Thursday, March 26, 2015

Running With Thursday

USCA: Master Series for Leadership September 10 – 13, 2015 Washington, DC

The 2015 United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) will be in Washington, DC September 10-13 A new and innovative program for this year’s conference is its version of the TED Talks for the HIV Movement series.

This program seeks to replicate, but has no affiliation with TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talks which were started with the vision of “Ideas Worth Spreading”. The unique lecture series is for high functioning organizations that understand the urgency behind the work. It’s not basic capacity building; instead, the TED Talks for the HIV movement will be a forum to build leadership. The talks will look the big questions.

• Where are we going?
• What is our future?
• What issues should the community address as we look at HIV after the Affordable Care Act, but before we end the epidemic?

USCA is the largest AIDS-related gathering in the U.S., bringing together over thousands of workers from all fronts of the HIV/ AIDS epidemic—from case managers and physicians, to public health workers and advocates, people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH/As) to policy-makers—to build national support networks, exchange the latest information and learn cutting-edge tools to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS. Arkansas had a large contingent to attend last year's conference in San Diego including HIV Community Co-Chair's Courtney Hampton and C. Mabin plus delegates from Jefferson Comprehensive Care Systems in Pine Bluff.

Early Bird Registrations must be postmarked on or before June 5, 2015. To apply for the limited number of USCA scholarships available, carefully read and complete the application form, and submit all required materials on or before June 19, 2015, by 5:00 p.m. (EST).

For more information about USCA, and/or to submit abstracts, registrations and scholarship applications online, visit http:// Questions may be referred directly to the Conferences and Meeting Services Division at or (202) 483-NMAC (6622).

Pride in the City 2015

The Central Arkansas Pride Advisory Boar will meet Saturday, 4/4/15 in the East Room of the Central Arkansas Library to continue planning for the 2015 LR Pride Fest.

 According to organizers on the agenda to be discussed will be suggestions for Grand Marshal, performers, and a theme for this year's event. The Executive Board will provide updates on sponsorships, the pride scholarship, and upcoming fundraisers.

If you missed the first meeting, but are interested in serving on the Advisory Board, or have some suggestions to help make this year's pride even better, please attend! All advisory meetings are open to the public. Snacks and beverages will be provided. Check out their website at:

Advocates Call to Action

As an update in this moving target of a story, all manner of advocacy and advocating is underway in response to the HB 1228 at the state capitol. The Internet is teeming with chatter, call outs, rants, raves and WTF from all around. You name it and its been called for, from calling the Gov.'s office to making plans to take it the streets. Stay tuned not only here but certainly our Facebook platform at

Coming next week...Local LGBTQ Health Summit scheduled, The Crazy Continues at the State Capitol, Public Health Fails Black Gay Men and so much more! 
Keep it locked and loaded at COP 24/7. Opt in e-mail, subscribe, or bookmark our site. Dont' forget that we are also available on your mobile device! Head on over to our Facebook page for breaking news and more updates.  Like our page!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ready for the Fight

Rolling in the Advocacy Deep

For those of you who just may be busy with other matters, there's been a groundswell of folks who became activated around the "cray cray" that has been raging at the state house. From the dastardly deeds of Justin Harris's "re-homing' mess to the now totally going full "tilt" of the governing body affirming through HB 1228 that somehow this legislation is to strike some kind of culture
war "balance" of religion and human rights. How all this plays out is to be determined but COP 24/7 is simply not amused as well as many others. Advocacy work is not for the weary, time consuming, hard fought and often times seems as if its just not winnable or worthwhile. Yet it is the path that has to be taken to affect or impact any change.

The Arkansas legislature has certainly shown its game face this session and unfortunately those who must deal with this body often times get blind sided and bum rushed by bills such as HB 202 and now HB 1228 are being dolled out despite the outcries to their ill affects and possibilities on the masses. Yet those whom promote these bills continue to pop off from legislator's whom have political agendas in the name of serving their constituencies. No matter the consequences or for heaven sakes perhaps any real insight, forward thinking and let's not even imagine "critical thinking," about any of it.

Through all of this so far, COP 24/7 has been proud of the energy shown although its unfortunate that it takes such over the top measures to ignite locals into "rolling in the advocacy deep," to demonstrate that they care about an issue. Certainly its welcomed, but we have to face the fact that we can't just "react," when necessary but stay activated all year round to continue to build the needed infrastructure and leadership pipelines to be prepared for such occasions.

Let's be real. Advocacy takes dollars, man and women power, networking, lobbying, collaborating, capacity building, outreach, and flexibility. Those rolling up their sleeves and taking to streets must know that even when you think its over, it's not. Chaining policies or as we continue to hear "chaining hearts and minds," doesn't stop when its convenient. It's an endless continuum that requires constant watch, staying laser focus and sometimes fearless in speaking to power. It's on! Let the fury fly...

National HIV Conference in ATL

The 2015 National HIV Prevention Conference will be held on December 6-9, 2015 in Atlanta, GA, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and the Marriott Marquis Hotel.

The 2015 National HIV Prevention Conference (NHPC) is the preeminent conference for scientists, public health officials, community workers, clinicians, and persons living with HIV from a wide variety of organizations to share their expertise and ultimately prevent infections, strengthen care and reduce disparities.

