Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Moving Forward at COP 24/7

Through the Facing AIDS photosharing initiative, you and your community can join the thousands of Americans who are helping reduce stigma and promote HIV testing by putting a face to AIDS for World AIDS Day (December 1) and beyond. Karen Walker, a nurse and a mother, wrote this powerful description of why she is Facing AIDS as part of the Facing AIDS anti-stigma photo initiative.

Why do I Face AIDS
By Karen Walker

I face AIDS because of my life experiences with two small children who became my foster children in 1984. At that time, my husband and I had three adopted children living in our home, along with two unwed teen mothers and their babies. We received a frantic phone call asking if we would please take a 4-year-old girl and her 8-year-old brother whose mother had died the day before from AIDS. The children had not yet been told of their mother’s death, but the foster mother in whose home they living, upon hearing of their mother’s diagnosis, demanded that the state child welfare worker come and get the children immediately. When the worker arrived, the children had been placed outside on the steps with their belongings and had not been allowed back into the house. On the drive to our house, they were told of their mother’s death. We were only supposed to be an emergency placement for one night as we already had seven children in our house, but it soon became clear that no one else would take them, so we agreed to keep them until the state could find them a permanent home.

They lived with us for 14 months, during which time the first HIV antibody test became available. I brought the two children to a hospital to be tested and we learned that the little girl was HIV positive, having contracted the disease in utero.
After 14 months, an adoptive home was found for them with a single parent in another part of the state, but their lives were immediately pitched into turmoil. Their pre-adoptive mother had gone to register them for school and a school official had revealed the little girl’s HIV status, breaching confidentiality. An article appeared in a local newspaper that a child with an AIDS-related condition was trying to enroll and all “heck” broke loose. She was never allowed in school that year, and her brother could only attend with a court order and police escort, walking through picketing parents and TV crews, despite the fact that six lab tests showed that he was HIV negative. For the first week of school, parents pulled their children out of his classes. It was only after the State Commissioner of Education advised those parents that their children would be considered truant, that they agreed to leave their children in school. The boy’s desk was isolated in the classroom, he was not allowed to play with anyone on the playground, and he was told not to use the drinking fountain.

At home, the children had bricks thrown through their windows, they were asked not to attend church, and they endured people running away from them in public places. Life became unbearable for them, and after 6 months, the adoption failed. A social worker came on a Friday to pick up the little girl, and on Sunday, we drove out and picked up the little boy.

Shortly thereafter, we legally adopted the boy. For many years, the state wouldn’t tell us where his sister was. When they did tell us, we found that she had been moved to another state, and was in a great home with people who were in the process of adopting her. Sadly, she passed away 3 weeks after her 21st birthday from an AIDS-related illness, but at least we were able to be a part of her life again.

THIS IS WHY I FACE AIDS EVERYDAY. The discrimination and stigma are less than they were in the mid-1980s, but they are still very real for many people. I will fight for as long as I can, or until the stigma is gone, and a cure is found.

We all have a story to tell about why we’re facing AIDS. Upload your photo and Facing AIDS message for World AIDS Day at or download the Facing AIDS iPhone app!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Holiday Week Streams and Zips

Survey Says! Gay Community in Good Financial Health

A new Prudential study, “The LGBT Financial Experience,” dispels a number of myths and sheds light on the financial experience and challenges of the LGBT community. While the study finds significant differences in the financial experience of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Americans, it highlights a mutual sense of confidence in the future and overall good financial health, counterbalanced by significant concerns about retirement and equality of financial rights. In full disclosure, COP 24/7 was not surveyed for this study and would really like to know who the hell was surveyed! Even though much in this report is good information, many of the folks that I know and you know are not among those surveyed. However, the items highighted should be financial nuggets that should be considered for everyone. My motto has always been, "work with what you have as you try to maximize your future." Unfortunately I don't have Suzie Orman on speed dial, but I try to catch her financial planning show for free as often as I can. In the meantime, read on and take this study as food for thought material.
"We explored the financial landscape for LGBT Americans to better understand the financial challenges and concerns of the community as a whole, as well as same-sex couples and LGBT parents,” said Charles Lowrey, chief operating officer, U.S. Businesses. “While we found the LGBT community to be largely optimistic about the future, like most Americans the community was affected by the recession and is very concerned about being able to retire.”
The study found that the LGBT community is in relatively good financial health with a median household income of $61,500, above the median U.S. household income of $50,000. Although gay men report earning more than lesbians individually ($49,000 vs. $43,500 median personal income), when it comes to household income, lesbians, who are more likely to live in dual-income households, have higher household income ($63,700 vs. $62,300). While the combined household income of gay male couples is the highest overall at $103,000, these couples constitute a minority (19%) of the LGBT community.
As a part of the survey, Prudential developed a Financial Confidence Index. With an overall LGBT Financial Confidence Index score of 48 out of 100, the LGBT community is reasonably confident about their finances and the economy. Gay men reported being more confident than lesbians, and Gen Ys more confident than Baby Boomers. The financial services industry’s attention to the specific financial planning needs of LGBT Americans ranks lowest on the Financial Confidence Index.
The survey also found the LGBT community tends to own three core financial products – life insurance, an employer-sponsored retirement account and a savings account – and adds to these products as they age, become parents or establish long-term partnerships. Overall, more than half own a life insurance policy, with almost two-thirds of legally recognized couples having a policy. In contrast to the general population, lesbians are as likely to own life insurance as their male counterparts. Close to a quarter of Boomers own individual stocks, and 10 percent of legally recognized couples own annuities.

Close to 4-in-10 LGBT individuals and nearly half of LGBT couples in a legally recognized relationship work with a financial professional, similar to the general population. Underscoring financial planning challenges related to the legal status of relationships, 61 percent of LGBT individuals see their financial planning needs to be different from the general population. Although the LGBT community does not need financial professionals to be part of the community, 75 percent say it is important that a financial professional understands the unique needs of the community. Despite this, almost nine out of 10 LGBT individuals say they have never had a financial professional contact them about their specific LGBT financial planning needs.

“We recognize that the LGBT community faces a number of unique challenges when it comes to financial planning,” says Sharon Taylor, senior vice president, Human Resources. “We hope that the insights from the study will enable both Prudential and the financial services industry to better meet the LGBT community’s financial needs.”

At a time when Baby Boomers are retiring in significant numbers, the top financial concern among the LGBT community is retirement. While most LGBT Baby Boomers describe themselves as financially secure, approximately one-third say they are falling behind or on the edge financially, and almost half are not confident that they will not outlive their savings or be able to maintain their standard of living in retirement.

