Monday, April 22, 2013

Racing the Updates Ahead and More

Wow! What a hell of few weeks its been for COP 24/7! As its Executive Producer I've been burning the candle at both ends with what appears to be no end in sight. With that said, I'm still perplexed at those of you whom keep waxing on that you "have nothing to do or are bored." REALLY? Just what is this all about and why are so many folks not doing something to be about the change that they wish to see! There's plenty of stuff to do all over the place and many of us are doing double duty to just keep matters flowing. Enough already from the legions of you who are sitting around engaging television reruns, whining about your lack of involvement, Facebook addicts or those who keep bitching about "what life should be." Life is beautiful and there's so many choices to made about the next chapter of our lives individually and collectively. Stop the insanity of "I'm bored" and come join those of us who are trying to make a difference for us all! Got it, then do something about it!!

Smoking in the LGBTQ Community

This forum has posted about the ongoing strategy sessions on developing a coalition to deal with
smoking in the LGBTQ community. The next meeting will be held May 20, 6pm at the Center for Artistic Revolution offices, 800 Scott Street inside the Presbyterian Church. Last week, The Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Program hosted another in a series of strategic planning sessions geared toward defining their way forward in establishing such a coalition. The meet up was facilitated by Mr. Toney Bailey, TCP Health Program Specialist and Dr. Gustavo Torrez (pictured) of the Fenway Health Institute. During the session it was discussed to the  lack of health data on the LGBT community as well as defining assessments concerning health issues seen as priorities. Highlighted in the session was the fact that the organizing table lacked full participation from various factions of the LGBTQ community including people of color, transgendered, gay youth and advocates. As this group has been in an organizing mode, STRILITE, affiliate of The Living Affected Corporation has partnered with Future Builders, Inc to move forward to with producing public forums as well as in-house training meetings concerning LGBT smoking cessation strategies. According to co-facilitator Kevin Holmes, "we feel good about the turn out so far and the progress of our efforts to start discussions about smoking cessation." He continued, "I hope that we will be able to build on this momentum and continue to raise awareness about this important health issues." COP 24/7 vows to stay on point as these projects develop and encourages the movers and shakers in the community to become engaged with these initiatives. If you've got observations, comments, stories or concerns, hit us up to get the dialog flowing!

Community Building: LA Corp Sponsors Pinnacle Mountain Climb

The Living Affected Corporation is planning a Community Pinnacle Mountain Climb, May 18, at 1pm, located across from the Pinnacle Mountain Visitor's Center. Organizers Max C. and John P. Jones state that they are excited about the response thus far and hopes that this enthusiasm follows through to the event including two bar outreaches beginning May 1 at 610  and Friday May 3rd at TRAXs.

The idea is a follow up to a series of community building exercises being promoted by the agency in an attempt to address a multitude of issues and challenges presented by participants. Organizers Max Caberra and PJ Jones expressed that they wanted to volunteer for the organization while desiring that their first activity be something "outdoorsy" as well as decidedly community minded.

Therefore, the two developed the idea to also include a small community forum with guest speakers from area agencies such as Lucie's Place, Center for Artistic Revolution and Arkansans for Equality, plus a mini cookout and a day of promoting "each one helping one" up the mountain trail.

"We plan also to share our adventure on Facebook, maybe upload some video's on YouTube while informing others as to this team building event," said Caberra. "I hope that this will be one of several ideas that we've talked about as new volunteers of LA Corp." Currently the duo are seeking donations, contributions, gifts, volunteers and supporters for the event. If you are interested in being apart of the community forum or volunteering call 379.8203 for more info. Check out the new Facebook event page for updates!!
Diversity ToolboxLGBT stories need ethnic, gender diversity

By Sherri Williams
The Supreme Court hearing cases this year on same-sex marriage have thrust gay rights issues to the forefront again. One dominant voice continues to reflect the perspective of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in news: the white male.

“Mainstream (media) organizations will go to the one or two white organizations they know about,” said Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, a statewide gay rights organization based in Atlanta.

The absence of the voices of people of color, women and transgender people from news stories about LGBT issues implies that they don’t exist, said Daryl C. Hannah, director of media and community partnerships for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

“Because of the lack of representation in media, a lot of the concerns that the community has have been left out,” Hannah said.

News stories about the same-sex marriage hearings and their impact and outcome provide an opportunity for reporters to add a variety of LGBT voices to their stories and reflect how diverse communities are affected.

Here are some resources that can help reporters add different LGBT perspectives into stories:

CONTACT NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONSThe National Black Justice Coalition has a team of black LGBT experts who are willing to talk to the press, said Kimberley McLeod, communications director for the coalition.

McLeod says her group has worked closely with national magazines to find LGBT people of color for news stories.

Diverse voices in LGBT stories are crucial because media images have an impact on lawmakers, McLeod said.

“I see the national conversation is not inclusive of people at the intersections of racial equality and LGBT equality,” she said. “These multiple ‘isms’ that affect us are not being addressed in policy.”

Kylar W. Broadus, executive director of the Trans People of Color Coalition, said reporters must stop looking in the same places for LGBT sources because they’re missing nuances and important story angles.

“If you’re only capturing a gay white man’s voice, you’re missing a huge part of American culture and the many issues that people of color face,” Broadus said.

It’s also important for reporters to have gender diversity in their stories. Such voices can illuminate ways that issues including sexual harassment, sexual violence and job discrimination disproportionately affect lesbians and transgender people, McLeod said.

McLeod also suggests that reporters reach out to groups such as the National Association of Black Journalists’ LGBT Task Force and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association.

The institute was formed in 2011 to change the face of LGBT sources reflected in news stories.

GLAAD has trained 52 people across the country through the institute. “We have a robust database of people who are interested in doing media and have interesting stories that can make your stories better,” Hannah said.

Hannah said GLAAD’s experts can also help reporters contextualize stories and have their LGBT diversity stories go beyond the stereotypical black versus gay story and write about people who are black and gay.

An LGBT community center is a good place for reporters to look for diverse voices because they will have an idea of the range of organizations in the community, Graham said. His organization, Georgia Equality, and the Health Initiative run the Phillip Rush Center, an LGBT community center in Atlanta.

LGBT centers can especially assist deadline reporters. But when journalists know that important stories such as the same-sex Supreme Court hearings are coming up, they should develop relationships with gay leaders and activists of color to prepare for their news coverage, Graham said.

But journalists don’t have to wait for gay issues to include diverse LGBT voices into stories, Graham said. They can incorporate them into issues they already cover.

“Do some human interest stories and profiles on members of the LGBT community,” Graham said. “Highlight some of the other stories and experiences that are out there in the LGBT community. There are a lot of rich stories.”

Online media outlets can help direct reporters to fresh diverse LGBT voices. Follow bloggers, activists and online community groups on Twitter and Facebook and subscribe to their blogs to stay updated on LGBT issues and how they affect different groups.

Spectra Speaks, founder of the media publishing and advocacy organization Queer Women of Color Media Wire, says multiple identities manifest in the lives of LGBT people of color. When reporters leave them out of stories, “They’re leaving out layers of oppressions.”

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