The National HIV Prevention Conference allows for in-person collaboration between researchers and program personnel planning and implementing HIV prevention and care programs. The conference will bring together more than 3,000 individuals who are working to stop the spread of HIV in the United States. It will provide an opportunity to continue refining, improving, and strengthening our nation’s response to HIV.

This four-day conference will include oral, panel and poster presentations, as well as plenary sessions, roundtables, and debates and is a platform for conference participants to engage in rigorous scientific, programmatic, and technology information exchange.

Registrations received before November 6, 2015: $325.00
After November 6, 2015, registration on-site only: $425.00
Federal employee registration: $250.00

Federal employee registration fees do not include the cost of food and beverages. Federal employees will be required to purchase food and beverages at the conference. Color-coded badges will distinguish Federal attendees from other non-Federal conference attendees.

Conference participants will need to make their own lodging arrangements. The main conference hotels (Hyatt Regency Atlanta and Atlanta Marriott Marquis) will maintain a block of rooms for conference participants until October 31, 2015. Hotels charge the prevailing federal per diem rate plus tax (currently $135.00 plus tax for single/double occupancy).

Need Insurance? There's still time to get in on affordable insurance with some personal assistance for a ACA expert. Call 501-379-8203 to get an appointment and get it done during this special open enrollment period. Do it today!!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Moving Full Force Ahead

Housing Is Prevention Battle Cry of Summit

The eighth North American Housing and HIV/AIDS Research Summit will be held September 14th through 16th, 2015, in Washington, DC. The scope of Summit VIII is expanded to include the full range of social drivers of HIV, including poverty, housing status, food security, employment, incarceration, race/ethnicity, behavioral health issues, stigma and intimate partner violence. What impact do these drivers have on health disparities? What policies and programs can influence these drivers or mitigate their negative effects.

Despite new treatment and prevention technologies that provide the tools needed to end AIDS, unmet subsistence needs, social marginalization, criminalization of behaviors and other structural factors continue to drive the HIV epidemic. Social factors leave key populations at significantly higher risk of HIV infection. They also limit access to treatment, care and support services. They increase health disparities and fuel poorer health outcomes. Because of these social drivers, HIV is increasingly concentrated among people and populations marginalized by poverty, homelessness, inequity, stigma and substance use.

Growing evidence demonstrates the effectiveness of structural interventions in strengthening HIV prevention and treatment programs. These interventions include social protections (such as housing, nutrition and transportation supports), economic empowerment (including education and job training), decriminalization, anti-discrimination laws and campaigns to change social norms.
Rigorous research on social drivers and structural interventions is critical to lay the groundwork for these types of approaches and to support their scale-up.

World Water Day

A day to celebrate, a day to change, a day to prepare. 

World Water Day was marked on March 22 as day to celebrate water. Water you say? Yes, Water.
It's that life affirming solution that most of us take for granted whether it's tap, still or bottled, water is a commodity that should be of concern to everyone on the planet. Especially those who don't have water equity and those who have to go to great lengths to access it.
According to the UN Water website, they cite that the event is a "day to make a difference for the members of the global population who suffer from water related issues. It’s a day to prepare for how we manage water in the future."
Although locally we've been embroiled in the rigors of a rouge legislature, COP 24/7 was intrigued that local fraternity Nu Delta has announced its international service project to support The Water Project.(
On their Facebook announcement page they state, "our gifts will be used to construct or rehabilitate a water project, like a well or sand dam, in Africa." 
In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly designated 22 March as the first World Water Day. 22 years later, World Water Day is celebrated around the world shining the spotlight on a different issue every year. This issue is also the theme of the annual UN World Water Development Report which is launched on World Water Day. 
In 2015, the theme for World Water Day is 'Water and Sustainable Development'. It’s about how water links to all areas we need to consider to create the future we want. 
Each year, UN-Water provides resources to inspire celebrations for World Water Day.  
- See more at:

Arkansas RAPPS Seeks Participants

Arkansas RAPPS ( Reaching, Affirming, Positive, Progressive, Systems), a Community Connector Initiative contractor and LinQ for Life, Incorporated program is seeking participants for several
impending projects.

The Reflections of Shattered Mirror literary & resource guide is preparing to finalizes it content choices and is open to receiving "lived experience" content either in prose, poetry, essay, photo or graphic arts. The project revolves around the nexus of social justice and social determinants that impact outcomes. Individuals are encourage to forward their pieces to with "Reflections content," in the memo section. This project is supported by The Bush-Mallon Institute for Social Justice.

A video spin off project from the UALR Mass Communication's class is moving forward with plans to create a micro documentary with a possible associated social media campaign to bring a renewed Arkansas awareness about HIV & AIDS. Arkansas RAPPS presented to the Public Relations and Mass Media classes earlier this month about the impact of this chronic disease in our state and to share updates around medical breakthroughs. Students participated in a Q & A session in preparation to created content pieces for their class projects to include both social media platforms and a 30 second commercial.

Since that presentation, there was additional interest in building out from that presentation into another wider project with sights on possibly sharing at local film festivals. The project is seeking personal testimony material and other collaborative information to be included in the final product.