“The LGBT Financial Experience” also highlighted one of the key drivers of concern about retirement – the legal status of LGBT relationships, which can have a significant impact on financial planning. LGBT respondents report being very concerned about the lack of Social Security or pension survivor benefits for same-sex couples, as well as legislation that negatively affects LGBT rights. Tax treatment, benefit inequality and inheritance rules for same-sex couples closely follow as major issues.

“The LGBT Financial Experience” 2012-2013 Prudential Research Study was conducted by Community Marketing Inc. of San Francisco, Calif., which surveyed a diverse group of 1,401 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Americans aged 25-68 from urban, suburban and rural communities throughout the 50 states in August 2012. No income or other criteria were required to participate.
Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees are committed to helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. In the U.S., Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit
Source: Business Wire

Obama Nominates Black Gay Jurist To Federal Bench

Florida Judge William Thomas Awaits Senate Confirmation

By Nathan James

In an administration filled with historic firsts for the LGBT community, President Obama has added another achievement to that growing list: the nomination of the first gay black jurist to serve on the federal bench. William Thomas, who is currently serving as a judge on the Miami-Dade Circuit Court in Florida, was named for consideration to the federal Southern District Court of Florida.

If Thomas is confirmed by the Senate for this lifetime appointment, Thomas, 46, would become the first openly gay black officer of the court to serve as a federal judge. Obama has nominated four other out judges during his time as President, and three of these have been confirmed by the Senate.

The Thomas nomination was sponsored by the Presidential Appointments Project, and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. ”We are delighted in the President’s appointment of Judge Thomas,” Victory Fund CEO Chuck Wolfe said, “We believe he’s been an excellent judge in Florida, and he will make an excellent federal jurist.”
The incoming Senate will hold conformation hearings on the judgeship's in the new Congressional term. ”These judges,” President Obama noted, “have demonstrated the talent, expertise, and fair-mindedness Americans have come to expect from their judicial system.”
During Thomas’ tenure on the local Miami bench, he has presided over criminal cases, election disputes, and municipal matters.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Take OUT

Socially Yours and More

Everyday there seems to be more social sites and platforms coming online to join all the other sites that already exist. Obviously there's no end in sight to the social networking craze that chomping along similar to that old pac man thingy of yesteryear. I do my best to be on the cutting edge of what coming next but often I find my eyes rolling into the back of my head as something else rolls out to compete with everything else that either I know about such as Facebook or that other new thing, Pentrest, that  I'm not so sure about or how it fits into my social networking groove. With that said, I discovered yet another interesting site entitled Rainbow Blak ( ) which is devoted to designing a space for " alternative, creative, free thinking, open minded, LGBTQ Women of Black origin.." The web site's creator and CEO is Koffee Brown ( yes that is suppose to be her real name) and is moderated by Terry White. The duo have put together a site with an international flair that not only celebrates "women 2 women" love but allows members to post items from numerous mediums on a variety of topics. Nothing appears off limits with items ranging from "stayin out your friends business to updates on the twin pregnancy issues among a stud and fem couple."  There are video blogs, photos uploaded, links and commentary including an interesting piece penned by local advocate Deidra Levi on "freedom from Religion." Ever since this forum was developed, among our goals has been to showcase as many portals of information, "infotainment" and empowerment sources available. Of course COP 24/7 certainly wants you to bookmark, RSS feed or follow us, but we don't mind sharing our posting to spotlight that there's a lot of sites across the board. Check them out, but by all means keep your browser locked and loaded with COP 24/7

We Are the Youth Project

We Are the Youth was created by Laurel Golio and Diana Scholl as a photographic journalism project chronicling the individual stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in the United States. Through photographic portraits and “as told to” interviews in the participants’ own voices, We Are the Youth captures the incredible diversity and uniqueness among the LGBT youth population. We Are the Youth addresses the lack of visibility of LGBT young people by providing a space to share stories in an honest and respectful way. As We Are the Youth expands, we aim to be even more geographically diverse. Pictured above is Anna, 19 of Tuscaloosa, Al and is one of the featured youth on the website.( ) Her story mirrors the often perplexing as well as the arduous journey gay youth endure into adulthood. Many of these stories are realities that exist of LGBTQ youth whom reside all over Arkansas. However, to date there are no profiles from this state but the opportunity is available through the link provided below. If you decide to share your story, feel free to let us know.  

Since June 2010, We Are the Youth has profiled more than 50 young people across the United States. We Are the Youth profiles have been displayed at the Brooklyn Museum, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, the Fresh Fruit Festival and the GenderReel Festival, and have been featured in media including The British Journal of Photography,, and The Huffington Post. We Are the Youth is an endorsing organization of the Make it Better Project and a member of the Coalition for Queer Youth.

We Are the Youth is made possible through donated time and the contributions of generous supporters. Contribute to We Are the Youth by making a tax-deductible donation through our fiscal sponsor Brooklyn Arts Council. Reach out to participate at

AIDS in Arkansas
AETN Program Continues Dialogue

On Wednesday evening, (11.14.12) the Arkansas Educational Television Network aired the "AIDS in Arkansas" program featuring local panelist involved with this ongoing public health dilemma. I was afforded a chance to participate in this program in my continuing quest to keep the issues and challenges of HIV and AIDS front and center. Moderated by journalist Donna Terrell, the program did its best in a small amount of time to cover the many layers of living with the disease and much of the associated conditions that range from disclosure to stigma. Of course there's no way to give the topic justice in 28 minutes but my viewpoint was succinct in a capsulized version that among the many issues there are three significant flash points for myself:

1. Funding levels must be monitored and addressed in the frame of the dollars following the epidemic. This includes Arkansas finding funds to add to the mix.

2. A distinct and workable strategy implemented to navigate those not in a care continuum into care. This should become priority number one to help stymie additional infections.

3. Utilize and embrace the tenants of the National AIDS Strategy, Southern Manifesto and our own home grown, Jurisdictional Plan which offers clear and concise evidence of shifts of the disease and highlights the shortfalls and pitfalls of the "patchwork system" of care disproportionately impacting people of color communities. Especially young Black MSM from 13-24 many of which don't even know they are infected. The realities of a 48% increase among Black men while the rest of the population is leveling off, is totally unacceptable and can't be ignored.

