Thursday, June 07, 2012

Middle of The Week Outlook

Organizing Help Wanted

I've watched this employment announcement bounce around and re-posted over the last few month from AIDS United. Considering the reported high unemployment rate among college grads and other heady folks with those advanced degrees, one would think that the agency wouldn't have any problems with gathering impressive resumes or CV's. But apparently there's not much interest in either the job description or the prospects of moving to Texas or Louisiana. I don't know which, but the opening keeps getting put back out their for consideration. In my analysis, work of this nature would require a engaging individual who has the moxy and temerity to stomp through this neck of the woods attempting to do the work that this forum has cited is certainly warranted, but often unable to be achieved due to lack of community interest, dedicated individuals committed to being board members, and numerous other internal infrastructure challenges and barriers. This "regional organizer" would also be responsible for Arkansas which is even a more unique creature and extreme "paradox" that might would make any organizer scamper out of the area screaming uncontrollably. In a past post I mentioned that we've had a boat load of talented activist and advocates "come on through" and then leave for greener pastures. Author, strategist and former National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director, Urvashi Vaid did valuable work in Little Rock while presenting her slide show on community organizing. Urvashi has been an ardent spokesperson to the issues of racial, gender and class diversity in the gay community. This forum will post a intense overview of the subject of "diversity" and according to Vaid, it's "bleaching affect."  Keith Boykin, former Clinton White House staffer, columnist, former blogger and activist also spent time in the city working on the Clinton campaign.  Best selling author, E.Lynn Harris launched most of his notable works from Little Rock and often returned to the city for book readings or special events. These are only a few of the truly talented tenth that have spent time in this city and many others throughout the state. The question is why do they come through and keep on going can be perplexing. The continued "brain trust" drain of experienced activist or advocates who have burned out has been a core problem with Arkansas moving ahead with more gusto. Will their be any LGBTQ leaders in Arkansas' future? Time will tell and whomever that will be better start stepping up to learn from those who have been at bat for some time.  Local community based organizations are struggling to discover invigorated persons for their Board of Directors, creative individuals to serve in all manner of capacities from fund raising to development, and harnessing the "community" power needed to make change is being seriously assessed by those trying to keep such groups going. So, if  AIDS United hires a Regional Director, they had better be ready to go in for the long haul and then some. Its going to take all they can muster and so much more. If you are interested, then by all means please apply. Also check our archives for source material on what's really been going on in this state and the Mid-south. Here's the announcement as presented by the hiring officials:

Job Opening: Regional Organizer

AIDS United
Texas or Louisiana

National HIV/AIDS policy, advocacy, and grant making organization seeks a Regional Field Organizer to work with its grantees, partners, and allies to implement a coordinated national organizing strategy to mobilize grassroots state and federal HIV/AIDS-related advocacy to achieve the National HIV/AIDS Strategy goals--reduction in HIV incidence; increase in access to care and improvement of health outcomes for people living with HIV/AIDS; and reduction of HIV-related health disparities. Regional Field Organizers will be located in the state of Texas or Louisiana.

Field Organizers will work to enhance the leadership, organizing, advocacy skills, grassroots and grassroots engagement, media outreach, lobbying, issue messaging, political strategy, and materials development of AIDS United grantees and partners within assigned regions through developing and facilitating trainings, providing technical assistance, and developing leadership. They will work with the Director of Regional Organizing to develop and implement regional organizing plans that will enable both quick response and sustained efforts from people living with, impacted by, and at risk of HIV/AIDS and the agencies who serve them to pressing policy issues. Organizers will collaborate closely with the Policy Department to create campaigns and organizing tools that will assist with achievement of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy goals. Field Organizers will provide support to grantees and partners with state and federal advocacy efforts and communicate and coordinate those efforts and outcomes internally and externally.

Must have a minimum of 3-5 years of grassroots issue organizing, campaign implementation, education and training, meeting facilitation, material development, coalition development and coordination.

Candidates must possess a strong demonstrated knowledge of HIV/AIDS policy issues. Must have demonstrated ability to solve practical problems and deal with a variety of concrete variables in situations where only limited standardization exists. Position requires experience in program coordination, health-related services, administration, or related areas. Ability to work effectively independently and as a member of a team is essential. Possession of strong attention to detail and the ability to manage multiple projects, establish workload priorities, and meet deadlines is critical. Candidates must possess strong verbal & written communication skills and ability to work with diverse populations. Fluency in Spanish is a plus.

Application Instructions
Competitive salary and exceptional benefits offered in a flexible work environment. Applications must include: Cover letter, resume and salary requirements and should be submitted to with “Regional Organizer” in the subject line (note that subject line must be exactly as stated in order for your application to process correctly). Incomplete applications will not be considered. Equal Opportunity Employer; people of color and persons living with HIV are strongly encouraged to apply. No phone calls please.

Jessica Terlikowski
Director of Regional Organizing
AIDS United
1424 K St NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20005
(312) 334-0931
(202) 408-1818, facsimile

The NAACP Speaks to Equality and Discovers Me

The recent announcement of the NAACP's position on marriage equality was certainly historic juxtaposed to President Obama's pronouncement. CEO Ben Jealous gave an heart wrenching and emotional explanation of how the vote occurred. Then went on to state what it meant to him personally as he recalled the experience of his own parents multi-cultural marriage which was legislated illegal until being over turned by the subsequent Loving Supreme Court case. As he passionately spoke to his audience, I was equally moved and somewhat bemused as I had received membership information from the storied organization for the first time in my life. Why did it take so long for this group to find me. I knew where they were and have attended meetings in this city but felt that it lacked momentum and certainly lackluster leadership. I would bet that there are not not many locals who are card carrying members nor have I been aware of any memebership drive.

Through it all,I thought to myself since they've affirmed their mission to deal with civil rights from a fresh  perspective on a national front why didn't I hear from them before now.  Yet somehow through all that mass mailing that has most likely taken place they decided I should finally get a shout out. It was somewhat surreal and I kept thinking,  life truly serves you up whatever it desires and not when you always expect it. I applaud the organizations fortitude and vision to keep their organization relevant and vibrant into the next century and beyond. And yes, I'm taking a fresh look at that membership material and perhaps understanding what it would mean to be card carrying member.

VOTE 2012: And the Band Will Play On!

The Arkansas Primary is now a done deal sorta. I'm sure that there's going to be some recounting and re-reporting and all types of overviews of the numbers. A few races resulted in run-off's so we can look forward more "ro-bo calls"'and our mail boxes stuffed with campaign literature. The run-off voting will happen on June 12.  I wondered just how many folks turned out to do their civic duty before the vote and as usual I learned that much of the electorate didn't step up to the task.  As I asked around, I was surprised that some locals didn't know that early voting was available or exactly where their polling place was located. WTF! This year is one of the most important cycles and their are individuals who are not informing themselves as to who, what, where and how? It seems that no matter how much information is shared or the easiness of the process, many just thumb there noise at this importance decision. If you voted in the primary, then well and good. Get prepared to support the candidate of your choice if they are in a run-off and by golly be prepared to vote this fall. If you didn't vote...well lets just say that you don't have anything to complain about or whine about if the shit hits the fan and you're covered. Big congrats to all the winners and losers who stepped to the plate in this American process. This forum will offer additional voter info and links in the future.

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