Arkansas RAPPS also has been offered to serve as a satellite HIV Planning Group division to assist with facilitating tenants of the main groups efforts to decrease infection rates. Currently they are seeking a core group of local individuals who would like to use Arkansas RAPPS as a conduit to further plan and execute local programming around outreach, awareness, intervention, linkage to care or other wrap around services in our areas. If you are interested, please send a e-mail stating your interest and identifying at least one item that you are passionate about and will be committed to fulfilling. If you need more information about Arkansas HIV Planning Group check out the Facebook page at  or send your notice to


Monday, March 23, 2015

Periscopes UP and OUT

LGBTQ Health Awareness Week 2015

Monday, March 23rd kicks off LGBT Health Awareness Week 2015. The National Coalition for LGBT Health created National LGBT Health Awareness Week in 2003 to promote increased health awareness and outcomes in the LGBT community and promote the need for greater cultural competency in the healthcare system. This year's theme is "Time to Come Together: Trust,
Transparency, Truth."

So what does this mean in this neck of the woods? Although most likely most folks have no clue to this specific awareness week or as we've noticed not many others either, there are some items that may be of some interest to consider.

The coalition will be holding a webinar, Wednesday, March 25, 4 pm (EST). The event will spotlight how LGBT health centers and advocacy organizations have led the way in building clinical programs and best practices that have uniquely addressed the needs of their diverse populations, such as transgender individuals, racial and ethnic LGBT minorities, gay and bisexual men at increased risk for HIV, and LBTQ women. During LGBT Health Awareness Week, the National Coalition for LGBT Health is highlighting four of these programs, which have built trust with LGBT clients. The webinar will provide recommendations and insights for health centers and medical providers on building trustful relationships with LGBT clients

Unfortunately here in Arkansas, we have not been afforded a facility that is designated a "LGBT Health center," that are most common in many larger metro areas and have been for some time. This especially scaled up during the height of the AIDS crisis in which coalitions and other organizations rallied together to marshal resources to address needed health facilities.

To this date, their are still only a small cadre of physicians, dentist and infectious disease doctors that specifically treat HIV patients statewide. This shortage has been the topic of many discussions surrounding the issues of medical reimbursements and with mass migration of Ryan White participants to the Affordable Care Act. Despite these discussions the situation still persist in the face of the impending HRC Health Summit scheduled for June 11th. which is set to further discuss the challenges and barriers of health equity in the LGBTQ community and beyond.

The Arkansas Fair Housing Conference 

Arkansans from around the state look forward to this free nationally recognized statewide fair housing/fair lending education event. With Act 1785 of 2001, the State of Arkansas joined many other states in efforts to enforce fair housing/fair lending rights for citizens.
Our speakers are luminaries and thought leaders in banking, civil rights, planning and development, enforcement, law and come from places such as the United States Department of Justice, The Federal Reserve, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville Fay Jones School of Architecture, Arkansas Development Finance Authority and so many more.
We anticipate hundreds from local agencies, government, faith-based and community organizations, industry groups and the general public participating in this event. We look forward to seeing you at the Crowne Plaza Hotel - Little Rock for the 10th Annual Arkansas Fair Housing Conference. Contact:
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Friday, March 20, 2015

The Friday COP 24/7 Fly Over

The FACEBOOK Echo Chamber

For those of you who are not apart of the Facebook "Borg" collective, you just might be more well off than you think. This social media behemoth which has "thumbed" its way into not only the America psyche but has burrowed into the core of some folks soul!

Each and everyday with its million's of users including this forum's page( ), you can find everything from A to Z on topics ranging from the outrageous to the depths of stupidity.

Its a rolling index of rants, raves, WTF, cries for help, carnage, and often times folks "flaming" each other over either the most mundane or ridiculous bull shit.

And yes even this writer has not been exempted from a disgruntled poster who raved on about his perception of my work and other "this and that," which called for a response. I usually try to ignore this type of banter but some charges just have to be answered. I'm often so amazed at just how much folks especially some gay folks want to divulge or reveal about their entire lives.

I've seen much, such as one post that featured surgery stiches of a hip replacement, young folk whom post pictures of them intoxicated or vomiting afterwards, a whole lot of vulgar language and gestures, and a whole lot of "bitter, party of one" or pity parties a go-go. Its all there for the taking as it rolls in daily on feeds and often times deflected to your page through tags or mutual postings that get crossed posted. Its a daily wild ride that so much more tamer that the COP 24/7 digital town square, then again we're not a Billion dollar entity with an office park of smart folks making it happen. Hey wouldn't be great if some of those business signees would consider some banner ads here.

RuPaul Rules

And it continues! Rupaul's Drag race keeps getting picked up for season after season on the LOGO channel and now its in it's Season 7, with all the madcap and over the top silliness that they can muster.

 Locally the show is being watched at Club Sway, as folks show up to catch the catty, kit kat and killer kat barbs that come from the "contestants."  Its more mindless fun in drag as oppose to all the hip hop fashion of Empire but let's not kid ourselves, many of these players give your "realness," with hot bodies and bold fashions that gives the local girls a severe run for it.