As I move forward into 2013, I intend to use this forum and all my community involvement to make the point that Arkansas needs to reassess its game plan before we can be in game to end AIDS in Arkansas. In leading this charge, I need your donations, in-kind contributions, voices, ideas, observations and presence at the table. Even though we've had remarkable break through and wondrous life saving drugs, there is still much to do in policy making, advocating, educating and empowering a movement that will continue to demand a more detailed and aggressive response from our public health officials. I can't do it alone therefore we need to re-group as well as react to the current status of this situation. There's no time to waste nor lives that are expendable amidst a temperament of complacency. This begs the question, just who will be held responsible for the continuing rise in infection rates, health care cost and eventual deaths. Right now the statistics state that we have over 4,000 infected Arkansans who are not in a care continuum. Even this number could be fluid as we've learned that reporting efforts are now being re-examined and evaluated as to accuracy. At this junction, we need all the brain trust that we can muster as we prepare to look at a changing landscape of the disease with individuals living longer lives with other co-morbidities. All expertise from consumers to clinicians will be needed as the affordable health care act comes into play again presenting a new set of priorities.  Hit me up at to find out what you can do or how you can help make a difference. I need to hear from you ASAP so together we can not let the deaths of the past be in vain. Last but not least, its not what I'm gonna do, but what are you gonna do?


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thursday Spin Down

COP 24/7 Special
Out of Many, One HIV Treatment

A new combination treatment is now available to people with HIV.

BY Michelle Garcia

It’s been a year of discovery about HIV, with news both good (death rates in the U.S. have fallen) and bad (one in five gay and bisexual men have HIV). Among the former, though, is the arrival of a new medication, Gilead’s Stribild, a capsule that fuses four drugs into one pill, which may just revolutionize treatment routines for anyone who is just now testing positive.

Stribild (previously known as Quad) combines elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate into a single daily dose for people who have not previously been treated for HIV. There’s a hefty market for that. Greater Than AIDS reported this year that of that one in five gay men who have HIV, a full half of them do not yet know it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 61% of all new HIV infections in 2009, and young MSM accounted for 69% of new infections among persons age 13–29. That means that there are about 441,669 gay or bisexual men with HIV in the U.S., and close to a quarter million of those men have never been treated for the virus.
Paul Sax, MD, a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital who was a principal investigator in one of the Stribild studies, says the approval of Stribild is crucial for those patients. Clinical trials, which took place over a 48-week period, indicated that Stribild was more effective than other drugs in keeping viral loads down.
“Through continued research and drug development, treatment for those infected with HIV has evolved from multipill regimens to single-pill regimens,” adds Edward Cox, MD, of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “New combination HIV drugs like Stribild help simplify treatment regimens.” The prescription drug became available to patients in late August.

Since Stribild is a complete drug regimen, it should not be taken with any other HIV medication. The pill is slightly more effective than Atripla as well as Truvada combined with atazanavir and ritonavir. In one study, 88% of Stribild users had undetectable amounts of HIV in their blood (compared to 84% with Atripla). It’s also being heralded as a good alternative because it mitigates certain side effects that patients have with Atripla.

Stribild is the third HIV combination medication developed by Gilead, following Atripla in 2006 and Complera in 2011. Gilead CEO John C. Martin, Ph.D., says his company has kept a solid focus on developing simplified yet effective HIV treatment regimens.

“Therapies that address the individual needs of patients are critical to enhancing adherence and increasing the potential for treatment success,” he said in a statement following Gilead’s FDA approval.

The pill’s initial price of $28,500 per patient annually raised eyebrows, but after negotiations with state AIDS service directors, Gilead agreed to lower it for AIDS Drug Assistance Programs. The company’s own patient assistance program will also help people with HIV handle the cost of treatment.

There are a few precautions that Stribild users need to know about: It must be taken with food and may interact badly with certain drugs. Like many HIV treatments, it may also cause side effects including kidney damage, fat redistribution, immune reconstitution syndrome, nausea, and headaches. Even with these issues, Gilead officials say the pill will carry fewer complications and be more effective in treating HIV than other medications on the market. ( source: )

For local information conrtact: ,  or

Gay Youth Center Benefits in Tidal Wave of Support

Just weeks after the "super frankenstorm" Sandy battered numerous states on the east coast, among the wreckage was a emergency drop in center for gay youth, the Ali Forney Center. But almost as quickly, a social media outpouring helped raise money for a new, bigger Ali Forney Center to keep helping dozens of young people a day with medical care, counseling and a safe place to sleep. There was an outreach in Arkansas for donations and The National Association of Black and White Men Together forwarded a $500 donation toward the rebuilding of the center.

"I wish every day thousands of people would help get homeless kids off the street," said Carl Siciliano, executive director of the last-ditch refuge for homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths. "Too bad it takes a storm to get people to see how bad they have it."

According to a item in Boston's Edge publication, Siciliano founded the drop-in center in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood 10 years ago, naming it after Ali Forney, a gay 22-year-old who was shot to death on a Harlem street in 1997. He had been homeless since age 13, when his mother threw him out.

City officials estimate LGBT youths represent about half the city’s nearly 4,000 homeless young people, who sleep outdoors or in city subways, abandoned houses and even on rooftops. More than 100 would arrive at the center daily looking for support. The city reserves about 250 shelter beds for them, and Ali Forney offers 77 in various places, about 30 of them city-funded. Unfortunately, their are no formal statistics citing homeliness among LGBTQ youth in Arkansas nor is there dedicated city or state funding streams for this population.  However, there is an effort underway to address this issue through the Lucie's Place project which is currently in a fundraising phase.

Even before Sandy, the center had planned to relocate to the 8,600-square-foot Harlem space, which is six times bigger than the original one and will be open 24 hours a day. Paying for the move and renovation was a big challenge - until Sandy came along.

The center, which was evacuated ahead of the Oct. 29 storm, was hit by the same surge of water along the Hudson River that swamped a power substation and flooded commuter tunnels.

A blogger picked up Siciliano’s Facebook posting about damage to the center, and it quickly went viral, tweeted to hundreds of thousands of followers by actors Pam Grier and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

In the first three days, the center received almost 1,000 donations totaling more than $100,000. That total has grown to more than $250,000 - and counting - with contributions coming from around the world, including England, France, Sweden, Canada and Mexico.
"This shows the power of social media, when prominent people link digitally with a healthy network of people who connect emotionally," said Ryan Davis, a pioneer in using social media in politics and activism who is on Ali Forney’s board.
About $400,000 is needed to replace what the center lost and prepare the Harlem site, which Siciliano hopes will be up and running by Christmas.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mix it Up Wednesday

Wing Nuts Away!!!!
States Petition to Secede from the Union...Again?

Say it ain't so! Are folks really considering seceding from the union similar to that other time back in 1860 when they thought it was good idea to go it alone? Of course they vowed that the "South" would rise again and now somehow the re-election of President Obama has set more of these individuals not even living in the south on fire about seceding from the United States. Amazing at it seems, according to The a massive number of petitions are currently circulating on, a website designed to call for action by the federal government or by private institutions on particular causes, calling for particular states to be granted permission to secede. And yes it seems that some Arkansas folk thought it was a good idea as well. I guess it's time to cue "Dixie."

