Friday, July 25, 2014

Fired Up Friday

Another week of pushing levers, trap doors, moving targets and all out mayhem in trying to juggle producing this forum while addressing the myriad of other activity that occur concurrent to just trying to have a life. Its not easy, and often times the road becomes vexing if not weary. Yet some how, for  some reason, we persevere forward until further notice. Who knew that this little experiment would be still around as many who joined the fray earlier have all but been forgotten. Ten years of a snap shot, time capsule, catalog or scrapbook of what was happening in the LGTBQ community and beyond. The legacy of COP 24/7 although presumed set, it will be up to others who discover or perhaps dissect it as to its value, impact or substance. Many thanks to the signed up subscribers and all those who inhabit the digital shadows for following. However for now, we are fired up and keeping it hot, live and otherwise...let's go for it shall we!

Just who Is in touch with the Arkansas Electorate

With the 2014 election cycle barreling down to a November show down. COP 24/7 can not express how important it is that the LGBTQ community must understand the power of the ballot box. This forum has preached and went on and on about who is at the policy table, why its important that there be ongoing teaching sessions about how the electorate works or how to access the entire delegate process in lieu of the fact that we have a Arkansas Stonewall Democrat chapter.

I went through this during the 2008 cycle and I had to learn the hard way that even though there's much lip service paid to a "LGBTQ Caucus," it appeared to be nothing more than window dressing. Basically due to the fact that there has been no asserting or no significant emphasis in engaging viable individuals to be apart of the process. Even though there was some half hearted effort from the ASWD, I felt no mentoring, guidance or financial support from that entity and despite my interest and a registered Democrat, I've had little to no interaction with this group. With that said, I fully understand that its a "two way" street and it seems that maybe it will be up to me to cross the street, again.

I find this even more alarming with the recent "voter suppression" measure that was passed requiring folks to have a valid ID to vote. This type of social injustice only resonated among the usual suspects such as the ACLU among a few others.

Just as a side note, Republican candidate Asa Hutchison was ensnared in this very aspect of the voting process, when he showed up to cast his vote without proper ID and was turned away from the polls.

Then Mr. Hutchinson demonstrated more "foot in mouth" and had another "I'm out of touch," moment earlier this week at the Farm Bureau debates in NWA. If you've seen his campaign Ads, Hutchinson attempts to portray himself as a "good old Arkansas country boy down on the farm." It would seem that if that who is "says" he is then by golly why play that charade to the hilt by being a card carrying member of the Farm Bureau or at least pretend to know.

In the meantime, if you are not registered to vote, COP 24/7 implores you to do so, especially as boat loads of "Dark Money" from outside of the state supporting candidates that this forum questions their knowledge or interest about the LGBTQ community. As the cycle continues to boil, watch COP 24/7 for more updates, issues, and voter information. Check out the Asa gaff and make your own determination as to who should be leading the state forward.

Arkansas Transgender Community Sends Delegates to Lobby Day in D.C.

Big congratulations to the Arkansas Trans Equality Coalition on supporting 14 delegates to the national lobby day earlier this month. It was among the largest delegations in attendance and a first for the Arkansas based Trans Equality Coalition.

The event was a joint project of National Center for Transgender Equality, Trans People of Color Coalition, Trans Latin@ Coalition, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, PFLAG National, Black Transmen, Inc., and Black Transwomen, Inc.

According to attendees the event was empowering and insightful as to current challenges, issues and policy movements directly affecting the trans community. Delegation members were able to speak with Rep. Bozeman and Rep. Cotton respectively concerning "talking points" concluded during their lobby training provided by organizers.

The organization has been mobilized with producing several town hall opportunities as a supportive element to engage a wider understanding of the trans community while preparing to participate in a forth coming annual assessment under the auspices of NCTE slated to be launched in early 2015.

According to group literature, the vision of the entity is to work toward advancing education, resources and inclusive communities for transgender and gender non-conforming Arkansans. NCTE Executive Director, Mara Keisling is scheduled for stops in Fayettville  and Little Rock in her multi-state tour to engage local groups and promote the national organization.

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