If you watch the show you just can't turn away from this train wreck of showmanship that has contestants either creating costumes, glam squad to straight jocks or as Miss Ru commands, "lip sync for your life, and don't fuck it up!" Even if you don't have the cable cracken, you can still catch web versions at  If you need to get away from it all and delve into the world of big hair and even bigger egos and attitudes, then its must watch TV.

And Now for the Friday Video


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Trekking Foward Thursday

Health departments urged to take action on female condoms

This week three national organizations urged their health department members to include female condom (FC) information in their online prevention messaging.  The National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), National Association of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), and the Urban Coalition of HIV/AIDS Prevention Services (UCHAPS) issued joint communication that highlights findings from the recent AIDS Behavior article about FC information available on health departments’ websites. It also recommends the health agencies take specific actions to improve communities’ access to accurate information on FC insertion, use and access.

Authored by Rodriguez, Kristina, et. al in late 2014, the article describes the results of a systematic review of FC information provided directly by the department of health websites of 50 U.S. states and 29 U.S. cities. Researchers assessed both whether health department websites included any general FC information and if there was any specific information regarding the use of FCs for anal sex. Here’s a snapshot of what the researchers found, which is highlighted in the memo to health departments:

• Approximately 60% of the health department websites included any FC information;
• Of the websites that included FC information, 46% discussed them for anal sex;
• Nearly 96% of websites that mentioned FCs for anal sex used supportive or neutral language;
• Specific instruction for using FCs for anal sex varied widely across sites, indicating a lack of clear guidance regarding FCs for anal sex and the absence of safety and efficacy data.

We are proud to have partnered with NCSD, NASTAD, and UCHAPS on this communication and applaud them for actively engaging health departments on this issue. The NFCC looks forward to sharing resources and offering support to health departments looking to improve the accuracy and depth of FC information made available to the public. Female condom advocates are encouraged to
share the memo with their health department partners.

Under The Dome: The Madness Continues

If you've only been watching Empire or needing that show as a diversion, COP 24/7 wants to bring you back to the fact that there's too much crazy that has gone on directly aimed at the LGBTQ community and beyond.

Hit the "we're crazy button," so many times we had to get a second one!  On this forum we've been apart of the "call to action," to encourage individuals to do whatever they feel they can to inform their legislator about these matters.

There's been a fury of work done by Stonewall Democrats, CAR, Arkansans for Equality, HRC, LinQ for Life and a host other both newly developed or emerging entities have shared their mutual outrage.

Certainly we must applaud all the efforts ranging from e-mails, phone calls, letters, press releases, meet up's and even this forums calls for big dollar shot callers to roll out some TV and other mass media campaign that finally happened. Albeit short lived and not making the needed impact to make a difference as we all would have liked.

However, through all of this strident effort, what this demonstrates is the fact that we need more on going direct funded infrastructure capabilities of local CBO's. Plus a year round game plan involving cultivating legislative relationships, developing a community leadership pipeline and creating sustainable systems that are ready to take on the well oiled machine of Jerry Cox's Family Council and other's like him.  There's no doubt that the LGBTQ community has been under assault and have given a good fight, we must realize that "times are a changing," and apparently its not always gayly forward. Keep up the good fight!! Stay tuned to COP 24/7 for updates and links.

Lavender Blazing on TV Trails

As we speaks to all the anti-gay legislation that's swirling around state houses and otherwise, there seems to be gold rush going on in TV land. Its been a banner year from the coming out of the Jamal character on EMPIRE played by Jussie Smollett (pictured below), to the hot gay boys on Day's of Our Lives and now CBS’s long-running The Bold and the Beautiful, has added a new arc for one of its characters: a secret past. That may not sound surprising, given it’s a soap opera, but in this case, a regular character is revealed to be transgender.

People magazine reported the plot twist was presented on Wednesday's episode, when it was revealed that Maya Avant, played by Karla Mosley (pictured right), is transgender. She was assigned male at birth with the name Myron.
Maya and her sister, Nicole, played by Reign Edwards, were arguing when Nicole said, "You're not my sister, Maya. You're not Maya at all. You're Myron, my brother."

What’s notable about this development is that CBS is actively promoting the plotline with a publicity push. As USA Today reported, the network boasted that The Bold and the Beautiful is the only current show on broadcast or cable TV to include a transgender character as part of the regular cast.
The big reveal scene could cause an LGBT viewer to cringe, since one character uses the word
"lifestyle" and Mosley is yet another cisgender (nontrans) actress playing a trans role. But Mosley, 33, has been acting on the soap for more than two years and only found out late last year about her character's hidden history.

"My first reaction was surprise, because 10 or 20 years ago, this is not a story we would be telling, and not in a way that's truthful and not sensational," Mosley told USA Today.

"My second reaction was, 'Thank you.' It's a gift it's a privilege," she said. "It's a real opportunity to educate our viewers here and all over the world."

Bradley Bell, executive producer and head writer, told the paper the soap is telling a story about love and tolerance.

"It is about people respecting other people's differences and their uniqueness," he said in a statement. "In the end, we all want to be loved, and in order to love someone else you first have to love yourself. If you are transgender, gay, straight, it doesn't matter. It's about finding love in life. This is a love story."

USA Today speculated that this could have the same effect on public attitudes towards transgender people that Will & Grace had for gay people a decade ago.