Even though we expected the usual suspects (IE the Southern States). In actuality, the mix of states asking to secede is deeply bipartisan, ranging from the deeply red (Alabama and South Carolina) to the deeply blue (New York) to the swing (Pennsylvania). Nor are the states asking to secede in any way geographically clustered. Northern states (New York), Midwestern states (Michigan), Southern states (Alabama) and Western states (Nevada) have all filed petitions of their own. Most swing states this election cycle, with the exception of Ohio, have a petition of their own, and all of them have at least 1,000 signatures, with even some of the bluest states in the union easily keeping pace with their red counterparts. As I look at this hot mess, all I can say is what the hell is going on here! Maybe those who don't like the union might want to take Mitt Romney's suggestion to "self deport."

I as many of you watched the results come in and as far as I'm concerned it was fair and square including winning the popular vote, electoral college and big kahuna of Florida hands down. If this isn't enough, many GOP talking heads and pundits have 101 reasons why Mitt Romney simply lost the election. Many of his supporters are calling "foul" in terms that somehow the election was marred with trickery and vote stealing on behalf of Team Obama. However, what really took place was as many attempts at voter suppression that I've seen in my entire lifetime plus an all out campaign to mis-inform, mis-direct and cause as much upheaval as possible. President Obama stated in his acceptance speech that we've got to do something about making it easier for citizens to cast their votes. Surely theirs got to be a better way and I can't believe that there's not some collective genius minds out their that could devise an "App" or any other tech gadget to assist with collecting, verifying and counting the votes. If nothing else it would be good to at least make sure that plenty of ballots are available, early voting should be at least 30 days prior and better paid and trained polled workers couldn't hurt. As for those who feel that their states would be better off "going it alone," I think I would take a look a much of the east coast destruction or perhaps reflect on any hurricane, fire, or tornado event in the last ten years as ask yourself...really? Want to know just who all in on this movement check out: states with petitions to secede on  Got thoughts on this one, I'd love to hear about it!

HHS Launches

Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced the launch of, a comprehensive website providing one-stop access to the best and most up-to-date tobacco-related information from across its agencies. This consolidated resource includes general information on tobacco, federal and state laws and policies, health statistics, and evidence-based methods on how to quit. Arkansas' Department of Health has released funding announcements in regards to programming to be developed in this area. Including a sector designed to further study the LGBTQ community which is directly impacted through heart disease and other cancers.
“Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of premature and preventable death in the United States,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “ builds upon the Obama administration’s commitment to help tobacco users quit and prevent children from starting to use tobacco products.” uses responsive design, making information accessible anywhere, anytime on any platform, from smart phone to tablet to desktop. The website’s unique social media dashboard, “Say it - Share it,” constantly provides real time updates from HHS tobacco related social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Infographics, Podcasts, and Tumblr.
“HHS is committed to using technology to help Americans lead longer healthier lives,” said Assistant Secretary for Health Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H. “Today, as we commemorate the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, the launch of demonstrates our dedication to reducing the harms from tobacco use. Regardless of age, those who stop smoking and using tobacco can substantially reduce their risk for disease.”

During the last three years, HHS increased efforts to reduce tobacco use by coordinating across its agencies, to provide Americans with access to available cessation and education tools. A few key accomplishments include:

•As a result of the Affordable Care Act, most private health insurance plans must now cover without cost-sharing tobacco use screening and cessation interventions for tobacco users.

•The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched Tips From Former Smokers, a national education campaign that featured former smokers living with smoking-related diseases and disabilities.

•The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) built a national science-based tobacco product regulation program to reduce the impact of tobacco use on the nation’s health, especially among youth, such as enforcing the ban on cigarettes with characterizing flavors other than menthol like candy and fruit, as well as other restrictions on tobacco products and marketing.

•The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently launched Quitpal, a free smartphone app to support smokers working to become smoke-free.

•The Surgeon General released Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults. This 2012 report detailed the scope, health consequences and influences that lead to youth tobacco use and proven strategies that prevent its use.

Just today, CDC, in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, released new information indicating that 30 of America’s 50 largest cities are now protected by comprehensive laws that prohibit smoking in all indoor areas of private workplaces, restaurants and bars. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also released a new report today, showing that current cigarette smoking rates among 12-to 17-year-olds fell significantly from 2002 to 2010 in 41 states.

Collectively, these actions better enable the United States to accelerate progress toward achieving the national Healthy People objectives of reducing adult smoking from 19 percent to 12 percent and reducing smoking among high school students from 18.1 percent to 16 percent by 2020.

Visit for information on helping tobacco users quit and providing young people with information on avoiding or ending tobacco use.

Here is The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) new report

For more information on the Surgeon General released Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and young Adults, please visit

For more information on CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, please visit

Tongues Tied Down: What's the 411

By all indications it seems that the highly anticipated BGM support group. "Tongues Untied" seems unable to find any tongues willing to be untied. After several attempts including recognizing a facilitator, the group has yet to take off. At the behest of local case managers, the group was to be spearheaded by same gender loving individuals whom stated that there was a "need" for a venue to host such an outlet. The Living Affected Corporation offered to host the group based on their scheduling and act as a supportive entity as the group scaled up its activity. However to date, the group has been unable to make the connection to those whom the group was being designed. This forum was certainly a proponent of its existence and acted to promote it. Yet as the news of this unfolds, this forum has previously stated that many in the LGBTQ community continuously bitch about what's available and what's not in Little Rock. Especially as they travel to other mega gay hot spots such as Dallas, ATL or Miami. Yet it appears that even if its offered, there seems to be an indifference about participating or engaging the service unless there's some meager financial incentive involved. In our estimation, this bears the point that many local organization are becoming dazed at not how to reach its target population but exactly what these folks find appealing to empower or educate them in self efficacy. There have been focus groups, community meetings and many other attempts to gauge what the agenda is suppose to contain as well as damn near begging any and all stakeholders to come to the table to voice their opinions. Despite all that has been done, there continues to be overall "crickets" within much of the LGBTQ community. There was much clucking in lieu of the Chick-fil-a mash-up which resulted in a win for the conglomerate which cited that it had record breaking sales and profits. As a backdrop to this gay social action the outcomes were marginal. Therefore, as we survey the landscape, nothing seems to have changed on the LGBT front meanwhile the lines around the restaurant locations keep pumping out more sandwiches to happy customer galore.

Certainly I applaud all those whom exercised their right to protest, but we can't overlook the fact that it had no affect and it doesn't appear that the "community gulf" narrowed by any means. So where do we go from here or their or ah hell... anywhere?  I guess we will just have to keep on "wishin and hopin" that the rainbow community will someday snap out of it! Be warned that just because we won the White House this time around, don't hesitate for second that the Grand Old Party folks are not figuring out how they are going to definitely take back their country from both me and you. Often I hear from some readers that I need to offer suggestions on what to do. It seems very clear to me. Volunteering time, donating treasure, engaging policy makers, sharing your voices and basically get off your ass and do something to be about the change that you are demanding. In other words, "if you're not doing nothing, stop saying somethin.."  If additional details or updates develop this forum will be the first to share. If you've got some backtalk or a point of view then by all means bring it. We'll keep the light on for ya....

