Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Spin Down and Spin Out 2.0

I'm in a state of reflection and utmost satisfaction at the remarkable Fall 2011 Midland Regional and National Association of Black and White Men Together,Inc board meeting that took flight last weekend here in Little Rock. What I'm most proud of is my local core team who wasn't quite sure what they were getting into but took the leap of faith with me that no matter what I asked of them, they did their best to full fill the request.  James, P. Shon D., Jerry D., Kevin H. and my longtime companion JCM strived to do what it takes when pulling off any event, no matter how large or small. They demonstrated those elements that I've been preaching about for years and believe it or not, still preaching about. It takes commitment, time, resources and your treasure when you decide to be apart of the process. I owe each of you my sincerest gratitude for a job well done! Let's do another champagne toast soon.  From the onset I didn't know what to expect when asked to offer a proposal presentation during the 2010 Fall Regional in Oklahoma City. I took a city prepared goody bag, prepared notes and a bold sense of civic pride to that meeting. All the time thinking that even though we are not considered a "gay destination or gateway" my city still has something to offer anyone who discovers our home. Of course, there was the customary politeness, subsequent questions and then a decision that Little Rock would be afforded the chance to either step up or perhaps be "stepped on" by our visitors. I knew what a challenge lay ahead of me, but didn't blink while getting to work just after I returned home. For the record, I've attended numerous national BWMT conventions from Dallas to this year's locale in Las Vegas and I  fully understood that most folks had perceptions of my city/state and it was up to me to make sure that those perceptions steeped in either myths or fact would have to be dealt with from their arrival to their departure. It is this type of detail that would either make or break this event not to mention any event that is designed to showcase the LGBTQ community or otherwise. Yet within all this planning, I again found that even though I was able to gather local support, it was still fragmented and not full throated. Yes my readers I even had some whom shared their views that such an event was "stupid, racist and unwanted." However I've experienced this type of internal ignorance all my life and I'm not in the least surprised that it still exist. Unfortunately a few of my team mates were taken aback by such venom not to mention misunderstanding this lack of insight within the gay community. Especially despite all of our accomplishments into the 21st Century, it is fellow citizens such as this that most likely had no part in making anything happen except inhabit the small minded closets that have not allowed them to define their authentic selves. Just so they know and I hope that they don't forget that those of us who take the challenge of speaking to power and advancing our causes continue to go the distance on behalf everyone, even when there's no one standing with them. Our success as a core team can be attributed to what we need more of in this community, basic leadership. No community can move forward without "leaders." There are probably many followers, but developing leaders is vital and incredibly needed at this junction in lieu of what it will take to sustain the ground that we've fought hard for and the forces that are gathering their critical masses to dismantle any progress. The members of NABWMT were astounded at the preparations, networking, resourcefulness and above all a perceived sense that Little Rock has not only come a long way but is determined to polish all its diamonds in the rough, while positioning itself to be a great city on the move. Members poised the question:  Is Little Rock ready to host a national convention of The National Association of Black and White Men Together?  Well, let's just say that we've proved that even though we are not a gay hot spot, with proper planning, oversight and a tremendous amount of grit we can do just about anything we want!  Thank you guys and gals for making this vision a reality and being apart of the change that we all want to see. If anyone is interested in attending the next national convention ( San Diego-July 2012) check out: http://www.nabwmt.org/  Can we get a Arkansas Delegation ready? There's already talk about a local affiliate, let's ride the wave that we've sent forth....!!!  

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