Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Truthful Tuesday COP 24/7 Style

Sending Out a SOS: I AM Enough Symposium Sends Video

The Saving Ourselves Symposium kicking off June 5-7, in Memphis, TN is being hosted by The Red Door Foundation under the direction of Mr. Marvell L.Terry II. This party with a purpose event will fill the week with a film presentation of Dear Dad concerning the role that father's play within the lives of their SGL son's to a Saturday night gala featuring the winners of their Flamethrower Award. COP 24/7's EP, C. Mabin was apart of the inaugural class and will be in attendance for the conference this year.  To show their social media savvy, the organization has created and forwarded this video highlighting guest presenters and speakers on topics ranging from interpersonal relationships to understanding personal economics. There is still time to register for this free conference. All details can be found on their Facebook page or at www.trdfmemphis.com

Truthful Tuesdays Wants YOU!!

Truthful Tuesday is held each week at noon on the Capitol Steps in downtown Little Rock. The event is the brainchild of "a coalition built on the idea that our government should be "by the people," "of the people," and "for the people. Each week a social justice issue is the focus ranging from last week's LGBT/ Marriage Equality format to this weeks Voter's Rights. At this posting a circuit judge has found that the state's Voter ID law as unconstitutional. At the forefront of the Arkansas Truthful Tuesday Coalition  is local minister Rev.Wendell Griffin whom brings a spirited "tent revival " tone to each meeting as he leads a mantra that calls attendees to attention in regards to that day's subject. Check out there Facebook page for more information and stay tuned to this forum for additional coverage.

Southern Health Partners

The Southern Health Partners are a group of advocates from 12 Southern states working toward proactive state, regional, and national health care reform. The organization is hosting it's annual Southern Health Partners convening June 25-27 in Atlanta. Arkansas HIV Planning Group Co-Chair and licensed ACA Navigator Cornelius Mabin will attend from Arkansas.

At this conference, invited advocates from all over the south will come and share best practices, brainstorm challenges, and engage with each other as part of a Southern advocates learning community. There will be several sessions that discuss health equity, including a roundtable specifically on LGBT health equity initiatives. Mabin stated, "I believe this will be another unique opportunity to network while building a foundational relationship with the Community Catalyst organization." He continued, "It's imperative that we continue to not be "state bound," but rather making sure that Arkansas has credible representation at all tables especially as we further unpack how the ACA will impact Ryan White access and the LGBTQ community at large."

Community Catalyst's Southern Health Partners initiative, established in 2008, builds and strengthens the capacity of state-based consumer organizations that represent the needs and concerns of the
uninsured, underinsured, and members of vulnerable populations.

The South as a region encompasses similar challenges with regard to health care needs, racial, ethnic and class disparities, poverty, and political environments. Similarly, policymakers from one Southern state often look to neighboring states when developing policy approaches. Community Catalyst supports Southern advocates to use this regional framework to improve health care access, affordability and quality, expand access to Medicaid, strengthen charity care and community benefit, and address substance use disorders and other local and state health policy issues.

Many of the Southern states have the highest percentage of uninsured populations in the country, with the majority of the uninsured living below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Given this, the South can reap significant economic and health outcomes advances with implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Nearly 14 million people will either be newly eligible to receive health coverage through Medicaid expansion or a subsidy through the new health insurance Marketplaces. To ensure these benefits are actualized, Southern Health Partners advocates are now working to implement the ACA at the state level, which involves policy analysis and robust grassroots organizing campaigns.

Community Catalyst supports state advocates' work by providing assistance with various advocacy capacities, including coalition and stakeholder alliances, resource development, grassroots organizing, communications, and policy analysis and advocacy. Community Catalyst fosters a learning environment for Southern advocates to share best practices, explore new ideas and learn from each other's experience. The Southern Health Partners learning community connects advocates-giving them a needed forum to effectively collaborative with and learn from their peers through conference calls and regional meetings.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Saluting Memorial Day 2014

Got You Six!!
It's Memorial Day 2014 and the work the continue as we honor and salute our troops stateside and abroad. Enjoy the day and watch for updates, links and so much more from COP 24/7. 
We salute the men and women who have offered their service to our nation as defenders of freedom and the countries movement toward full inclusion of all of its citizens.
This forum has been as alarmed and outraged to the now publicly acknowledged issues and challenges that our service men and women have encountered at some VA locations across the country. This situation is totally unacceptable especially as more theater's of war are scaled down with many more service people returning seeking care and other services. Although there are numerous social determinants that are affecting our veteran population.
We at COP 24/7 are also equally aware that nationally, 23,463 HIV infected Veterans were in VHA care in 2008 according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

It is imperative that we understand that although the number of HIV infected Veterans in VHA care has changed little over the past several years, there has been a geographic shift in their distribution.

Furthermore, we know that just over 50% of the Veteran population with HIV/AIDS received care in the South. Demographically the majority of HIV infected Veterans in care are men (97%); nonetheless, the VHA provides care to a substantial number (over 600) of HIV infected women.

The agency also cites that In 2008, Blacks comprised half of the VHA HIV infected population (50%), a substantially greater proportion than the overall Veteran population of which 11% is Black.

Seven percent of HIV infected Veterans identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino which is only slightly higher than the six percent of the overall VHA population that is Hispanic. Less than 1% of HIV infected Veterans in VHA care are American Indian, Alaskan Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander.

We honor those for their service and encourage that currently reported VA issues and challenges concerning health care of these citizens receives the full throated attention it deserves and demands of our government officials

Honor Their Sacrifices, Lift the Transgender Ban

On Memorial Day we honor and reflect on those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, including transgender service members who gave their lives while having to serve in silence. On this day, we are asking that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel honor these brave people — and those who serve today and in the future — to remove the dishonorable ban that bars transgender people from serving in the military.