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

On the Road- Off the Road Challenge

Even though I'm back in the Big Chair for now, being "road warrior" takes it toll on a brother. After navigating long lines, security, my personal pat downs and all manner of the traveling public, sometimes I ponder "WTF."  Although these junkets are by all means necessary and I'm not really complaining but rather observing if would seem that the folks on the move haven't listened or learned much about making their flights. Over and over, again and again, I've watched customers complain because they are being charged because their bags are "over weight," upset because they didn't get to the airport in early fashion to get through security, bitch and moan because they forgot the "3-1-1" rule about those pesky liquids that get tossed and usually hold up the security line, then there's the individuals whom bring "skateboards, boom-boxes, boogie boards" and all types of stuff thinking that the overhead bins are limitless in what they can hold. As I make my way down the aisle with my usual "one compact" bag that sometime if the flight is full I check gate side in order to make sure that I can get to my assigned  seat in a timely manner. To help with much of this I make every attempt to "pre" do as much as possible. Including using the airline website for seat assignments, printing boarding passes, setting up alerts and if necessary checking bags through to my destination. Seeing that I have implants, I make it a priority to arrive early and be a prepared to move through security at a pace that will allow me not to be one of those "airport runners," who for untold reasons find themselves darting and dashing in a hell bent motion through the facility trying to get to the gate before the final boarding call. Since I'm afforded some chances to travel, I do my ever loving best to make the experience work for me without much angst or heartburn. Are their still some issues and challenges with traveling? By all means yes. The ongoing "nickel and dimed" of the traveling public has become extremely burdensome to almost trivial. As I move to the kiosk it reminds me if you want to board early theirs a fee. More leg room, pay here. Want a certain seat, here's the fee. Upgrade to First Class here for only a few more dollars. Pillow, Blanket, Oxygen...? What's next bathroom tickets or tokens? In the meantime, you just have to take it all in and I do what I can to make it work every time I walk into the now, Bill and Hillary Regional Airport. If you see me some early morning winging my way to the next destination, give me a shout out!

Using Your Mobile Phone to Find Health Information: New Data

Pew Internet & American Life Project released new data Exit Disclaimer today on using mobile phones to access health information.

  • “One in three cell phone owners (31%) have used their phone to look for health information. In a comparable, national survey conducted two years ago, 17% of cell phone owners had used their phones to look for health advice.”
  • “Smartphone owners lead this activity: 52% gather health information on their phones, compared with 6% of non-smartphone owners. Cell phone owners who are Latino, African American, between the ages of 18-49, or hold a college degree are also more likely to gather health information this way.”
Have you asked your clients and stakeholders if they want to access your HIV related information from their phones?
With the release of the Digital Government Strategy, we must ask ourselves “…how are we using technology to make a real difference in people’s lives.” – President Barack Obama“
We encourage you to learn more about the Digital Strategy and explore the Pew data. They are both tools to help the HIV community provide important HIV-related information and improve people’s lives.

Friday, November 09, 2012

And the Beat Goes On and ON Part 2

On the Road...Again

In case you didn't know and most likely you forgot. Although I produce COP 24/7, I have many other pursuits that often beckon for my attention. After all, I can't ask you to be about the business of the community, if I'm not actively engaged in taking care of business my self. In previous post I've mentioned that "hectic schedule" that often gets in the way of lot's of stuff.  Well it's come calling again this week as I make my way to the national convening of AIDS United in Nashville, Tennessee. For those of you whom think that when you see me navigating the now "Bill and Hillary National" Airport usually in the early AM, I'm on pleasure junket you couldn't be more wrong as if you just asked me to explain it to you. What this work demands is for those of us in the fight to keep making the necessary connections we need locally. Its a very simple concept to consider. Its imperative that we reach out among others involved in prevention work for models and insights that may we may be short on the home front. I've always believe that we have to go where others are making it happen and bring that energy plus plans that can be adapted to Arkansas. It is no secret that we have a severe shortage on committed individuals and passionate folks who can embrace the tidal wave of information that is needed to understand in reference to HIV and AIDS.  Believe it or not, there's much work to do despite the fact that we are three decades into the epidemic known as HIV and AIDS. Yet, we've had great break through and much is on the horizon, however, the "nuts and bolts" of energizing a working group to tackle what lies ahead is paramount into 2013. I implore you to ask your self, "what can I do as an individual to make a difference in the endgame of HIV and AIDS in Arkansas?" While you are pondering that thought, I'm jetting off to another opportunity to meet and greet those "out of the box thinkers" whom will share their wit, wisdom and above all their passion for ending HIV and AIDS. Check us out on Facebook for pictures, updates and whatever as we find it on the road! If you are not locked and loaded to this forum, why aren't you following us today!

COP 24/7 Special
The United States of Chronic Illness
Been hearing all the talk about the fiscal cliff madness? Wait there's more. With the afterglow of the current elections somewhat settling in and every pundit trying to figure out "what happened," looming just over the horizon is the Affordable Health Care Act that has left the station and is on its way down track 2014. However as we see the light of that oncoming legislation, there is a new documentary in the vein of Michael Moore's "SICKO" which slaps it viewers with a dose of medical reality about the U.S. health care system. Directed and Produced by Mathew Heineman, "Escape Fire" is another stark wake up call about health outcomes in the United States and what appears to be the "chronic illness" model to keeping both the healthy and unhealthy in the medical turnstile. In a synopsis from the website ( the filmmakers state that American health care costs are rising so rapidly that they could reach $4.2 trillion annually, roughly 20% of our gross domestic product, within ten years. We spend $300 billion a year on pharmaceutical drugs––almost as much as the rest of the world combined. We pay more, yet our health outcomes are worse. About 65% of Americans are overweight and almost 75% of health care costs are spent on preventable diseases that are the major causes of disability and death in our society. Ouch!!  Recently I noticed that on my own patient chart that my PCP( Personal Care Physician)  had noted that I was "overweight" as an official notation to the record. Talk about a bitch slap to the face.
It’s not surprising that health care tops many Americans' concerns and is at the center of a political firestorm in our nation's Capitol. But the current battle over cost and access does not ultimately address the root of the problem: we have a disease-care system, not a health care system.
ESCAPE FIRE examines the powerful forces maintaining the status quo, a medical industry designed for quick fixes rather than prevention, for profit-driven care rather than patient-driven care. After decades of resistance, a movement to bring innovative high-touch, low-cost methods of prevention and healing into our high-tech, costly system is finally gaining ground. This film follows dramatic human stories as well as leaders fighting to transform health care at the highest levels of medicine, industry, government, and even the US military. ESCAPE FIRE is about finding a way out. It's about saving the health of a nation. If you haven't navigated the system lately, I can personally attest that it can be quite challenging from co-pays to rising premiums that keeps one on his toes. I've even heard some folks quip that "if you not interested in dying then don't go to the hospital!" Yikes!! Yet despite the bleakness of it all, there are definitely some bright spots can be illuminated and certainly those that can be celebrated. But, what this films takes on is the fact that many of us with and without insurance fill the pipelines of the health care system sometimes by choice, unregulated behavior or through chronic illness. I believe that this film warrants some conversation and hope that you will check out the trailer below. Please feel free to share your thoughts, observations and nightmares with this forum.

