Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Triple Play Shuffle

Its mid week and COP 24/7 goes into a triple play shuffle as I do a few updates, retakes and outtakes in this posting. As I've stated previously, my e-box runneth over and often times while considering lots of material I miss a few important items that should have made the cut. However as they say, "it is what it is," and we keep moving on. With that said, let's go for it....

The Equality Marriage Mash Up

Yesterday cyberspace was on overload with the news of California's Prop 8 measure being over turned as unconstitutional. The courts stated that the measure infringed on the rights of the Golden States LGBTQ community whom wanted to embrace the notion of marriage. The coverage of this whole affair from both sides dominated the news cycles and its not a question that all of this will land squarely in the laps of the Supreme Court. In keeping this clear, the law affording those who live in California to marry will only relate to that state. Even as the court has found that what took place in that state was unconstitutional, it has no bearing on any of the rest of the nation. Despite a respectful push back from the state's LGBTQ community, Arkansas enacted Act 1 some years ago by a wide margin. Since then there's been no talk nor substantial campaign to repeal the law, not to mention that Governor Beebe all but said that it would never happen. 

Therefore, no matter how the  Supreme Court rules it will have no affect in this state or anywhere else for that matter. As you may know or may not, currently the court is presently quite conservative and it will be a nail biter at best.  Even though I have mixed emotions about it all, I wasn't amused at the attitude that some California gays took toward its Black community citing that it was there lack of support that caused the law to be passed.The lavender echo chamber was filled with finger pointing rhetoric, racially tinged vitriolic outburst and venomous innuendo that to this day is still simmering below the surface. In my opinion the concept of marriage equality among SGL folks appears to be complicated at best. There are those who offer full throated support while others who have various levels of issues that surpass the need for nuptials. Researcher Aisha Mills in "Jumping Beyond the Broom" explores the issue from a variety of angles which I found not only interesting but offers some relevant dimensions that force me to go deeper in my thinking. This effort is especially eye-opening in reference to the uneven and tumultuous relationship that has transpired between "gays" and people of color. 

For myself, this report intersected with the speech given by NGLTF's Executive Director Rea Carey who opened this years Creating Change conference speaking to the stance that the gay movement is not a "one issue" movement but a multi-issue cause that encompasses many. Although this may be the thought pattern at this time, this hasn't always been the case. It has been my observation that many white gays formed the leadership as well as set the agendas that didn't have everyone at the "issue table." I found my way to the table only to discover that not many other Blacks either didn't find the table, want to be at the table or didn't feel the table vibe was very welcoming. My experience has been an interesting mix of all of it including a stint on the Arkansas AIDS Foundation board where I was literally ask to leave because I called folks out for their lack of commitment. It seems that I have a knack for "talking out loud" and it often make people uncomfortable. Some would debate that everyone was invited to participate, but nevertheless as many in California's SGL community cited, most of the time people of color are not sought out nor firmly recruited until they are needed to support measures that may not be a priority for them. Personally I find it all fascinating and I hope that you will as well. I'd love to hear some feedback or backtalk on the article or where you come down on the issues. Just know that its a multi page read, so be ready to take some time to take it all in. As you know, there's nothing like a good old fashion robust discussion and COP 24/7 is willing and ready to share that conversation. Hit us up when you're ready, because we are always ready...!  Thanks to my NABWMT co-hart Mark B. for giving me the heads up on this stimulating article and the Southern4you blog which provided this smart gadget which captured the content.  
Jumping Beyond the Broom: Why Black Gay and Transgender Americans Need More Than Marriage Equality

 AETN Rolls Black History 2012

Black History Month 2012 on the PBS affiliate, Arkansas Educational Television Network has been exceptional. I certainly hope that many of you have taken in as much as I have as you drag yourselves  away from those silly and mind-numbing Housewife "this or that" shows. In the last few weeks AETN has showcased local civil rights icon Daisy Bates, who will forever be linked to the Central High 9 and all that occurred in Little Rock during the Central High desegregation blow out. The shows producers wanted to illuminate all facets of Mrs. Bates from her tour de force to get the students into the school to her vulnerability in her personal life. I learned of her complexities and shortcomings that often impacted her decisions throughout her celebrated life. The pain she must have felt as well as the strain of being at the center of the storm must have been almost too much to bear. Many times I quizzed my parents on what it was like to see Little Rock under siege from riotous crowds and the atmosphere of President Eisenhower's "Marshall law" that permeated the city while trying to enforce the desegregation order. The interviews, archive information and great story telling was a wonderful diversion from "all things Super Bowl." On last evening, again AETN delivered a great portrayed of civil disobedience embodied in the show, Freedom Riders. I couldn't take my eyes off this engaging and gut wrenching documentary spotlighting one of the most despicable blights on the history of the country. From beginning to end, events unfold that takes the viewer from the origins of the "freedom rides" recruitment, subsequently through the actual rides and the mayhem that resulted from those whom embraced segregation unfettered. At one point during the show, I felt tension as I watched the determination and tenacity of college age people who took to the Greyhound and Trailways buses with conviction. The rage of towns folk, the dogma of then Sheriff, Bull Conner and the insipid racism that lived and breathed throughout the deep south was almost unimaginable. I kept asking myself, how could these brave souls do it. How did they find the strength to endure such malice? Could I have joined their ranks as they made their way through the south on the way to New Orleans. I was enlightened that everyone who participated had their own individual reasoning but they were bound by the fact that "the wall of segregation" had to come down. I was uplifted to know that everyday people stood up as the Kennedy Administration appeared paralyzed and immobilized. I didn't know how the interaction between the riders and civil rights leader Martin Luther King was strained at one point as King didn't want to accompany a group of riders. It is documentary such as this that I value in my effort to always be in a learning mode. I'm not sure who is at the helm of programming these shows but they've done a damn good job of it so far. I'm looking forward to seeing "Slavery Known by another name" and a host of other specials that will be presented throughout the month. May I recommend that you take a moment from "Nay Nay" or whomever is you favorite reality star and fill your mind with some history that will make you proud that someone else did the heavy lifting just a few decades ago.    

"Perpetuating Stigma" Documentary on HIV Criminalization Airs on PBS's "In the Life," features AU Grantees and Partners

The United States has more laws criminalizing HIV exposure and transmission than any other country in the world. COP 24/7 in our continuing pursuit to offer to our readers a spectrum of HIV/AIDS related information, I'm encouraging everyone to view this program. AIDS United has been a core funding source for Arkansas', The Living Affected Corporation (  in its organizational programming and educational opportunities involving the Black MSM population and beyond.  As an AU grantee, the organization has included the issue of stigma as apart of its mission to address the sexual health of marginalized communities and its 2012 focus on human rights.  Stigma and fear often motivate criminal prosecutions, and the results can be devastating. This PBS documentary, which features an interview with Deon Haywood, Executive Director of Women With A Vision (an AU grantee), and other AU partners, is an eye-opening and disturbing look at the consequences of archaic and stigma-reinforcing HIV-criminalizing laws. Click here to view the documentary "Perpetuating Stigma."

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