Currently there are over 15,145 transgender personnel who currently serve in active, Guard, and reserve components of the military. Transgender individuals are twice as likely to serve in the military as non-trans individuals. These transgender people are forced to hide in the closet, as current military medical codes bar transgender people from serving in the military. Yet a recent commission which included former U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders found that there was “no compelling medical reason” that transgender people should be barred from serving.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has also recently called for a re-examination of the ban on transgender service. In an interview on May 11, Hagel stated that “I’m open to those assessments, because — again, I go back to the bottom line — every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have an opportunity if they fit the qualifications and can do it.”

We urge Secretary Hagel to lift the ban immediately. It is time for us to finish the job that the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell left unfinished. Today, for Memorial Day, it’s time to make sure transgender people are honored with the same respect as every other service member who has made great sacrifices for our country. Please, take a moment today to honor our transgender service members by reading our blog post and sharing it.

Kylar Broadus signature
Kylar Broadus, Senior Policy Counsel and Director of the Trans Civil Rights Project
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Friday, May 23, 2014

Staying in the Deep End of COP 24/7

What can we say? Sometimes producing this forum gets the best of me. So I'm not perfect and have never attempted such a feat. Also, every now and then some scripting or formatting causes hiccups and misplaced words that appear to be correct then by golly some how fall out of sync. Nevertheless, the intentions are usually clear and certainly the power behind our words still make the point. It's all in a day's work or should I say multiple days work when rolling out this forum as well as our collaboration with the new LGBTQ publication The READ.(www.theread.net) If you haven't had a chance to see that terra firma newspaper than I certainly suggest that you do. But don't forget that you can also follow COP 24/7 via subscribe, RSS feed and yes sir we are also available for your mobile devices too. Come follow the information leader and with that said, let's dive in...

Finger on the "We're Crazy" Button

We posted yesterday about the raging Rapert that is Senator Jason Rapert (R-Conway) that has been on a tireless and red meat throwing diatribe about instituting a "judicial recall" petition drive in
response to the marriage equality ruling from Judge Chris Piazza earlier this month. That ruling has been put on ice by the Arkansas Supreme Court as appeals are readied.

Meanwhile, Fiddler Rapert keeps posting online quips that has resulted in a unique fund raising campaign for candidate Tyler Pearson who is running to defeat Rapert in District 35. The campaign entitled, Rule Out Arkansas' Rapert ( ROAR) is hosted by LR Pride Chairperson, J. Pierce on that social media behemoth Facebook. Basically the organizer ask individuals to donate to the linkhttps://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/tylerpearson each time Rapert post more out cries and right wing nut verbiage.

It appears that this guy is just full of possible fund raising dings as he seems to have no end to his ranting and raving that the will of the people has been usurped. Not to mention that he still wants to "take back the country for God." I think you get the picture. The link re-directs to a Act Blue platform that has a small statement from Pearson stating, " I promise to match your contribution with a work ethic that you can be proud of. I am running for State Senate because I want to represent the people with the respect and integrity they deserve." So far the site reports that 40 individuals have donated $4,070 toward a goal of $5,000.

Other information from the site includes the origins of ActBlue which was founded by Matt DeBergalis who serves a Board Chairman and Benjamin Rahn in 2004 to leverage Democratic activists as effective political evangelists in their communities on- and off-line. ActBlue has raised over $150 million dollars, driving successful fundraising at all levels of the ballot. Now the nation's largest source of funds for Democratic campaigns and organizations, ActBlue represents an alternative vision for grassroots funded politics. With that kind of loot seems like Pearson is in good company. And just for the record, readers and supporters can also join our Rainbow Circle of Friends to share your donations toward our advocacy work to bring equality to all Arkansans. Use our secure Pay Pal portal to show your pride today!

Welcome to the HRC Wedding Registry Page

COP 24/7 has been  constant voice about capacity building, organizational build out and unrestricted funding streams for local community base organizations. Of course you need crafty and committed folks for any and all of that. Case in point, the HRC team stays busy with developing all manner of
fund raising and outreach to get its captive audiences to donate to their numerous efforts. Enter the HRC Wedding Registry page where couples can register there special day while allowing others to perhaps forsake the toasters and towel sets but donate to HRC instead. This ingenuous little tool not only gathers precious personal data but the organization can get some loot to boot. Not sure how many folks have been using this, but there is a "search" button involved to find couples that you may know. It's this type of out of the box thinking that allows entities such as this to maximize its ability to raise funds. May with there new south bound initiative, maybe some of this type of technical assistance and scale up could come to our local organizations.

Don't forget that if you need further assistance to understand your new insurance or you have Ryan White questions, you can get help at 501-349-7777. Do it today!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Taking it to the Deep End of COP 24/7

All Hat and No Cattle: Rapert Rages On

Well you wouldn't ya know it and certainly COP 24/7 expected more fall out over the recent marriage equality decision that simply had folks hair on fire and other's almost exploding. Enter our resident "God, Gays and Guns" fiddler himself Sen. Jason Rapert ( R-Conway). What will this busta not do or say that requires COP 34/7 to hit the "we're crazy" button again!!

Rapert has just been beside himself ever since that Piazza decision.  But hold on a minute, isn't this the same dude that has been mucho loco about policing women's vagina's with a nine inch probe? Not to mention more crazy talk about "taking the country for the Lord," while attacking the President Obama about visiting with Muslim leaders to the White House instead of attending the national
prayer breakfast for Rapert was totally incorrect. And add to his crazy greatest hits is his fetal heartbeat bill.

And now the good Senator has the audacity, temerity and down right gall to align himself with a cadre of African American minister's on the Capitol steps on yesterday. This is a blatant attempt to do a "Prop 8" move that somehow there's a overwhelming support against the LGBTQ community from seeking full inclusion in our society.