So Many Issues, So Little Time for Lame Duck Session
On Tuesday, November 13 the House and Senate will convene for the “lame duck” session of the 112th Congress, which will run through the end of December. The list of legislative priorities far outweighs the six-week time frame that Members of Congress have to address those issues. The time frame offers less than 20 possible legislative days working 4 day weeks each week, except Thanksgiving and Christmas week.
To read Government Affairs Director Donna Crews' entire piece about the important issues in this lame duck session, visit:
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Thursday, November 08, 2012

And the COP 24/7 Beat Goes ON!!!

World AIDS Day Activities Unfold over State

December 1, 2012 will again serve as World AIDS Day in recognition of three decades of those who lost the battle, those dealing and living with HIV and AIDS as well as those activist and advocates whom continue to raise the issue throughout the world. Locally there will be a a variety of events that are either still in the planning phase or about to be announced. This forum's Executive Producer will participate in the Minority Health Commissions presentation November 29, 2012 of "Deep South," a film highlighting the plight of the disease within the "deep south" of the United States. Produced by Lisa Biagiotti, the film highlights "stigma and homophobia" that often precludes individual from either being tested or linking to care. The film maker wanted to chronicle four southerner as they endured a area that has suffered from polarization, high levels of neglect and abject poverty in the face of spiking infection rates. Also during the week, the Future Builders organization will be holding a symposium featuring workshops and guest speakers in regards to the impact of the disease within the black community and beyond. The event will be held on the NLR Pulaski Tech Campus, November 27. Times and detailed agenda to be announced. Additional events will be posted in this forum as they are announced.

ARCPG's Mabin Blitzes Media

Newly elected Co-Chair, Cornelius Mabin and COP 24/7 founder will be among the featured guest of Arkansas Educational Televisions Network's, AIDS in Arkansas 2012, Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 6:30 pm (check you local listing for channel designations). Moderated by local media personality Donna Terrell, the show sought to spotlight the 30 year timeline of HIV/AIDS including challenges and barriers that persist within what has been described as a "patchwork system of care." Subsequently, Mabin will appear on KHBN's (1050 AM) Talk of The Town along with Ms. Britini Mitchell speaking in support of the film presentation "Deep South" and issues surrounding the impact of the disease on the Black community and beyond. The show is also scheduled to be presented live 11.14.2012, at Noon.

Hosted by Arnessa Bennett, the show is slated to explore what HIV prevention messages and campaigns have been crafted to illuminate how individuals can be tested in the care continuum of "prevention as treatment." Helaine Williams, feature columnist for the Arkansas Gazette also interviewed Mabin as apart of her World AIDS Day coverage in which she showcases the development of the periodical "Our Lives, Our Stories, The Untold Stories of Women with AIDS," produced by The Living Affected Corporation produced in 2011.

Williams felt that inclusion about the publication was vital in her attempt to relate to her audience to the plight that HIV and AIDS has now engulf women and especially women of color. In the interview Mabin cited statistics from the Black Women's Health Imperative in which they illuminate that "every 35 minutes a women test positive for HIV in this country." He continued "of those who test positive Black women account for 66% of new cases of HIV among women. Consequently,  HIV/AIDS related illness is now the leading cause of death among Black women ages 25-34." The book features stories from participants in the "Plus Club" who formed to create their own social venue which was the basis of creating the substance for the project. After a brief book tour through cities Forrest City, Jonesboro and Little Rock, the contributors continue to offer their lived experiences in various capacities to local groups and statewide. The book is still available online at or area book store Pyramid Gallery. For information contact the agency at 379.8203.


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

And the Winner Is....!!

Obama Re-Elected to the Presidency
It came a little either before  or after 11 pm depending on what you were up to. I was in the mix and trying to stay grounded as the results began to trickle in. If you listened to the talking heads, it was going to be a barn burner, nail biter and certainly one that needed watching. However, as the evening droned on, it finally came as Wisconsin and then Ohio fell into Team Obama's slots. It was a wrap, Barack Obama had been re-elected as the 44th President of the United States. Election cycle 2012 was now officially O-V-A! Of course as we look ahead and prepare for the next four years, it is this forum sincere desire that lawmakers and policy wonks come together to find some common ground to solve some of the nations most pressing issues. Its imperative that both revenues sources and tax reform become a priority, finding means to create new jobs, climate issues such as "global warming" must be embraced, immigration reform, fixing tax loopholes and assessing what to do about the deficit in regards to entitlements or spending. Its all got to make it to the table and a fair debate undertaken to come to some stark realities about it all. There's no time to waste nor any tolerance for much tom foolery from anyone on Capitol Hill. Now that the people have spoken, let's get to work for the good of the nation!!!

Celebrate America Recycles Day on Thursday, Nov. 15 at Goodwill

Thursday, November 15 is America Recycles Day and from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., Goodwill Industries of Arkansas will host a recycling round-up at 109 Markham Park Drive in Little Rock with Keep Little Rock Beautiful and Shred Smart.

In celebration of America Recycles Day, Goodwill will accept computers and other e-waste for recycling, along with clothing, shoes, books and other household donations. Individuals making a donation between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Nov. 15 at the Markham Park Goodwill location will be entered to win a $50 Goodwill gift certificate. Shred Smart will also offer free shredding of confidential documents in the Markham Park Goodwill parking lot during that time.

America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to the promotion of recycling programs in the United States.

Goodwill’s donation centers are open year round for the collection of computers and household goods. For additional information on the event, visit or about the America Recycles Day at
Sign on with HIV Health Reform: State Advocates Letter to HHS on Federally-Facilitated and Partnership Exchanges

Now that the elections are over, it's full speed ahead on Affordable Care Act implementation.
That’s why HIV Health Reform is urging your organization to read and sign on to this letter from some of the nation’s top health care advocates about consumer fairness in health insurance exchanges. It touches on issues that are critical for vulnerable populations, including people with HIV and chronic diseases.