GLAAD certainly hopes so. The media watchdog organization that advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people estimates as many as 90 percent of Americans know someone who is gay, but only 8 percent know someone who's transgender.

"Scripted gay, lesbian, and bisexual characters have become more common on television,” GLAAD spokesman Nick Adams told USA Today, “but transgender characters continue to lag behind.”
Although she is not trans herself, Mosley said she understands the challenges. "It's hard, when you've been pushed down for so long and made to feel shame and feel you have to hide out," she told the paper. "It's a challenge to be vulnerable and say, 'Yes, this is who I am. Hollywood has the opportunity to be the trailblazers in the world.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Speaking Voulmes OUT Loud

COP 24/7 Special
The Scapegoating of Michael Johnson

All this week we've been sharing items that have been either posted to our Facebook page ( ) or have been forwarded to us for review. I am still amazed at the variety of items, links, videos and other content that either readers share directly or indirectly with COP 24/7. Even more surprising is how some of this content "connects" the dots to so many other social justice issues that have been profiled on this platform.

Recently COP 24/7 made the acquaintance of journalist Steven Thrasher who came to town in regards to anti-gay legislation that unfortunately became law. His efforts to cover topical and human interest stories continue in his work as a columnist in The Guardian and work on I appreciate Charles Stephens of the Counter Narrative for also putting this story front and center for those in the collective to take notice.

This story highlights so much that went wrong for Michael Johnson now 22 who cloaked himself in an alter ego of "Tiger Mandingo." His story has resurfaced due to his upcoming trial in May. Johnson's life timeline could be the "story" and is the storyline of many young men in communities of color and beyond. Yet his efforts to use what he had to make a better life for him caused him to make poor choices, surround himself with sexual vultures and his character assailed as a predator, monster and cast off that now sits alone in a jail cell.

Just as reminder that Arkansas still has an outdated HIV criminalization law on the books since 1989. Even as there's been a ballyhoo and outcry about Marriage equality and other anti LGBT legislation, there appears to be no interest in this measure which Obama administration issued statements in July 1994 to encourage states to revisit such laws and In October 2012, the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) called for the repeal of statutes that criminalize HIV-related behavior, writing: "Policies and laws that create HIV-specific crimes or that impose penalties for persons who are HIV-infected are unjust and harmful to public health around the world." It argued that such laws contribute to stigmatization and discrimination that inhibit diagnosis and result in "harsh sentencing for behaviors that pose little to no risk of HIV transmission." It advised that "All state and federal policies, laws and regulations ... be based on scientifically accurate information regarding HIV transmission routes and risk."[1]

Yet his story impacted me on many levels as I struggle with the complex issues around what will ultimately happen to young gay black men at the intersections of criminal justice system, HIV and pondering if they really believe that "Black Lives Matter." I have agreed with my fellow CN project comrades to share his story to raise awareness about this issue with plans to ultimately reach out directly to Johnson with letters of support. Watch for updates on our efforts and the final outcomes of his ordeal.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Sister Voices Carry

COP 24/7 Special

Editors Note: COP 24/7 will share news items and human interest stories that have been shared on our Facebook page and should be apart of this platform. We will continue with our original post, videos and more as we keep it coming. This item is in honor of National Women's History Month.

Catch One: The Mirror Ball Dims
by TreVell Anderson

In sequined dresses and leather jackets, afro puffs and high-top fades, they lined up outside the stucco nightclub on Pico Boulevard off Crenshaw, sometimes wrapping around the block. Once inside, they danced under strobe lights and a lone disco ball in the center of two of its seven rooms. Celebrities would make pit stops when they were in town — from Madonna and Sharon Stone to "Queen of Disco" Sylvester.

As the sun rose, they left drenched in euphoria and sweat.

But the joy experienced at Jewel's Catch One club was more than a weekend choice for fun; it was an act of defiance by black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the face of clubs in West Hollywood where they felt unwanted because of their race.

Jewel Thais-Williams (pictured) is a petite 76-year-old with a short gray afro. When she started clubbing in the early 1970s, gay clubs often denied her entrance because she was black and female. When allowed in, she would often be double-carded, having to show two forms of identification.
There was no space where black gays could enjoy themselves in one another's company, escaping what they saw as the racial discrimination of West Hollywood and the homophobia of the African American community.

So in 1973 she opened Catch One, one of the first black discos in the country.
Forty-two years later, the Catch is known as the last black-owned gay club in Los Angeles. But nightly crowds have dwindled from the near-thousands to just a handful, and by the end of the summer, the Catch will close.

"I felt, and others have said, it's an institution," Thais-Williams said. "It was ours, but it's time to move on."

Built for secrecy, with blacked-out windows and dark doors, the first gay clubs served as havens from the homophobia of broader society. But for those dealing with other identities, such as race and class, these clubs were even more important.

Whites had bathhouses, health organizations and other spaces. For black gays, their clubs were often the only gathering place they had.