Allegedly, Rapert waxed on with this comment, "we're not going to allow minorities to run roughshod over what you people believe in." Really you people? And what people would that be Mr. Rapert? Have not your own policies and rhetoric been some of the most inane and asinine as well as embarrassing verbiage spewed since being elected. Just so you know Rapert has garnered several Facebook pages devoted to either debunking his crazy or trying to fund raise for another candidate to replace him. Check this link to donate to candidate Tyler Pearson: https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/tylerpearson

Applicants Needed for Initiative

The National Minority AIDS Council is proud to launch its 2014 Youth Initiative to END the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in America. HIV disproportionately impacts America’s young people, especially young gay and bisexual men of color. Approximately 25% of all new infections occur in youth and between 2007 and 2010, there was a 22% increase among gay men aged 13–24. Our initiative, sponsored by ViiV Healthcare, the Magic Johnson Foundation and Advocates for Youth aims to assist youth in becoming more effective and informed health advocates, and empowering them to become more active in their communities.

If you're between 18 and 25, apply to be one of our youth activists today! 

Selected participants will receive a scholarship to attend the 2014 United States Conference on AIDS in San Diego, CA from October 2-5, 2014. At the conference, they will be exposed to the most cutting edge tools and information available to fight this epidemic, as well as have the opportunity to meet with incredible leaders from the HIV community, including government officials, private funders, and activists who have been working in this field for decades.

Participants will also participate in various events throughout 2014, from webinars to conference calls, to help further develop their skills and knowledge and prepare them to lead efforts to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in their communities and across the country.

NMAC is thrilled to announce the launch of this exciting new initiative and to call for applicants today! The deadline to apply is June 11, so spread the word! For more than 25 years, NMAC has worked to develop leadership in communities of color to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic and is proud to have the opportunity to help develop the skills of a new generation of leaders.
Click here to apply today!

Come like our Facebook page and don't forget to join our Rainbow Circle of Friends with your donations of $10, $25 or your choice by clicking our secured Pay Pal button. Do it today!!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Working the Hump and More

As Dolly would say "working nine to five, what a way to make a living," is not the life that COP 24/7 always enjoys. Just for the record, it's almost never the case. Because kicking out this platform as well as tackling many of our ever evolving endeavors can be a daunting task to say the least. Why heck, just doing this blog for the last ten years itself gives one really something to think about when it comes to longevity and staying power. Wow, who knew! With all that said, it's another face paced, its hot up in here week at COP 24/7!! Let's dive right in, shall we...

Truthful Tuesday Talks Back

On yesterday COP 24/7 was on the scene of Truthful Tuesday which is held each week at noon on the Capitol Steps in downtown Little Rock. The event is the brainchild of "a coalition built on the idea
that our government should be "by the people," "of the people," and "for the people." At the forefront of the Arkansas Truthful Tuesday Coalition  is Rev. Wendell Griffin whom brings a spirited "tent revival " tone that speaks to an array of social justice issues ranging from voter's rights to yesterday's marriage equality.

Griffin led participants in a "Truthful Tuesday" chant ala mantra that set the pace for the numerous speakers who shared their lived experiences and overviews of how their lives have been impacted due to lawmakers who have been supportive of keeping LGBTQ individuals just short of full inclusion. Dressed in his pastoral robe, Griffin decried that you can get married in the church house but you can't get a license their. Further he outlined that "equality" should be and has always been about all people. Griffin was among the clergy who was available to offer his services as couples sought licenses and marriage ceremonies in the county court house May 12th. At this time a legal "stay" has been placed by the Arkansas Supreme Court that
blocked further same gender marriages that was afforded through a legal decision by Circuit Judge Chris Piazza May 9th. (pictured left: Griffin offering vows to S. Thomas and A. Cox Thomas)

The thirty minute meet up featured transgendered advocate Tommie Luckett who told the audience of her rise from some self imposed isolation to become more engaged and active in her participation at this year's AIDS Watch 2014 and attendance at HIV Criminalization conference in Iowa next month. " I had never flown on plane, never spoke large groups but all of this has come to me recently and I'm glad that I decided to become more involved." she said.

 Local comedian and entrepreneur, Angie Richardson addressed the crowd about her personal involvement and her desire to encourage many in the African American community to become more visible in their participation. CAR founder and ED, gave a passionate speech about acceptance, diversity and how the system continues to be tilted toward exclusion rather than inclusion of gay people especially around the marriage equality issue. Griffin concluded the meeting with words of encouragement that those participating would return next week to add the chorus of voices talking back to those who would not embrace the concept of "by the people, of the people."

Rocking the Vote In Purple

Yesterday was "Super Tuesday 2014" in which the electorate got to either participate or not participate considering the low voter turn out. Talking heads were in non stop coverage and re-coverage of all things politics throughout the evening. On the ABC website it was reported, "No
surprise here. The Associated Press declared Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., as the winners of their respective primaries in Arkansas. Both Pryor and Cotton were uncontested in the primary races, allowing them to focus on the general election instead of waging tough primary fights. Recent polls show Pryor, whose father held the same Senate seat he’s looking to hold onto, ahead of Cotton by double digits." Talkers such as MSNBC Chuck Todd mused on that Arkansas politics was ebbing and flowing from "red to purple" in nature as far as a big mash up of both Republican and Democratic office holders. COP 24/7 encourages our readers to be informed as to their choices and those whom will be running in the November 4th fall out.

 For the LGBTQ community there is no actual data to support exactly "what say ye" about any candidates. Candidate Drew Pritt was defeated by D.R. Massey in his bid for District 6 Justice of the Peace position and offered a concession note on his Facebook page. And its that it's still "crickets" from the Stonewall Democrats and believe it or not as "deep red" as Arkansas has been described apparently there is no Log Cabin Republican group in the state. There could be some "national" members but according to their website they show no bona fide organization in place. On a national front Clay Aiken won his primary bid for a North Carolina's Congressional seat. Now that a race that will definitely be watched along with that Pryor and Cotton barn burner that has the airwaves filled with much back and forth. Stay tuned for more updates...

Got Questions? Need Answers? Not sure about your Ryan White Coverage?  There's still some assistance available about the Affordable Care Act! Call 1-877-902-7448


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Big Tuesday Spining Wheel

Rocking the Vote 2014

Its fat Tuesday election style as the mid-term elections roll forward into the general election come Nov. 4. If didn't early vote, this is your day to do your civic duty and make your way to the polls to cast your ballot. COP 24/7 urges everyone to do your homework on candidate in an effort to seek
those who want to see Arkansas prosper and embrace human rights issues that will make a difference for us all. With marriage equality on hold until later this year, it is high time that the LGBTQ community move toward further understanding the body politic and what impact that the community needs to do to impact it. This forum has suggested panel discussions, capacity building, strategy sessions and all manner of empowering the rainbow electorate.