The deadline to sign on is Monday, November 12, so don’t delay!
As advocates in states that are likely to have a partnership or federally facilitated exchange (FFE) in 2014, it is critical for us to influence the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as they make further decisions on exchanges.

To inform that process, HIV Health Reform has compiled recommendations for implementation of consumer-friendly partnership and federally facilitated exchanges to provide quality, affordable coverage to consumers and small businesses.

It is critical for state and national advocates to weigh in on these issues before the deadline for states to submit their Exchange blueprints in mid-November. Please join this effort by signing on to this letter, and please also request that your allies and member organizations sign on as well. If you have any questions, please contact

Click here to sign on to the letter by close of business Monday, November 12, 2012:


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Taking it to the Polls

COP 24/7 Special
Health Exchanges 101: What you need to Know and Why

As the election clock ticks down to the wire, one of the most significant measures to come through the Obama administration was the Affordable Healthcare Act ( ACA) commonly referred to as "Obamacare." This mandate has already started some implementation with more it roll out come 2014 and beyond. What continues to amaze me is the fact that some folks for some odd reason think that this will be "free" insurance of some sort. Exactly what will be created are "exchanges" that will allow citizens to search for lowered cost insurance products. For those who demonstrate that they are in need there will be subsidies available meanwhile others may access medicaid or other health care outlets. Let's be clear, there will be some deductibles to pay, premiums and other associated cost including a tiered "penalty fee" for those who decide not to participate in the programs. Luckily Arkansas is well underway on formulating plans and making decisions on operations and rules of the program. Unfortunately as meetings have been taking place, it seems that despite some attempts, organizers have not seen an influx of those "uninsured" persons or other stakeholders whom should voice their observations about the "nuts and bolts" of the proposed exchanges. One key element of the exchanges that citizens should be concerned are the "essential health benefits." These benefits will be the core services ranging from mental health services to home health providers. Currently the EHB's of Arkansas' plan are most likely under review and ultimately will be released as November deadlines loom for states to confirm their status. At this point, Arkansas appears to actually be ahead of other states in this process but all is not confirmed due to "ebbing and flowing" of federal instructions. COP 24/7 has learned that in January 2013 there will be a "request for applications" for local community based organizations to apply to be apart of the navigating system. For your consideration, this forum offers the following as a means to continuing to clarify what's involved with "exchanges" and how they could affect you! Stay tune to this platform for the latest breaking news and updates.


Monday, November 05, 2012

The Body Politic 2012

It's all about Forward: Now and Forever
Election cycle 2012 has come almost full circle as we prepare for the last of the TV advertisements, radio blast, printed materials and all manner of reach out to the voting public that a candidate can garner to get that elusive vote. By now we've heard almost all we can take and then some. The half-truths, outright lies, mis-spoken thoughts, gaffs as well as what "truths" that could be sifted from all the rest.

 Amazing as it seems, for some reason our electorate continues to accept our kaleidoscope of voting rules, regulations, sketchy details plus what appears to be an almost insane way of electing anyone. Surely with all our technological advances and smart folks who make stuff for us to buy could come up with a more streamlined way to doing this business every four years.

Of course, the debate as to how to or why we should would again leave us all in the same the condition that we've been enduring for decades without resolve. Long lines in one part of the country, top down voter suppression tactics done with shit eating grins, confused voters who get ro-bo called or their local communities flooded with leaflets or billboard with garbage rhetoric in an all out attempt to keep folks from participating. Ladies and Gentlemen, I can't imagine what the rest of world thinks as they watch the good old US of A in the throws of a voting melt down while we globally portray to be the paragons of upholding a sure fire democratic process that includes everyone. In the meantime, we press on with yet another election cycle trying to discern who is the right candidate as the leader of the free world. As I've looked and listened to all that I can stand, its apparent to this forum that obvious choice is staying the course with President Barrack Obama. Attempting to "right the ship" or taking the helm when then carriage is off course is a daunting task for anyone. I can't forget and nor should anyone of the direness and disdain for the rule of law that occurred during the Bush administration.

 The outlandish theft, greed, fraud and total disregard for what now we keep hearing as "love of country" that permeated that administration and a whole host of characters that decidedly believed that they didn't do nothing wrong. Consequently those actions almost set the nation on a self destruct mode in which the next leader would have to deal with. With all that took place, we had to move forward and so we did under the leadership of Barrack Obama who set forth on mission to make a difference amidst charges that he wasn't "one of us," or his views are somehow connected to numerous nefarious concepts or conspiracies. Enough already. Mr. Obama has done what could be done in the face of character assaults, obstructionist agendas beyond reproach and a fickle electorate that's sometimes on the hunt for the next sparkling bobble head that tells them that what they've been experiencing is not what they've been really experiencing.

I'm proud to know that the Obama administration moved with the Libby Ledbetter equal pay for women bill, appointing numerous gays, lesbians and transgender individuals to his administration, hate crimes legislation's, visitation rights for LGBTQ patients and visitors, the National HIV/ AIDS Strategy, LGBT housing study, repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, ending the Iraq war theater, health care reform to address disparities and ultimately Mr.and Mrs. Obama's White House conference on bullying tells me that even though all decision may not have been seen as best by some, given the chance to continue working with our policymakers and lawmakers more can be achieved when we work together than being a divided house which may fall. Its clear to me that "four more for forty four" is where I should stand with hopes that others will take a chance to believe that this way forward is the best laid path to the future. Returning to past failed policies and mindsets is not an option for a nation that needs to not forget where we've been but where we need to go and that's forward. Please vote for the candidate of your choice. For more info contact your local election officials or

Friday, November 02, 2012

Racing the Moon and More

The Weekend Theater Presents

Raft Of The Medusa
By Joe Pintauro
November 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17.

At a time when AIDS rarely makes front-page headlines anymore, the Weekend Theater’s presentation of “Raft of the Medusa” is a potent reminder to shake us out of the complacent fallacy that 30-plus years into the epidemic, the disease is tamed, no need for worry anymore.

“It may not be a show everyone will want to see twice, but everyone should see it at least once,” says cast member Rachel Bland.

Joe Pintauro’s drama presents a microcosm of those affected through the device of a diverse therapy group clashing, confronting, and comforting each other as they work through their emotions about their devastating diagnosis.

The play opens Friday, Nov. 2, at the performance space located at Seventh and Chester streets in downtown Little Rock. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 17. Ralph Hyman directs, marking his 50th production at the theater.

Tickets, $16 for general admission and $12 for students and seniors age 65 and older, can be purchased on-line at or, based on availability, at the door. For information only, call 501-374-3761; reservations are not taken by phone.