When the HIV epidemic broke out, white gays banded together, using their clubs as spaces for fundraising and political galvanization. But early on, black gays did not see HIV as an issue affecting them, because the media and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention portrayed the virus as a white gay disease.
By the time blacks realized it did affect them, the damage had been done and club-going practices had shifted. The black gay clubs, serving an already limited number of people, were left without clubbers as the community shrunk.
Jeffrey Pub on the South Side of Chicago holds the mantle as the last black-owned gay club in that city. Detroit hasn't had one since the closure of the Continental in the late 1990s.
In Los Angeles, black gays are now attracted to the newness and central location of West Hollywood, where club-hopping is possible. That and the advent of the Internet and cellphone dating apps contributed to the Catch's decline.
Bianca Wilson, senior scholar of public policy at UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute, called the disappearance of black gay spaces concerning.
"Having community space at the intersection of both gender, sexuality and race has been really important as a resource for navigating racism, homophobia and heterosexism," she said.
Shane'a Thomas, an adjunct professor at USC's School of Social Work, said these clubs are more than just party spaces, they're institutions of affirmation.

"We have to find a space to validate who we are," Thomas said. "There's something about being around others like you, how great it feels to be affirmed in a place where people look like you."
In West Hollywood, black party promoters are taking up Thais-Williams' fight from the early '70s: creating spaces for black gays and lesbians.
In the middle of a dark room illuminated only by strobe lights, hips roll and shoulders juke to the latest rap and hip-hop tracks.

It's Sunday night at the Rage nightclub in West Hollywood. The dozens of people spilling onto the club's street-front patio stand out from the barrage of typical West Hollywood club-hoppers on Santa Monica Boulevard. The majority of them are black, and they come here because it's one of only two places where they say they can hear the music they love in the company of almost exclusively people who look like them — even if it's only on Sundays.
Brandon Anthony, 29, is the promoter of the weekly "urban night." He became a party promoter three years ago after noticing there was no space where he as a black gay man felt valued, he said.

Even in Southern California's gay haven, Anthony said it felt like his money, the money of black people, wasn't wanted — hip-hop music was restricted to only Top 40 hits, black go-go dancers weren't hired, and security seemed to rev up only for incidents involving blacks as opposed to those with whites.
"There are no black gay clubs in West Hollywood that cater to us," he said. "They weren't catering to the black LGBT community, so we made it cater to us."
Across the street from Rage is Penthouse, another club where on Sundays hip-hop is the music of choice.
Ivan Daniel, 53, who helps put on the weekly event, straddles the line between the nightlife of old and what he sees as a new age. Since 2004, he says he's helped to usher in an age in which he said blacks and others who just enjoy hip-hop culture can come to the city to party.
"We had to almost train the area on how to deal with the African American population, to appreciate us," he said.

One of the city's most popular, and legendary, clubs is the Abbey. Its founder, David Cooley, noted that he's made every effort over the years to create a welcoming space for all regardless of race.
"Diversity is what makes our business so strong," Cooley said.

But it's one thing to have a black gay night and another to have a black gay space, Anthony said.
Having a club in the gay bastion would help the black LGBT community fight racial prejudice they still face in West Hollywood, said Jamari Amour, 30, a professional dancer.
"People look down on you like, 'When we're done here, we're going to walk to our condos down the street and you're going to drive back to the ghetto," Amour said.
But being able to party in West Hollywood allows many black gays the opportunity to temporarily shift classes, if just for one night.

"It's a lot classier to be in West Hollywood, rather than being at the Catch, in the ghetto, on Crenshaw and Pico," Amour said. "I feel like when people get to West Hollywood they feel like 'I made it!'"

Such a belief is unfortunate, Thais-Williams said, because the area around the Catch used to thrive with black businesses and LGBT fervor.
"People in general don't have appreciation anymore for their own institutions," she said. "All we want is something that's shiny because our attention span is only going to last for one season and then you want to go somewhere else. The younger kids went to school and associated with both the straight people and nonblacks, so they feel free to go to those spots. The whole gay scene as it relates to nightclubs has changed — a lot."
Thais-Williams, who will focus on her health clinic next door, is trying to find a buyer for the property. When she does, she'll hold a final event to end on a good note.
Staring at the ceiling of the Catch's "disco" room, Thais-Williams pointed out one of the mirror balls. It's been a staple of the club since 1985, a sign of rebirth after its top floor mysteriously burned; she blames business gentrifiers in the area for the blaze, but an official cause was never determined.

She had to close for two years to rebuild but was defiant in the face of those she said wanted her out.
"I don't think so, boo," she remembered saying. "You've got to come bigger and better than that."
The Catch survived the fire. Thais-Williams never dreamed it would be done in by the lack of support by those she wished to serve all those decades ago. ( )


Monday, March 16, 2015

Get Ready, Set, Go COP 24/7

Cotton Pickin Crazy????

Well it's happen yet again. All eyes are on Arkansas as one our own pop's off with another over the
top political stunt or maneuver that pings the "WTF" meter. His rush to the front of the pack has had social media a blaze with folks name calling and saying is he "cotton pickin crazy!" It's all about Freshman Senator Tom Cotton's letter to the Iran signed by 46 other Republican senators, which warned that without congressional approval, any nuclear-arms deal can be revoked when President Barack Obama leaves office in 2017. The Obama administration has called the letter an unprecedented intrusion into the president's role to set foreign policy for the United States.

