Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Chicken Soup for the Soul Wednesday

Let me begin by saying that as I've checked my Google Analytics and then hearing from many of you, this forum is doing all kinds of madness and then some. In case you didn't know and neither did I until I look deeper at the stats, COP 24/7 is a global. Yes my pretties, we've got folks checking in on our special brand of mash up from all over the world right down to the Ozark hills. I know that you are up their in Northwest Arkansas and you too, right down their in the delta plus my readers checking in around Mena, Cabot, Star City, Pine Bluff, Texarkana, Eldorado and points beyond. Thank you for checking in to see what we are up to. Although we appreciate those "eyeballs" we always on the hunt for more readers to bring us news from their areas, come follow us, opt-in e-mail, share our links and by golly it wouldn't hurt if you wanted to send us a donation to keep it alive and well. We do have a Paypal portal for just that type of support and I plan to attach another "tip jar" in our margins just shortly. COP 24/7 has been Arkansas' online daily news source since 2004 and counting. We're proud of it and we're not mad about it. Now let's go get em...

Early Voting in the City

Its ON! Early voting is underway and I certainly hope that most, if not all of you took the time to become registered voters. As of Monday, there have been 5,700 voters whom have turned out to cast their ballots. Of course I have no idea how many of those are from the lavender set, but it doesn't matter when we have over 1.5 Million possible voters in the May 22 primary.  For the life of me I can't understand why folks who want to complain about the situation don't get involved and register their ass. Especially when it comes time to make sure that as margins are close, every vote and I mean every vote counts. Then, there are those of you who make have been big boys and girls and registered but don't make it to the polls. All of this is a crap shoot as the "robo" calls have started to blow up my cell phone. And most likely some of you as well, however, we've come to accept that intrusion, I'm concerned that much our electorate, that being most of you have become complacent and aloof. Every vote counts whether its for your Justice of Peace candidate down to the big guns of preparing for the fall mash up with POTUS Obama and that other guy, Mitt Romney. Our system allows us to have a say, even as some dastardly bastards are trying to tinker with voting access through a lot of not so crunked laws. Ladies and Gentle, and all those who haven't decided, this year is no joke and I suggest that you vote as if your lives depend on it. Believe me there's much riding on the national elections and don't shy of learning what our local politicos are up to. I love ya Joyce Elliot, but your recent actions almost cause me to blink. Thanks for sending out all the printed materials and the round of "robo" calls but I may not have been the only one to do a "rubber neck"concerning your recent actions. I applaud that you decided to not get caught up in that $88,000 cash dash and took the high road even though I'm not sure if its the actual road you would have taken if no one was looking.  Of course if you haven't register now, none of this matter now does it. Anyway, for those who took the time to do so, good for you, so now get our their and early vote for the candidate of your choice.  Check out this link for all things about the current elections info:  Got a story about your experience or why you didn't register, then share it with us.

AIDS in Arkansas
The Kabuki Theater Mash UP

You may have heard the term "Kabuki theater" kicked around by a variety of folks using it to describe all kinds of situations or circumstances. Wikipedia cites that the term can be interpreted as "avant-guard" or "bizarre" theater resulting in stylized drama. Chi Ching! Let's just say that I believe that there's some "Kabuki" theater going on in reference to this forums spotlight of the inner workings of Arkanssas' Community Planning Group. If you recall, last week I posted that the group was mired in some organizational grid lock as well as what I perceived as structural paralysis. Much of this stymied movement has been centered around murky communications, awkward processes such as voting blocks or representation, a lack of capacity building sessions that should have noted glaring issues such as the knowledge base around Robert's Rules of Order, and how the CDC guidance "Bible" would be used, adhered to and the impact on those attempting to participate. Even though that dropping shoe is one thing, its the "theater of the bizarre" angle surrounding the recent announcement of the "cancellation" or "termination" of a consultants contract that garners some detailed explaining.  This forum does it best to get to the facts of the posted situations. But based on who is willing to share credible facts or at least their version of them can be problematic. Therefore, Last week the "tone" of our post concerning ARCPG's consultant situation seemed to be supporting the position that the contractor was faulty in their actions. COP 24/7 had hoped to speak directly with the provider but at post time no connection was fruitful. However, the contractor became aware that the facts were being misrepresented and decided to set myself and all who want to know straight on what "had really happen." From a circulated e-mail, the contractor stated that there were no missed deadlines and that the Hep C HIV/AIDS Section Chief, Tina Long had requested a day before the plan was to be offered that they were to:

 "remove all the data that highlighted ADH’s challenges with effective and coordinated HIV care and treatment services for PLWHA."