The action takes place in 1988, at a time when getting the HIV-positive diagnosis was still considered an automatic death sentence – the retroviral drugs that today provide a chance of survival and controlling the symptoms had not yet come on the scene, and researchers were desperately trying to find any treatment.

Director Hyman says that having led an AIDS group in his psychotherapy practice for more than 10 years, he finds this play a very honest and accurate portrayal of what the first wave of PWA's (People With Aids) went through in the late 80's.

As cast member Ryan Whitfield notes, “It’s extremely raw and not sugar-coated.”

The title of the play was inspired by the painting of the same name by French artist Theodore Gericault, which depicts the aftermath of a tragic 1816 shipwreck in which the survivors hastily constructed a raft to get away – but still, most of them lost their lives to starvation and the elements.

Although the artwork isn’t directly invoked during the play, it does provide certain thematic undercurrents, in particular, the idea that even when the situation seems hopeless, clinging to your fellow human beings might be your best chance to stay afloat.

We first see Donald (Jimmy Walker) die in the arms of his lover, Michael (Ryan Whitfield), before segueing into the central action of the group therapy meeting led by psychiatrist Jerry (Alan Douglas). Yes, there are several gay and bisexual individuals in the group, but also several other types spanning all races, sexual orientations, and income levels, among them a professional woman, a high school girl, a drug dealer, and a homeless woman.

Those group members are played by Rachel Bland as Nairobi, Brad Burleson as Alec, Dale Ellis as Bob, Drew Ellis as Doug, Madison Hannahs as Cora, Morgan Henard as Tommy, Grace Lytle as Felicia, Josh Peace as Alan, Byron Taylor as Larry, and Manny Urban as Jimmy.

Although they’re all in the same boat, they’re on different points in the journey, experiencing grief, anger, or acceptance. “And when they clash, the confrontation is epic,” says Madison Hannahs.

They rage about who to blame for how they got AIDS, how the U.S. government is doing so little to fund research into treatments, about society’s responsibility for the epidemic. Even so, everyone ultimately recognizes that this is their “safe place,” where they won’t be ostracized, and where they can attain at least a certain measure of comfort.

Working on the play has been quite a learning experience for all the cast, several note, particularly the younger ones born well after AIDS became a given in American life. And despite the elements of the script that date the story to a particular time – for example, the still reverberating shock over actor Rock Hudson’s death from the disease – the themes of confrontation, not sweeping everything under the carpet, still resonate powerfully today. ( Photo credit: Jieming, Raft of the Medusa 2002)

Arkansas Democrats Will Offer Voter Protection Hot line on Election Day
The Democratic Party of Arkansas will offer a voter protection program with specific phone numbers voters can call if they experience challenges at the polls.

“Ensuring the right to vote in fair and lawful elections is one of our country’s and our state’s most sacred liberties,” Candace Martin, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Arkansas said. “In order to ensure every vote is counted, Arkansas Democrats have phone lines dedicated for voters to call should they experience any issues at the polls.”

Voters, who experience any challenges or feel they are being disenfranchised, should call one of these three numbers to report those issues:

Thursday, November 01, 2012

The Last Quarter of 2012

Can you believe it? Its the last quarter of 2012 and just think 2013 is just over the horizon. However, before all the holiday madness starts up, there's some electing to come this November 6. Of course you haven't forgot about that little task which will give us the leader of the free world. Unfortunately, I had hoped to early vote, but my damn schedule sometimes just doesn't allow for me to do some life's simple things. But as we arrive at Election Day 2012, I guess I will make my way to my near by polling station to cast my ballot. As a history buff, I'm well aware of the price that so many paid as well as those who bled and died for me to be able to freely make my political statement. Its something that we all should be proud of and certainly take note to be apart of the democratic process to elect our leaders. However, even as I fully understand this process, I've been bewildered that so many folks simply have no clue. I'm finding that many don't exactly know who their "Representative actually is and some really don't understand that even though theirs a popular vote of the people, its actually the "Electoral College" that cast the final ballots. Talk about a lack of "Civics 101!" Anyway, as all the mayhem of electing the next President of the United States rolls to an end for this cycle, I believe that before the next outing, we might need to some more educating on just how all this works and why. Go vote and make it count!

Statement from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on National Native American Heritage Month

Each November we celebrate National Native American Heritage Month – the history, culture, and character of American Indian and Alaska Native people.
This year’s theme, “Native Families Moving Ahead: Together We Strengthen Our Nations,” speaks to the importance of continuing on the path to a healthier future for all American families.
I had the opportunity this summer to see this theme in action in South Dakota, as I toured the new Indian Health Service (IHS) Cheyenne River Health Center, which along with enhanced medical services includes a Spiritual Room where patients and families can practice their traditions.
We are committed to ensuring the health and well-being of all Americans, which is why we are working to reduce the health disparities that have burdened American Indians and Alaska Natives. Historically, for example, American Indians and Alaska Natives have been more likely to die from diabetes than other racial and ethnic groups.

The Affordable Care Act includes the permanent authorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which makes it possible for IHS to update and expand health care services. An IHS report to Congress this year showed how the Special Diabetes Program for Indians has done a tremendous job of fighting this disease by increasing preventive services and access to treatment in Tribal communities.

The Affordable Care Act also helps all Americans by requiring insurers to allow young adults to stay on their parents’ health plans and requiring coverage with no out-of-pocket costs for certain preventive services. In 2014, there will be more affordable options for insurance coverage through new health insurance exchanges, or marketplaces.

Health care is just one area in which we are working to increase support for Indian Country. The Administration for Children and Families is working with the Native American Fatherhood and Families Association on a national campaign to promote the importance of fatherhood in Tribal communities. We’re also investing in Head Start and child care programs, innovative substance abuse and mental health initiatives, suicide prevention efforts, job training, and economic development campaigns.

Please join me in celebrating National Native American Heritage Month and bolstering our commitment to ensuring that all American Indian and Alaska Native people have the opportunity for a stronger and healthier future.( photo: fine art america collection)

CAR/DYSC Needs a Van!
Due to the steady increase of our efforts across the state as well as the increase in youth participating in DYSC every week, we have come to truly realize that we need a van. Having a dedicated van for our organization would mean that we can continue to have constant support for our extensions in Jonesboro, Conway, Fort Smith, and wherever else they grow. Having a van would also mean that we could transport the many youth who have expressed their desire to be a part of DYSC but do not have the necessary transportation. Talk about a NICE tax write off!!
If you are interested, or know a way to help, please contact us at: (501)244-9690 or email us at

Tobacco Funding Announced

The Arkansas Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program recently announced two Request for Applications (RFAs) to select organizations that will carry out local tobacco prevention and education programs in their communities. One will focus on community-based programs and the other on programs targeted to youth in kindergarten through college. For more information on these RFAs click