certainly COP 24/7 likes to applaud, salute and hand out attaboys for break through and mash ups of public policy and certainly it seems that Eureka fills the bill. However as we bask in that feel good report from Eureka, I couldn't help but recall my visits to this north Arkansas hamlet where I didn't sense all of this gay Utopian goodness. During several of their Diversity Weekends that I've attended, I personally saw very little to no true "diversity." In other words in the true sense of "diversity" there was not even a tea cup of folks who looked like me, African American. In all the shops I saw no "cultural diversity" but I did see lots of high priced artwork and pieces that didn't resonate with me. I had never been overly "carded" for my age so much in my entire life until going to these events. Each haunt that I rolled through wanted my I.D. to enter and a couple of restaurants asked for I.D. to use my credit card while others in the place were not asked? Coincidence or was I subjected to a "racial profile," since there wasn't more folks like me in the place. I saw a few people of color anywhere or even being employed anywhere. This is where I enter a silly "just sayin," meaningless phrase.  Of course that was then, but recently I viewed an ad for Eureka Springs in that aforementioned Gayly, (9.2011) it was full page, full color advertisement with the tag line, "Our Secret is Out!." Featuring two white "lipstick Lesbians" and other images of smiling gay white men with toothy smiles and styled hair embracing their vision of diversity. Now really Eureka is this really culturally sensitive or merely the definitive truth of your "secret." Congratulations Eureka on being a stop for the HRC tour, you guys deserve it. In the meantime, COP 24/7 will continue to call it like we see it and don't think that we're all done with "diversity" in the Ozarks. (www.gayly.com) (www.hrc.org )

Night Moves in the City Continues

Just as I thought, the "Cummings affair" is not going gently into the night. Arkansas Businness.Com's online platform added to its coverage along with all of us "media type" folks with some speculation as to how the story involving former KARK employee Brett Cummings was handled or the lack of handling. Each media outlet that responded to the article cited that they were "mindful" while not racing to expose all the details especially since their was an acutal death that had occurred. As the story broke last Tuesday, it seems that KATV was poised to give a full throttle report with video and interviews of family and friends but moved with caution not to disclosed Cummings name or station affiliation until after KARK stepped up to do so around 5 pm on its website. They choose to do this despite having an official police report naming Cummings as party to the incident. Meanwhile KTHV took the online route then busted out the news as it's lead on it's 6pm newscast with Cummings being named. They asserted that he was a prominent public figure while pinpointing that the "public has the right to know who was involved and as many circumstances as possible." COP 24/7 can't agree more and believes that none of the individuals involved have been "flamed or defamed" in the reporting even as some on social media sites have commented. It's a story that meets the criteria of "news" regardless of the players but very important due to the unfortuante circumstances of Mr. Williams untimely death. In order to make sure that COP 24/7 was aware of the facts, this forum tracked down the actual police report courtesy of www.mediabistro.com  and decided to make it available to our readers for information purposes. Stay locked and loaded, most likely there's more to come....
Brett Cummins Police Report

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