The correspondence from the contractor also concluded:

 "I find it terribly disturbing that she would send out a correspondence to the entire CPG that uses me as a scapegoat for why the needs assessment and HIV comprehensive plan have not been completed."

Additionally the e-mail went on to inquire as to the "ethical questions involved" and allegedly an apparent attempt to usurp the collaboration of the group and its mission to work in concert with the section to achieve a " best practices" plan.  So what's with all this you ask? Its speaks volumes to the inadequate knowledge of those hiring forces of the Arkansas Department of Health whom all but ignored the suggestion of "community" engagement with that process, the appearance of marginal oversight from Upper Management of the Hep C/HIV/AIDS Section and if these allegations are confirmed to what extent will the matter be investigated and resolved. Its time that all the issues that are being "masked" be removed to reveal much of what the HIV/AIDS community, allies, supporters and end users have endured previously, attempted to thwart from happening again and perhaps "know now" what was suspected all along.

COP 24/7 Special

SGL Cup gets a new ELIXHER

I'm always on the look out for new and innovative sites that contain fresh and unique content to explore. Enter, ELIXHER, a website from the spirit of Kimberly McLeod touting that its "a concoction of all things queer, culture and current." According to the site, "ELIXHER is your go-to resource for all things empowering, thought-provoking, and pertinent to the Black female queer community and experience. You’ll find uplifting profiles, local events, political commentary, personal reflections, and more."
ELIXHER was created by a writer and former editor who after years of working in media grew tired of the lack of multidimensional representations of Black queer women. ELIXHER seeks to fill that void.

Live Your Best Life: Words of Inspiration and Food for the Soul

Need a pick-me-up or some spiritual nourishment? Written by transgender advocate and warrior woman Ja’briel Walthour, “Live Your Best Life” is ELIXHER’s new inspirational column.

I am truly excited to embark on this journey of self-discovery, and purpose, along with you. It is my sincere desire to begin with love, to end with love, and to spread love in all the spaces in between. With respect to those who identify with the LGBTQ community, women of color are often faced and/or forced to deal with many hardships, and additional hurdles in which to overcome. We endure it all from sexism to racism, domestic abuse, sexual assault, job discrimination, homelessness, low self-esteem, depression and despair. Whatever the issue, today marks a new beginning.
The dawn of a new horizon is here, and we must now become fortified with overcoming power, as we move from the all too familiar role of victim, and claim our rightful and divine role of “victorious” women. This is our time to lose the “shackles” that have kept us bound in fear far too long, and also to reclaim the songs of freedom and salvation our mothers, grandmothers, and ancestors have spoken of from days of old.
As I write to you today, I extend my hand in friendship and solidarity. I promise to seek ways to encourage and inspire you to live on purpose, and to walk the path of destiny you were created and designed to fulfill. Together, I believe we can establish a mutual space of hope, peace, and love. We can also propel one another to greatness with our honest, kind, and uplifting words, and also through thoughtful deeds and actions.
Years ago, I penned the words to a poem enabling me to overcome what seemed to be a mountain of low self-worth, while also gifting me with both an affirmation and appreciation of life, love, and the freedom to just be me. The piece is entitled, “I Am A Beautiful Being,” and this is my gift to you:

I am a beautiful being,
Mind, body, and soul.
I am a beautiful being,
The Creator made me so.
I love my inner beauty,
Dreams, hopes, and ambition.
I also embrace my faults,
And accept my inhibitions.
I love the way I laugh, I cry.
I love the way I’m kind of shy.
As I look in the mirror, who do I see?
Oh yeah, that’s right; it’s a beautiful me.
5’5 with a wonderful stride,
Shiny black hair, there’s no need to hide.
Smooth brown skin, and love deep within,
Joy for miles, don’t forget that bright smile.
As I go through life, I try to share,
Just a piece of this beauty, I’m blessed to bear.
I love this spirit, that God has given free,
A beautiful being, a portrait of me.

It’s been nearly a decade since I wrote this poem in Winter 2002. I was yet “hiding” my true identity from the world, and wearing a mask of security to conceal the shattered image inside. Writing out my deep thoughts and contemplations, enabled me to have a voice and to embrace my authentic self in ways I could only imagine.
As our journey with “Live Your Best Life” unfolds, be mindful that this space is created especially for the beautiful being, which is you. Together, we will explore ways in which we can “live our best life,” and also encourage others. I am overjoyed about our budding friendship, and look forward to a lasting, and mutually fulfilling relationship with you.
- Ja’briel Walthour
Ja’briel Walthour is a transgender advocate residing in Hinesville, Georgia—a small, military community located outside Savannah. She currently works with special needs children and has authored a children’s book series loosely based on her experience growing up transgender in the South.

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