Friday, January 30, 2015

The Friday Cracken

What a week it has been as we "Released the Cracken," all week while seeking to keep our community updated, informed, linked and called to action. So what have we learned? That we've still got issues that only get a thimble full of folks energized or activated. It seems that we continue to not realize that we must assert power just not about marriage equality but the whole enchilada of our existence. I never realized that some thirty years ago, yes I know I dating myself, but what the hell, I actually attempted to frame "gay rights," as "human rights," by forming a entity what was then called the Arkansas Human Rights Association.

It was a youthful attempt to find my way out of the "gay rights" box into a new light that unbeknown to me then that this this concept would today be "on point." Especially as we now speak in lenses of social justice, civil rights and equality equity tones to cover a myriad of issues raging from the still ember burning "Black lives matter" stance to economic injustices that impact us all from all manner of sources.

Just recalling that move, makes me realize that I've been trying to address our conflicts and challenges for a long time, all the while trying to identify the next wave of leaders. Recently I was asked, "when are you going to retire?" I thought to myself, "retire from what?" Or did they mean when am I going to do what many who have given up the fight for social justice do and go find somebody to live out the rest of their life with nested in some post fight bastion of security that some one else will take care of matters. Sounds lovely and certainly an option that I really might need to think seriously about.

After all everything is alright. Who needs to be fussing and fighting about right wing broadcasters stating that "Hitler's storm troopers were made up of the meanest and demented gay men he could command to do his deeds." Or the likes of Pat Roberson who said in 2013 on The 700 Club that he thinks there should be a "vomit" button on Facebook for pictures of gay couples, because liking the pictures condones same-sex relationships. Let us not forget AG Leslie Rutledge who has affirmed that stopping gay marriage in Arkansas is her top priority.

And certainly let's forget about the Arkansas Health Department's all knowing and non explaining decision makers who are holding Awareness day funding hostage. Again shall we say with NO explanations as to why the 2013 carry over dollars which fell into 2014 with no programming funded and from all appearances nothing planned for 2015. Sure I need to "retire" to my Southwest Little Rock chalet and call it a day!

With a decade under our belt of composing this digital town square, there has been much to unpack while attempting to do all that I could to encourage as many in our community to "get involved," or at least share your resources with those trying to make a difference. Whether that has been totally achieved is up for more assessment, but what I do know is that no one can deny that COP 24/7 has not been on its job to stimulate your interest, put the information out there for digesting as well as, staying committed to not "blinking," on what's really going on. There's so much to say and by golly we are going to continue to do it. Stay tuned...!!

HRC Foundation Hires HIV/AIDS Project Fellow

"This work is personal for me," said Terry. "I don't only work hard for those who are infected with HIV like myself that feel they don't have a voice, but I also work for the millions of young people born into a world where we still have to aggressively fight HIV. I do this for my nieces and nephew and the next generation."

Terry will be focusing on work made possible through the support of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The projects aim at helping those within the LGBT community who are most affected by HIV and AIDS, including young men who have sex with men and transgender women, especially Black and Latina/o community members and those living in the South.

Terry brings a wealth of experience to the HRC Foundation from his leadership as the founder and executive director of The Red Door Foundation, a Memphis-based nonprofit that works to improve the health of gay and bisexual Black men, and with the Ryan White Project for a Federally Qualified Health Care Center, Christ Community Health Services. Terry is also the convener for the Saving Ourselves Symposium, the only technical assistance symposium in the South designed to empower, educate and encourage the Black LGBT Community in the South. He now serves as the senior visionary for The Red Door Foundation, Inc. after accepting the HIV/AIDS project fellow role at HRC.

"Marvell is going to be such a valuable addition to the HRC Foundation," said HRC Vice President and Chief Foundation Officer Jeff Krehely. "His leadership in educating and reducing stigma in Memphis’ LGBT community has distinguished him as one of the country’s leading voices in the fight against HIV and AIDS. We’re truly privileged to have him join our team."

Terry will work with his colleagues at HRC to counter HIV-related stigma through public education efforts, to increase providers’ ability to offer culturally competent care, and to advance awareness among and create tools for service providers working with LGBT youth.

"I’m an openly HIV-positive Black man from the South. I know the challenges that are out there and I’m incredibly excited to be here at HRC helping address those challenges on a national scale," said Terry.

FROM 10 AM -2PM, 6401

No comments: