Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Swirl Wednesday

We're breaking fast in the last week of October 2011 with updates, opinion, observations and more interesting items concerning the LGBTQ community and beyond. If its being talked about, most likely we're listening and ready to pass it on to our readers. Are you ready? If not, get ready... Let's go get em.

HIV Testing Tour 2011

We posted earlier this week about the Black AIDS Institute/ Arkansas Testing Tour that took place last Thursday,( 9.22.11) through Saturday ( 9.23.11) with a 3 city stop of Conway, West Memphis and Texarkana. In that post we offered a snapshot of the event which as any event may have and sometimes does, had a few planning snafus resulting in some "ouch" moments. Despite those bumps in the road, the tour did prove to have its merits and there were many who turned out for testing as well as results. For that effort the tour gets a "gold" star, but I hope that a closer examination of this approach gets a good dose of reflection including that $50,000 budget allocation which I'd be interested in taking a gander at.  Of course, as I've stated many times before that putting together anything should encompass the strengths of experts if you can get them. Arkansas Department Health personnel are in fact not "event planners or producers." They are health care professional who provide the "medical expertise" that support these efforts.  In this case, putting together a 3 city tour with a many moving parts including remote locales that have not been site tested or actual logistics mapped is nothing more than a recipe for possible discomforts or the unexpected across the board. So heads up ADH and Black AIDS Institute of LA! Before this process begins, if it does for 2012 surely there's got to be some true event experts brought in to keep it all in prospective. Think about it....   

The Number Game

Its all about the numbers as they say and they really do count when it comes to almost everything these days. Case in point was yesterday's Health and Human Service Press Release concerning impending HIV/AIDS funding for states and cities. Alright for many of you this is not stimulating reading or perhaps not of interest to you personally but believe me its important stuff. Why you ask, because HIV/AIDS funding for Arkansas relies on the formulas and determinations from the Federal Government not Arkansas which has "no" budgeted dollars to address HIV/AIDS in this state. So why is that important? Well in case you didn't know and most likely you don't, its not like we have a wealth of congressional champions or highly paid lobbyist assuring that this state is not left out of the money stream on this health dilemma. What we have is dutiful advocates and activitst who make every attempt to be engaged as lookout and monitiors to the ever shifting HIV/AIDS dollars. Even more surprising and should be even more alarming is that this HHS press release was not heralded by local officials in any manner as yet nor was there any local news coverage of the information that Arkansas was entitled to- get ready for it- a Supplemental of $8.3 Million smackers from the $1.89 Billion pile! And get this, Ironically Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (pictured) who heads up the agency is in this very city TODAY at Philander Smith College for a Health Fair! Hello is anyone making any connections with this? Sounds like a perfectly good photo op and outreach opportunity to me for someone to assure the HIV/AIDS community that indeed you are in the loop of "what 's really going," or at least attempting to be in the know. Since Gov. Bebee is always ready to make financial announcements, where's his recognition of these most needed dollars. If not Bebee, how about ADH's Dr., Halverson? Anyone?  Of course theres a flip side to this whole news from HHS and the Ryan White mash up of funding and the Arkansas nexus that needs some explaining, but lets just simmer on this bit of good news for now before we begin asking more pointed questions about other decisions. 

Sixth Annual "Friends of the Community" Awards Banquet (Brunch)
 The Arkansas Stonewall Democratic Caucus are honoring State Senator David Johnson and State Representative David "Bubba" Powers, Ocotber 1, Universalist Church, 11:00 p.m. -1 p.m. 1818 Reservoir Road in west Little Rock.

Senator David Johnson was first elected to the House in 2004. In 2008, he was elected to the AR Senate. Sen. Johnson has sponsored and supported progressive causes and consumer issues. Johnson represents part of central and western Pulaski County, and serves as Vice President of the Arkansas Community Foundation. Johnson served as lead sponsor on the recently enacted anti-bullying bill.

Rep. David "Bubba" Powers represents Hope and part of Hempstead County. Powers was elected in 2006, and serves as Vice Chair of Aging, Children, Youth, Legislative and Military Affairs and Majority Whip. Powers has led the fight for juvenile justice reform, and served as House sponsor of the anti bullying bill. Powers is a Juvenile Court Officer in the 8th Judicial District.

WHY IS STONEWALL HONORING THEM: Both Senator Johnson and Representative Powers co-sponsored and worked hard to get the recent anti-bullying legislation that includes sexual orientation and gender identity into the anti-bullying statues.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO BE THERE: We must show our Straight Allies that the LGBT community will be there to support them when they stand up for what is right even if it may cost them their seats.

Tickets are $25.....please RSVP to Jada Walker at

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