It is the opinion of COP 24/7 that the infusion of energy from HRC's Project One America will be based in positioning possible candidates in line to assume local offices. As previously stated on this platform, this movement is the ultimate catalyst to making the positive and perhaps lasting changes that will directly affect the LGBTQ construct. Yet if we already have a fully funded brigade of those who do not have our best interest at hand already in place makes the journey a further uphill battle. So rock the vote, don't forget your ID and mark that ballot for the candidate of your choice!!

Faith and Community Leaders Play a Critical Role in Supporting their Communities’ Mental Health Needs

Faith and community leaders play a critical role in raising awareness of and supporting mental health in their communities by sharing supportive messages and providing information about how to get help when it’s needed. When people and families are facing mental health problems, they often turn to trusted members of their community for help. As first responders, faith and other neighborhood leaders can make a huge difference in how the individual and community copes and heals – but only if they know what to do.

That’s why the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the HHS Partnership Center are proud to announce two new publications that help guide faith-based and community leaders in responding to the mental health needs of their communities: Information for Faith-Based and Community Leaders, Talking Points for Faith-Based Communities and Everyone Can Play a Role in the Conversation about Mental Health, Faith-Based Organizations Fact Sheet. These publications can help communities and congregations raise awareness about mental health issues and emphasize the importance of people seeking help when needed.

In addition to these publications, SAMHSA has created a host of other resources to help communities support mental health and mental health care as part of President Obama’s Now is the Time initiative. These resources include a resource guide for mayors, and discussion guide and a planning guide for communities. Click here to download these resources. SAMHSA also has several grant opportunities available to support Now is the Time activities. For more information, click here.

To always get the latest information on SAMHSA resources and grants, be sure to visit SAMHSA.gov, follow us on twitter (@samhsagov), and like our Facebook page.

The White House HIV and The South Meeting.  

The White House Office of National AIDS Policy, working with SASI and other Southern partners, is hosting a White House meeting focusing on HIV and the South. June 18, 2014 in Washington D.C.
Click here to see the meeting agenda.  SASI commends the White House for focusing on the region of the country with 49% of newly reported HIV infections in 2011. Watch this forum for more updates and spotlights on the Arkansas delegation slated to attend.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Riding the Equality Wave

Rocking the 2014 Vote in Arkansas

Even though May 20th's voting cycle is a primary for the general election come November 4th. It is by no means a time to sit on your hands and not do your civic duty to vote for the candidates of your choice. And oh yeah, and don't forget to take your ID whether its your old piece or your newly married name.

This is most significant as the issue of marriage equality looms stymied by a court stay and adversaries are scrambling to find any and all ways to derail the equality wave. COP 24/7 has been steadfast that the political game has to be in the arsenal toward addressing critical issues around housing, employment, food injustice, transportation issues and access to more affordable education outlets. Furthermore gay voters need to educated themselves on the candidates such as voting records of one Sen. Mark Pryor who has reiterated that he remains one of the only Democratic senators who still does not support marriage equality.

This forum has posted item after item on election processes from possible local issues to candidates forums. Unfortunately necessary data on the gay electorate is sketchy and most likely uncollected. Despite all manner of community assessments COP 24/7 is unaware of any metrics or study's on exactly how gay Arkansans participate during election cycles despite there being a Stonewall Democrat of Arkansas chapter which I suggest they consider this as a future project. Let's face it, it's always about the numbers and other statistical data to make the necessary points.

Upon checking their website, it had not been updated since January 2012 with only a FB statement on its social media plugin. COP 24/7 certainly understands the time and effort needed to keep online platforms current but the site also has limited links and what appears to be no network of state congressional liaisons developed as yet.

With the recent HRC movements and other associated maneuvers taking place including the launch of a statewide newspaper, The READ, its imperative that the LGBTQ construct make there voices known on all levels from the ballot box to the money boxes of those whom support our community. Even though the political scene can be daunting and sometimes damn near confusing, it is high time that we begin circling our own wagons through strategy sessions, political boot camps, or direct folks to learning opportunities around this process. In the meantime if you do nothing else, at least vote! Watch for more information and updates on this forum!

The READ Rolls with Launch

The  newly minted newspaper The READ launched last Friday in a SRO crowd at The New 610 in downtown Little Rock. Its was the inaugural edition which featured a  20 page mix of personal lived experienced stories, spotlight articles on local entertainers Brittney Paige and A. Magee, as well as advice columns and human interest articles.

Under the direction of LA Corp Publishing of The Living Affected Corporation, the monthly paper was designed to address some of the communication voids and media access that local businesses could utilize to showcase their products and services. The organization has been at the publishing forefront of producing LGBTQ centric items in Arkansas. Last year's OMNIBUS was the first gay health journal, Our Lives, Our Stories The Untold Stories of Women with AIDS was a ground breaking work that allow women to come from the shadows to share their voices.

"COP 24/7 has enjoined the creative crew of LA Corp publishing to cross pollinate our media efforts to increase both entities statewide "foot print" in the gay community and beyond" said Managing Editor of The READ and COP 24/7 Executive Producer, C. Mabin. " There had been so much dialog about "why is there no newspaper," that it seemed that this was the obvious next step in our social justice entrepreneurial plan.

Making this move was deemed necessary considering the funding landscape that can be a "crap shoot." Local CBO's have to diversify their funding streams in search of unrestricted funds to operate. I've championed this element to any and all local groups from Pride organizers to social groups."  

Editorial Director, Tonya Estell stated, " there was lot's of work put into this edition." She continued, " I feel we did our best to cover many angles of the community with content that was reflective of who we feel we serve as a community based organization."

