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  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 Tell COP 24/7 sent ya!!!


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