The United States, Iran and five other countries have agreed to finalize a framework for the deal by the end of March, with a final deadline in June. Negotiations are currently taking place in Geneva. COP 24/7 watched Cotton as he did his "no regrets," talking head tour of Face The Nation as he waxed on that "the letter was intended to show that Americans won't support any plan that could lead to Iran creating a nuclear weapon."

However as the furor scales up, many of those 46 whom signed on are now murmuring that perhaps they should have taken further considerations before signing the piece, yet none have come outright to say they were wrong or this action should have been further discussed. Meanwhile Cotton is digging in as we await if his comrades might be digging out leaving him covered with their escape dirt.

The Business of Equality

Our March 9th post begin to highlight and explore the recent roll out of "Business is Our Equality," move that also got more top billing air time this weekend on KATV (see link below).
In a nut shell, all of this is a continuation of efforts dealing with a prior HRC assessment survey which cited numerous factoids including, " 37% of members of Arkansas' LGBT Community have experienced harassment at work."

For clarity sake, this forum has actually read the survey and applaud using such tools to make points about issues, we can't dismiss that we have reservations concerning the subject pool of which this data was gathered or the methodology to reach outcomes. Nevertheless it is done and now this initiative moves forward with a mighty list of local businesses pledged to "promote inclusion of the LGBT community work place."

Sounds wonderful and a great idea that hopefully garner some results other than stickers on storefronts or windows. The LGBTQ community for far too long has not been able to leverage its own buying power, not only among those non-gay businesses but certainly among gay owned businesses. This is old news as many local businesses have been of the open mindset that "since you don't have anywhere else to go, its here or no where." We are glad to learn that this attitude is about to get the boot.

Especially, now that this new business frontier is unfolding. Wouldn't it be great if they would be open to openly advertising in LGBT focused media such as this platform. What if more employment notices are forwarded? How about event sponsorships, supporting educational programming and or scholarships to enhance local community based organizations to build their own capacity. Amazing as it may seem this concept never seemed feasible before with local LGBTQ businesses not seeing this big picture approach. COP 24/7 is willing to be optimistic with hopes of significant and realistic outcomes that truly make impact in our community, not another checked box photo op program with limited service to anyone. Here's a link to a video: KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports
Save the Date!!!

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Diversions and Getaways COP 24/7 Style

We made it! TGIF as this week has been a doozy and so much more. Too many items, so much e-mail, videos, links, re-boots, mash up and mayhem have all been the order of the day here at COP 24/7. So after all the "cray cray," that we almost could stand including Tom Cotton's rush to the "hey look at me grandstand," to the ever unfolding Facebook drama's of the LGBTQ set. You name it and there's been a taste of it either here or covered on our FB platform at  With all that's gone on, let's go for some diversions and getaways COP 24/7 style...

Fashion Police 911!

In a published statement, E network executives said, "We can confirm that Kathy Griffin is leaving E!'s 'Fashion Police.' We wish her all the best and are grateful for her time on the show, as well as the many laughs that she gave us all. 'Fashion Police' will return, as scheduled, on Monday, March 30 at 9 p.m. with our talented co-hosts Giuliana Rancic and Brad Goreski and executive producer Melissa Rivers. No further information is available at this time." Well this comes on the hot stiletto's of Kelly Osborne's departure and the ill timed as well as tragic death of legendary actress and comic Joan Rivers. 

In case you've missed this show, its the weekly throw down of all things fashion and as much shade as they can get away with.  As a "slave to fashion," I check into to show on occasions to check out the latest barbs and quipps about the well heeled who work the red carpets and runways. Ultimately Joan's acerbic wit and one liner's always too the show right to the line of good taste and sometimes over it, unfortunately the show has been trying to find its comedic legs afterwards. I had high hopes for Griffin but I'm still hopeful that another winning combination will be found and the show can get dressed for continued success.


You have to been under several tons of rock not to have heard the ballyhoo and catcalls about none other than the mega soap EMPIRE. The children are living for it and many adults are also loosing their minds as well.

Its the down and dirty Diana of Hip Hop featuring a dueling Black family that keeping it 100!  After binge watching eight episodes in one sitting to get caught up, all we need now is the impeding grand finale set for next week, March 18 on FOX.

The two-hour finale event — epically titled "Die But Once/Who I Am" — follows Jamal (Jussie Smollett) and estranged dad Lucious (Terrence Howard, pictured above) as they begin to form a music-centered relationship. But since this is Empire, the soapiest, juiciest drama to debut in 2015, that's not all — Lucious has a secret that could very well change everything.

And who knows what will come from the mind of producer Lee Daniels and creator Danny Strong. Plus we certainly can't wait for more "for a queen you keep a dirty house," one liners from Academy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson (pictured right)  as "Cookie." That's Miss Cookie to you bitch!  Even as the show has taken all types of barrages including being called "Coon TV," to other celebrity talk such as Puffy whom has talked about legal action around the fact that the show mirrors his life.
Wednesday's penultimate episode averaged 14.9 million same-day viewers, up from 14.3 million last week. That marks nine weeks of consistent ratings growth since its Jan. 7 premiere, an unprecedented record at least since 1991, when Nielsen began measuring individual viewers. (With delayed viewing counted, last week's episode will draw a cumulative total of more than 20 million.)
Empire's viewership among adults ages 18 to 49 was unchanged from last week. It's the top-rated network drama, and the most popular new series among that crowd, providing a much-needed boost to the struggling fourth-place network. Y'all get ready because the empire train has left the station and who knows where it will end up or get derailed. Stay tuned....