The publication is seeking contributors, editorial guest items, photo journalist and cartoonist to add more flavor to its current line up. If you are interested in advertising opportunities call 349-7777  or 501-379-8203. To subscribe, purchase a signature logo T-Shirt or make a tax deductible donation to the organization check out the group's updated web portal at www.livingaffected.org  Check out the COP 24/7 Facebook platform for more pictures of the evening.

From the Zip Stream Files: SAVE THE DATE ALERT!!!

Arkansas will be having a delegation attending this great event. If you need more information hit up this forum or contact the organizers directly at www.trdfmemphis.com Tell COP 24/7 sent ya!!!


Friday, May 16, 2014

Bringing Up the Periscope 2.0

Arkansas Politics: Passing The Mixed Nut Bowl

With marriage equality sucking all the air out of the room, COP 24/7 got caught up in the media tsunami that put our beloved state on blast. However that blast had it's good as the rest of the nation stood stumped that those Arkies didn't take the advice of the "Gay Illuminati," who had deemed the pecking order of who was to be in line for their turn at the marriage equality apple. As they were

scratching their heads that them Arkansas folks had the gumption to talk to homegrown legal folk who had the audacity to recognize the situation, engage plaintiffs, do there due diligence and move ahead with making the case resulting in a affirmative outcome from Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza’s ruling that the ban was unconstitutional. It was amazing that them Arkansas folks do have some smarts, wear shoes and can walk and think at the same time.  Do tell....

With that said as well as being on blast with legal stay in place, a online piece in The New Civil Rights Movement reported the following from the brain trust of our own Senator Jason Rapert ( R-Conway). Bless his heart.

"In what was designed to be a strong message sent to the Arkansas state Supreme Court insisting it reinstate and permanently keep Arkansas’ unconstitutional state ban on same-sex marriage, the Arkansas legislature inadvertently has sent just the opposite message: let same-sex couples marry.

“A non-binding resolution objecting to a judge’s decision striking down the ban failed before the Arkansas Legislative Council on a procedural vote Friday,” the AP reports. “The resolution would have urged justices to overturn Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza’s ruling striking down all measures preventing gay couples from marrying.”

Republican state Senator Jason Rapert could not get his proposal to even pass a committee, much less the entire senate. Sen. Rapert’s proposal also would have demanded that the 500 or so legal, civil marriages of same-sex couples performed in Arkansas over the past week be invalidated."

OK. As southern folk we know we have crazy people elected to office and its an undeniable fact of life of living in Arkansas. However, we do have folk that are about not having none of this tomfoolery or other foolishness from some of their fellow lawmakers.

And now we wait for the Supreme Court to do some thinkin, ciphering and ultimately writin their response that Piazza’s decision will now go through the appeal process. A record of the lower court case must be prepared. A briefing schedule must be set and probably oral arguments. The court takes a two-month recess each summer. Even with an expedited schedule, it’s uncertain if the case can be decided this calendar year Unfortunately the legal process can be a meat grinder therefore there's no word on the status of those 500+ marriages, which are likely now in limbo, like those of Utah and Michigan same-sex couples.

Gosh those Arkansas folks do have a way of doing things that don't need no messin with from other folks who may think they know our state but really don't. Y'all stay tuned now...!

Equality Roaring at the Capitol

On Tuesday May 20, at Noon on the steps of the State Capitol local organizers are embracing
"Truthful Tuesday's" by calling for LGBTQ and allies in standing up together for the LGBTQ community in support of their need for full Civil and Human Rights. This action is supported by the newly forming Arkansans for Human Rights, AIME, and CAR as well as other local social justice entities.

A notice on a FACEBOOK event page cited, "all people have the right to the protection of Human and Civil Rights regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The LGBTQ community of Arkansas must have full equal rights and protections; the right to housing, employment, public accommodations and marriage."

Although COP 24/7 certainly encourages public demonstrations and or displays of civic engagement, often these attempts result in marginal participation due to numerous factors including work schedules, logistics, "comfort zones," fatigue and how hastily these get put together with some short notice. It is imperative that our "voices" remain heard especially at the ballot box. It is also important that we continue to build our own internal infrastructure while assessing our deficiencies within it. The throngs of license seekers was a clear indication that we must somehow have that same intensity about all manner of our communities "roaring" about issues that concern us directly and beyond.

Don't forget to Vote May 20!

Did you know that there were some Mid-term election going on? Again, this marriage equality and Human Rights Campaign initiative has taken up much of the scenery, COP 24/7 can not emphasize enough about the power of the ballot box. Although we have the Stonewall Democratic Caucus, three needs to be a concerted effort to utilize its contacts and knowledge base to further educate and create the next wave of possible LGBTQ candidates across the board or elector delegates during the next presidential cycle come 2016. For more information about the current slate of candidates and other information check out www.uselections.com  

If you still have questions, concerns or assistance in how your new insurance works, call 501-349-7777 to get the latest updates and or information until June 30. Remember that the next open enrollment is November 15, 2014.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bringing Up the 360 Periscope

Marriage Equality: Heads Explode with Apocalyptic Sirens

Well you know it was bound to happen as the marriage equality wave washed ashore in Arkansas late last Friday afternoon. And the response was quick and tainted with all manner of gay baiting untruths. Time to hit the "We're Crazy" button enter names here.

Let the crazy begin with the usual suspects such as Jerry Cox, founder of the Arkansas Family Counsel and other's of his ilk as in Jason Rapert (R-Conway) who simply go nuts on this issue among others that COP 24/7 has posted about. To further demonstrate his outrage, Rapert  rushed to get a legislative piece cobbled together as a resolution that would have urged justices to overturn Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza’s ruling striking down all measures preventing gay couples from marrying. He wanted to go even further with details that would have demanded that the 500 or so legal, civil marriages of same-sex couples performed in Arkansas over the past week be invalidated.

Would one expect anything less from this character whom last year  made “racially charged remarks about President Barack Obama at a 2011 Tea Party rally. Let me add that he was a "birther" whom believed that President Obama was not born in America. Not to mention this is the same "vagina probe" guy who sponsored  legislation that would ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. You get the picture. 

