Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Wednesday Bump

Little Rock: Raising the Rainbow 2012 Profile
Little Rock's 11th place ranking among the "gayest cities in America" poll has been and is still being widely discussed and debated. The blogs, vlogs and wagging tongues from all points have decried everything about the listing and it's methodology. One such Arkansas Times blog reader stated, " how could Little Rock be listed when you can been fired from your job or thrown out of your apartment because you are gay...I wouldn't advise any gay person to live their..." Well, for the record any body can be fired in Arkansas due to our oppressive "right to work" status and as far as I know we still have fair housing laws that were used in the case of Franke vs. Parkstone in which a HIV positive gay minister was ejected from the facility. Rev. Franke won an out of court settlement and the facility since then has revised it policies. The reasoning's from folks as to why this city doesn't deserve this 2nd tier ranking is just stupefying. Even more amazing is the mean spirited backtalk is coming from some folks who actually live here. If we mean mouth ourselves then what are others to think! It's obvious that Little Rock is not a "mecca" or a foremost gay hot spot such as San Francisco or Houston for that matter, but I've visited many of the big girl cities and I"m here to tell ya all that "glitters is not golden." My civic pride beams proudly as I've had the chance to travel across the nation. No matter what mega city I'm visiting, I'm the first to herald Little Rock as a special place to be. Sure there's plenty of "gay stuff" to do in those other cities however, all of it is portable and could be apart of our scene as well. Want a softball league? Then create one with your fellow athletes. In the last few years, Sidekicks the local kickball team has flourished with a devoted fan base. Need a book club? Call the north sides TraX as they are always willing to open their space as a community meeting area. Just because Houston, NYC, Chicago or Philadelphia has more people doesn't mean that you can't work with what you've got. There's much to be proud of in this city and we must not keep thinking that the "glass is half empty, instead that it's just not full, yet. Check out the listing at   Go Little Rock!

LGBTQ Community Assessing: What's the 411?

Developing a strategic plan or a comprehensive plan dealing with HIV and AIDS for this state can be a daunting task. Yet within the scope of making it happen, there must be a "community assessment" that is suppose to analyze or perhaps dissect issues, barriers, guidepost and outcomes that supports the overall plan itself. In case you didn't know and most likely you don't, there's been numerous such assessments and apparently this community is in need of another. What's goes into these assessments are factoids, equations and other buzz terms like quantitative or qualitative this or that. Earnestly as I have reviewed a few of these and then subsequently reviewed others, I'm still perplexed to if this was "assessed" as a problem such as " client transportation," or naviagting systems, then and its still an issue now, then why wasn't the problem fixed from the assessment? Recently during a tele-conference for a local CBO (community based organization) I inquired about an assessment that had taken place in 2009. After reading the material, again I came to that place in the road of if the issues of joblessness, linkage to care, transportation and housing were issues then, what was done to eleviate or counter these noted barriers. And who was responsible for leading the charge in getting it addressed? Because obviously in 2012, the same problems prersist. Although now they are being touted as the "HEFTE 4000" dilemma involving " housing, employment, food, treatment, and education which is being cited as critical to individual care and prevention. So if past assessment demonstrated that these social determinants were factors in this community juxtaposed to those either in care or out of care, then what could one more assessment actually reveal. I've heard the Maya Angelou adage," when we know better, we do better," more than enough to believe that if this is the case then "where's the do better?" Not to metion if all these assessment were properly reviewed then certainly there should be no problem with creating a comprehensive plan that should be capble of resolving at least one problem. Its been stated that Arkansas has a "patchwork" of services and providers involved in addressing a complex mixture of problems for consumers and endusers. However, one would think that after three decades of dealing with HIV and AIDS in Arkansas there would be comprehensive plans to build upon in almost a "click and play" fashion, plugging in what's been learned previously as well as the current trends. Let me be clear, I'm all about "data dumping" that allows one to "process" the information to reach conclusions and outcomes. I do this almost on a daily basis. But I honestly believe that if I reach a conclusion then by damn I should be in a position to do something about it that will fix something. While assessments are a necessary evil, it's the lack of action behind them that I personally find bothersome and cumbersome. How many more assessment does it take to understand that none of the former assessment have been marginal in resolving issues and barriers that are still impacting the community to this day. Alright bring it on, but if nothing much is going to change then, why don't we just stop wasting folks time? 

Tech Help Wanted

If you are a tech savvy and want to share some of your knowledge or expertise, this forum would love to hear from you. In order to take COP 24/7 to levels beyond, we are seeking partners, allies and supporters that are willingly to volunteer some time to kick this forum up a notch. If you've got script writing experience, code, flash or just some graphic artist input, let's hear from you. You'll get all the credit and the community will benefit. Do it today!!!

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