Friday, February 08, 2013

Young, Gifted and Black Part 2

COP 24/7 Special
DoubleTake: Getting Arkansas in the Game of the Endgame of HIV and AIDS

Watch HIV, Stigma & The Black Church on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Black HIV Awareness Day 2013 came and went in Arkansas. Did you miss it? Hear anything about it? See much about it? Most likely not because not much was done to recognize this day even as we continue to learn that statewide more young gay black men are being discovered as newly infected or affected by HIV and AIDS. Adding to this dismay is a report that cited Arkansas' poor sexual health outcomes listing the state near the bottom lest our favorite other red headed step sister Mississippi.  Last year the ground breaking documentary Endgame: AIDS in Black America produced and directed by award winning film maker Renata Simone, offered a gripping two hour overview of how the impact of this health crisis continues as the disease surpasses three decades that nobody can deny has ramped up the black communities viral load through rampant homophobia, stigma, isolation, prejudice, and silence. 

As a crusader concerning owning the fight of HIV and AIDS, its has become overwhelming to further learn that many of the "young, gifted and Black" have decided that HIV is something to be expected  as a strange as well as misguided "rite of passage" in their lives. All to often I am hearing that these young men and others have taken the position that they have no reasons to live based on what life is serving them at this critical junction. I am totally disturbed that despite tireless efforts, long hours, and die heart caring it appears that the deck may be stacked against me.

I've even appeared on local AETN to add my clarion voice to the issue yet many of those who needed to see my appearance or hear my evidence on the matter most likely took the stance, "ain't nobody got time to be hearing that."  In 2012, I immersed myself in trying to do as much mentoring, outreaching, counseling and creating safe spaces for those living with HIV and AIDS to share their lived experiences. Yet again and despite it all there continues to be barriers and challenges that have cause me personal angst amidst professional anger at a tangled and dysfuntional system that ebbs and flows in policy, performance thresholds, leadership and direction.

As an advocate, such conditions are not conducive to keeping up the good fight. Although I have a passion and deep seeded stake in the issue, the ongoing systematic stumbling blocks presented are not distinct killers to not only morale but objectives. So where do we go from here?  Why do we go on? Where do we go next and just how many more gay Black males are allowed to die has to be answered. But by who? Will it be answered in the next community assessment? Will will wait until sound leadership is found? Will it be done between 8 and 4:30 pm?  When will the Arkansas sytem stop playing games with the endgame of HIV and AIDS? If there's answers, the floor is open and ready for your comments.

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