COP 24/7 had the chance to share a roundtable discussion with Jerry Cox around the marriage issue. Although Mr. Cox at first meeting seems to be a rather cordial and engaging guy, however its when he begins to espouse his views is where I begin to recoil. Certainly I believe that we all have the right to free speech but not the type that is wrapped in rhetoric that the founding fathers saw as extremist in regards to their intentions of the constitution. 

Amazing it would have it Mr. Cox according to their website (www.familycouncil.org ), Cox is also the founder of some mash up called the Arkansas Justice Institute. This is the "legal" arm of his entity which is slated to "blunt the agenda of the ACLU and other liberal organizations seeking to undermine our society." Are you getting this readers? 

Just so you know these folks have created a "network" of lawyers and supporters including sharing their viewpoints stuffed in church programs across the state while raising dollars from those collection plates. Attention LGBTQ community, you are now on notice that its time to get our house in fighting order if we are going to ride the equality wave as first class citizens. Gird your loins, its going to be a bumpy ride!

Have you joined our Rainbow Circle of Friends in support for equality and advocacy in Arkansas. Show some pride and share your support for COP 24/7, now in our tenth year of informing, educating and empowering Arkansas' LGBTGQ community and beyond. Make your $5, $20 or $100 donation today via our secure Paypal platform. Do it today!!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Rainbows Flying High and Mighty

First Southern State to move Marriage Equality

Following a circuit judge decision late Friday striking down the ban on marriage equality in
Arkansas, same-sex couples in the state began to wed Saturday in the city of Eureka Springs — the only known jurisdiction to have issued marriage licenses over the weekend while other court houses were closed until the following Monday. It was the decision that spread like kudzu on fire throughout Arkansas's  LGBTQ community. It seem surreal to think that "Arkansas" had again taking the lead as a southern state similar to the groundbreaking Medicaid expansion that did a "triangulation" of using federal dollars to pay for private insurance and now marriage equality too. Naw it couldn't be, but as we learned it was true for now.

The first same-sex couple to marry in Arkansas was Jennifer Rambo, 26, and her partner Kristin Seaton, 27 and a former volleyball player at the University of Arkansas. The two, who’ve been together for four years, also have the distinction of being the same-sex couple ever to wed in the South. As all of this unfolded, the hot white glare of the spotlight hit Arkansas like a ton of bricks as news media outfits globally set sights on The Natural State to get the story, interviews, photo's and all things marriage equality.

It seemed like everybody had something to chime in or comment including, David Dinielli, head of the LGBT rights project for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said regardless of whether or not a stay is issued, marriage equality is advancing throughout the country. “Stay or no stay, marriage equality is sweeping across the South,” Dinielli said. “We all know the end game here. Those who resist — whether in Arkansas, Alabama, or North Carolina — are seen more and more as quaint, antiquated — 21st Century versions of Alabama’s Governor Wallace, who so famously stood in the schoolhouse door.” So glad he referenced Wallace instead of Arkansas Gov. Faubus who did some grandstanding himself before then President Ike sent the troop because they were having none of his foolishness at Central High.

Also in this mash up was the awaited roll up of the Human Rights Campaign's big ticket Project One America initiative that got swept up in all the marriage ballyhoo. Despite all the rushing to "going to the chapel" mayhem, HRC did manage to have a power reception to outline it's assessed comprehension of what needs, challenges and barriers exist within the LGBTQ infrastructure. President Chad Griffin, spoke with candor and frankness about his owned lived experiences and his thoughts about how to deal with issues and concern's of the state.

Rep. Joyce Elliot also gave spirited remarks and reminded attendees that the ultimate weapon is the ballot box. Even though marriage equality fever was running high during the event, many came to hear more about the project with interest as to how it would directly affect the community locally and at large. Currently HRC has completed an assessment, dispatched personnel to do local meet up's and will be looking to secure a State Coordinator as well as other support staff. As the moving and shaking comes about, you will hear about the latest right here! Don't you even think of not following us via RSS feed, subscribing or bookmarking. Do it today so that you will stay in the information loop and more!!!

Renegades on the Loose

COP 24/7 has just been amazed at these folks and their amazing ability to find some way, any way they can to support. Since their inception a bit back, Renegades for a Cause has stepped up as a fund raising machine that has raised dollars for numerous entities and individuals who have expressed a need. This time out the group returns to assist The Living Affected Corporation in an effort to continue to allow the agency to continue it's mission to provide prevention messaging while advocating for holistic sexual health within marginalized communities. Currently the agency is also producing a gay centric publication entitled, "The READ," which will be published monthly as apart of its social entrepreneur aspect. The night will feature a pageant heralding, Miss or Mr. Renegade Pride of Little Rock. An all-star cast of locals will offer their entertainment services in support of the agency. Check out the flyer that also has been circulated at local venues and hot spots. Stay tuned to COP 24/7 for updates!

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Equality Monday Across Arkansas

It was fast breaking news last Friday evening as Judge Chris Piazza swooped in to give his ruling concerning the constitutionality of Arkansas 2004 ban on same sex marriage and the 1997 state
law banning such marriages. To further showcase this decision AIME will be hosting a 7 a.m. rally and press conference at the court house including remarks from HRC President, Chad Griffin.

During the duration of awaiting his decision there was some high anxiety in what at times appeared to be a decision that was going to be given by one date then there was the late afternoon announcement that was sort of hastily pronounced as the judge swiftly avoided any possible press or otherwise. And so it was, since although Attorney General Dustin McDaniel asked for a  "stay" of the decision but none was given, therefore this forum has no doubts that it's on to the Arkansas Supreme Court to get
the final say so.

In the meantime the marriage licensing went forward with Kristin Seaton & Jennifer Rambo received the first marriage license in Arkansas, and across the South! Their witness was Cheryl Maples (center), the attorney whose case brought down the marriage ban in Arkansas! Click "like" to celebrate this huge win, and read more: http://bit.ly/1glNe4Y (Photo by Kendall Wright, named plaintiff in the landmark case)

Until then folks are making way to "jump the broom" come this Monday morning at 8am at the Pulaski County Court house in downtown Little Rock and across a few other counties such as Eureka Springs, an Ozark Mountain town of about 2,000, is known for its arts environment and liberal policies in the otherwise conservative northwest Arkansas. In 2007, the city council unanimously approved a proposal to create a domestic partner registry. The partnerships confer no special legal status, but as soon as the word came, it was wheels up and out for many individuals in search for some marriage equality in them hills. Watch all our online partner platforms as we go into overdrive trying to cover all that is happening around the city and all the legal maneuver's to come. Stay tuned...

Equality Comes to the NFL

COP 24/7 congratulates Mr. Michael Sam for his accomplishment of being drafted to the St. Louis Rams. Mr. Sam as the first openly gay player taken in the NFL draft. This triumph comes amidst a long and often tough life journey.

This trailblazer celebrated learning of his pick with his partner Vito Cammisano with an embracing kiss and tears. The video of the this lit up social media sites and set Twitter ablaze with the video being featured as apart of ESPN coverage.

It is no doubt that Mr. Sam's athletic ability and skill has secured him a position that we all should be proud of!!! Mr. Sam is another outstanding sportsman among a legion of other's such as Cheryl Swoopes, Jason Collins, Derrick Gordon and one of the first, baseball great Mr. Glen Burks. Now let this guy come play some ball!!

Gay Games Roll in Cleveland for 2014

On Saturday, 9 August, the Opening Ceremony for the 2014 Gay Games will kick off at Quicken Loans Arena (home of the Cleveland Cavs basketball team) in downtown Cleveland for a multi day run thru August 16th.

The Gay Games Opening Ceremony will offer a star-studded line up of entertainment, featuring singer, dancer, and radio host Lance Bass, Broadway actress Andrea McArdle, and the legendary Pointer Sisters. The event will generate buzz, excitement and spirit that will carry throughout the remainder of the Games.

Participants will gather in nearby Progressive Field (home of the Cleveland Indians baseball team) between 4 and 6 p.m. to meet old and new friends, have pre-party fun before organizing to march (by geography) into Quicken Loans Arena. Stay locked and loaded to COP 24/7 for more details or catch this link to their site at: www.gg9cle.com

You don't want to miss our collaborative partnership with The READ as we await the launch of the inaugural edition. Thank you to all the contributors and World Changer Sponsorship from I-30 Liquor. For more submission information and raising awareness about your business call 501.379-8203.


Friday, May 09, 2014

TGIF to the Firth Power

WOW! It's been another raging and storming week as we prepare for the Mother's Day weekend. COP 24/7 has been at wit's end and keeping up with all the late breaking news, updates, follow up's and any corrections along the line. After some tweaking and getting some technical assistance, COP 24/7 will return to posting video's and links to some great content including our long overdue podcast!  Of course this platform is not perfect and never has tried to attempt to be. If we get it right, then by golly its done. If we get it wrong then, charge it to our heads and not our hearts. As we celebrate our tenth year ( has it really been that long?) in September of this year, we've learned much along the way and more to come as we keep bringing you our funky fresh take on "what's really going on." Thanks for reading, subscribing and staying on point with COP 24/7!!! Also Happy Mother's Day to all across the globe!

HRC Cometh

Earlier this week there was a HRC teleconference to assess as well as begin the process to inform listener participant as the organizations roll out of its Project One America initiative set to serve Mid-south states of  Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi. There is also a scheduled community meeting and reception, Monday, May 12, at the Arkansas Arts Center, 5:30 p.m. featuring remarks from HRC President, Chad Griffin.

According a circulated web piece and some direct contact from HRC surrogates, it seems that HRC and it's leadership has decided that Project One America is the perfect complement to HRC’s existing campaigns and grassroots efforts and their interest in reaching out to the area.  COP 24/7 has observed and watched from afar as to buzz, chatter, bitching and all manner of networking that has occurred harking back to the parachuting in around the Sheridan teen Taylor Ellis. Although this moving train appears to have many "moving parts" not to mention many talking heads to go with it. With all that is still unfolding, this forum has yet to fully understand the scope of what constitutes "a comprehensive campaign to dramatically expand LGBT equality in the South through permanent campaigns in Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas." So what does all this mean and exactly who is going to what, when, how and resulting in what outcomes are to be reveal at some point.

In case any hasn't notice Arkansas has been "ebbing and flowing" for decades across numerous areas of the equality mash up. From the Sodomy provision that was overturned years ago through countless "community assessments," into the current realm of what appears to be a mighty uptick in "all things LGBTQ." Amazing as it seems, as we await the final Piazza decision spanning transgender town hall meetings to LGBTQ Health initiative, who new that Arkansas would be leaping forward in addressing challenges and barrier including folks waiting to "jump the broom," the second the announcement comes.

With all this jockeying and maneuvering, this forum would hope that all this new found energy could also be duplicated around a whole host of other social issues such as living wages, affordable housing stock, hunger and poor financial literacy that doesn't totally support that premise that "gay's have all that disposable income to consume things with." In the meantime, we wait for the marriage equality decision and prepare for the razzle dazzle to come. Stay tuned to this forum for all the latest....

Communicating Rainbow Style

This time next Friday, the official launch party for The READ will be stepping off at The New Six Ten, 610 Center St., 7-9pm in downtown Little Rock. As a co-collaborator with the creative forces of the publication, COP 24/7 certainly wants to do a shout out to let all of readers, subscribers and supporters know that its going down.

The rough drafts have been coming fast and furiously as the staff has gone into overdrive trying to get every possible angel covered while serving advertising interest. To date advertisers are seeking out and inquiring about the publication with the recent addition of I-30 Liquor as a major sponsor and the Human Right Campaign making a significant ad purchase.

The staff further reports that this version of the newspaper will be a 20 pager featuring local entertainer spotlights, gossip column, human interest stories and community resources. Advertising rates and information can be obtained from calling 501.379-8203 or reaching out to info@livingaffected.org  An online version of the publication will be scaling up with some possible exclusive coverage that ay not appear in the hard copy. Check out the site at www.theread.net and stay tuned to COP 24/7 for all the updates.

COP 24/7 In the Media Mix

Producing this forum not only takes focus but often times as Executive Producer, I get to engage in other media matters in different formats. Earlier this week I was honored to serve as moderator of AETN's Community Cinema screening of The New Black which focused on the intersections of the marriage equality issue ( how ironic?) within the Black community.

Sponsored by Laman Library and KUAR, the evening's screening allowed viewers to watch how advocacy, empowerment and various challenges faced by those involved in the Maryland question. Next month COP 24/7 will be the featured guest on the WOE show on the Papa Chulo network. Hosted by Wyatt O. Evans, the show topic was
to highlight my community service work, advocacy around health disparities and collaborations ranging from serving as the Arkansas HIV Planning Group Co-chair to my mixed bag of media contributions. Evans reached out in an effort to showcase this platform in return for a post about his recent book, "RAGE: Nothing Can Tear Us Apart." The interview was arranged through the producers of the Papa Chulo housed in Miami through a internet connection with the host in Silver Springs, Maryland. Talk about the hook up!

Although this opportunity was pre-recorded an actual date if forthcoming as to its air date which will be released here. It is our goal to also resume our own podcast that were ground breaking as among the first to present LGBTQ centric material in the state. 
In June I will be participating in a panel discussion around HIV/AIDS issues during the AMPD conference at the Crown Plaza, it's back to Washington D.C. for the Enroll America conference and in July, presenting during the National Association of Black and White Men Together annual conference in Milwaukee.(www.nabwmt.org )
These are only just a few examples of COP 24/7 out in the local community and connecting to national venues. It is for this reason we seek to add members to our Rainbow Circle of Friends. Your supportive donations would assist in our continuing advocacy efforts as well as keep COP 24/7 humming along. Use our secured Pay Pal gateway in the margins to make your donation today. I hope that we could count on you!!

GET YOUR COPY TODAY at www.wyattevans.com

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Money Makes the World Go Round

Consumer or Saver: LGBT Life Lessons

Here's a little glimmer of hope for savers: the return on inflation-adjusted savings bonds is going to increase significantly over the next six months and if you need help with becoming more financially savvy there's help out there!

COP 24/7 always seeks to raise issues or at least challenge our readers from a critical thinking position. Especially in lieu of a recent financial asset meeting that was held by Edward Jones Financial Planner Ms. Kelly Ross, ADPA ( Accredited Domestic Partnership Advisor) and local attorney Mary Nash of the Nash Raley & Rippy firm.

The session was geared around understanding the multi approaches to dealing with estate planning and understanding how the current laws or future laws can affected gays individually and as couples. COP 24/7 takes the position that more of these type of micro-seminars should be occurring across the state especially concerning "marriage equality" issues that will require such couples to assess how to conduct their personal affairs as an official couple. Both Ross and Nash are experts in their respective fields and could be a significant resource on many levels. As the duo announces future sessions, COP 24/7 will get the info out ASAP. If you need immediate assistance hit em up at their websites: www.maumellelaw.com or reach out Ross at: Kelly.ross@edwardjones.com

In other money matters, based on the latest Consumer Price Index released last month, the U.S. Treasury will set the total return on Series I Savings Bonds to at least 1.82% for all bonds sold between May 1 and Oct. 31.That yield is better than you can earn on most CDs or money market accounts.

We say the return will be set to at least 1.82% because the inflation rate isn't all that goes into the total return you'll see from I Bonds. The Treasury Department also applies a fixed rate, which it surprisingly boosted from 0% to 0.20% last fall, the first increase in three years.
Treasury will announce the fixed rate on May 1 for newly issued bonds. If it keeps the fixed rate unchanged, I Bonds will pay more than 2%.

The beauty of I Bonds is that the federal government tries to at least guarantee your money will keep up with inflation.

But the total return on these safe investments had been in a steady decline until last fall, when the rate on newly issued bonds climbed from 1.18% to 1.38%.
That means bonds issued after April 30 should pay nearly half a percentage point better — or more.
The total return on an I Bond is calculated by adding the fixed rate to the inflation rate, which changes every six months. The fixed rate is determined at the time you purchase your bond and does not change for as long as you own the bond.

The inflation rate is calculated by the changes in the Consumer Price Index and shows the annualized inflation rate over the past six months.

Here's how Treasury figures the inflation component:
The CPI-U for September 2013 was 234.149, and the CPI-U for March 2014 was 236.293. That represents a six-month increase of .91%. To get the annualized rate, you multiply by two.
That's 1.82%.

Beginning next month, I Bonds will pay more than all but the best nationally available 5-year CD rates. The top deal now pays 2.25% APY.
Savings bonds also have several tax advantages over CDs:
  • You don't have to pay tax on the interest you earn until the bonds are redeemed. With CDs, you're taxed on the interest in the year it's earned.
  • Interest earned on savings bonds is exempt from state and local income taxes. That's a big plus for residents of states that levy a hefty tax on investment income, such as California and New York.
  • The interest can even be exempt from federal income taxes if the bonds are used to pay for eligible college expenses. (See IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.)
You can buy savings bonds at TreasuryDirect (www.treasurydirect.gov) and have them issued electronically to your account.

Don't bother looking for paper bonds as the Treasury Department stopped issuing them at the beginning of 2012. The only exception is that you can buy up to $5,000 in paper bonds using your tax refund by filing IRS Form 8888.
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At the Treasury website, you can buy up to $10,000 in Series I Bonds and another $10,000 in Series EE Bonds.
Paper Series EE bonds are issued at half of their face value. So you'll pay $500 for a $1,000 bond, but it will not be worth the face value until it matures.
Do be aware that to avoid any early withdrawal penalty, you'll have to hold onto the bonds for five years. Redeem them earlier, and you'll forfeit the three most recent months' worth of interest.