And now our Friday Video...


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Taking the Zip Line 24/7

Let's face it folks, its not been a good week for Arkansas. Our fair state has been on blast not only stateside, but globally! Unfortunately it just doesn't seem to stop whether its the crazy taking place under the Capitol dome here at home or the even more crazy on Capitol Hill in D.C.  Nonetheless, just in case you haven't heard the latest or any of it for that matter here's a zip through a few items. Hold your nose as we dive in...

The Harris Affair

House Minority Leader Rep. Eddie Armstrong of North Little Rock held a press conference yesterday to discuss the situation involving Rep. Justin Harris, a Republican from West Fork. Armstrong stopped short of calling for a resignation, but called Harris a distraction. This press conference is the latest in the "WTF" mash up of both the Mr.& Mrs. Harris's "re-homing" dilemma that has had folks up in arms since learning of these doings.

This whole matter is playing like a "real bad reality show," including prayer circles, exorcism, ex-baby sitters, stymied state agency, politics, religion and most glaring and egregious horror of rape. At this point Governor Hutchinson has " warned the public about judging Harris too quickly." However, Harris didn't actually convince the public with his off kilter press conference held last week and this individual might need to reassess just how distracting he really is.

Vagina Watch

As usual and expected the Arkansas Senate has voted to cut off public funding to abortion providers
and entities that perform abortion referrals, a move aimed at blocking grants Planned Parenthood has received for sex education programs. Not to mention that the organization provides a variety of health care options for low income women and in  case you didn't know men can obtain checkups for sexual health issues ranging from HIV testing to testicular cancer screenings. This agency does much more than provide abortion services which I doubt the general public doesn't realize.

The measure approved by the Senate on a 26-5 vote Monday doesn't specifically name Planned Parenthood and is identical to a proposal that stalled in the Legislature two years ago. The bill now heads to the House. It's undeniable that these legislators know exactly what there up to no matter how they go about it.

The proposal does not apply to Medicaid funding, and would also bar any public funding going toward "affiliates" of abortion providers or entities that perform referrals.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mid Week Mash Up

STUDY: Gays Spend More Money Partying Than Donating to LGBT Organizations

We've all seen the splashy LGBTQ targeted advertising beckoning individuals to flock to Miami, New York, Atlanta, and other big cities for gay pride festivities, White Parties, Las Vegas Mega destinations, Gay Days at Disney and even HIV centric cruises.

Not only is much of this advertising occurring in gay oriented media, you can see lots of it in more mainstream media outlets pitching everything from Cadillac's featuring fashion designer Jason Wu to former NFL player Michael Sam now turned golden boy pitchman for VISA and more recently Coke. However as all of steams forward even amidst anti-LGBTQ legislation rolling out all over the country, there continue to be studies as to the spending habits of the gay community as well as what portion of that spending power goes toward LGBTQ organizations.

The Movement Advancement Projected has been studying the financial documents from over 30 LGBT organizations – GLAAD, GLSEN, The Trevor Project, etc. – and releases their findings. Even as all of the organizations reported a combined expense budget of $165.6 million, a 10% increase from 2013 numbers  there is still a problem as less than 3 percent of the American LGBT population giving donations. Our top 10 anti-gay foes spend three times as much as all the LGBT advocacy groups in the analysis combined. No Arkansas agencies participated in the study.

Ultimately, this situation is directly affecting not only national organizations that are now refocusing or streamlining their missions such as the National Minority AIDS Council which has announced a new strategic direction including a new name, but also local entities that are struggling to survive as funding sources get smaller. The call to action," grow, merge or die," has been a reality check for community based organizations that find themselves competing with other agencies for the same funding pie.

MAP emphasizes, "The LGBT movement’s success will require that LGBT advocates, allies and funders understand the larger movement and work together to strategically apply their resources." This observation couldn't be more pertinent in lieu of the recent HRC Arkansas Business pledge in which local business could be a source in conjunction with other funding opportunities. Although this organization cites that " as a whole, the LGBT movement spends about $530 million each year and employs thousands of people in locations across the country," local organizations need as much donor and capacity building that can be mustered.

Now is the time to advocate for hygiene!

2015 is a critical year for the global community as the United Nations member states will agree to a new set of global development goals, known as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While draft goals have been proposed, there is much work to be done to ensure that water, sanitation, and hygiene are properly included and tracked.

We believe that hygiene is essential to health and development. It has benefits that reach from nutrition to education, equity, and even economic achievement. But without inclusion in the SDGs, a great opportunity to make advancements in these areas will be missed.

Hygiene is not a controversial issue. However, far too often it is left off the agenda. If hygiene is not included in the SDGs, it won’t be because of vocal opponents. Rather, it will be because supporters were not vocal enough about its importance. 

We are advocating strongly for hygiene to be included in the SDGs, and we invite you to do the same. You can start by downloading our hygiene advocacy toolkit, which includes background on the process, information about why hygiene should be included in the SDGs, facts and messages about handwashing, information about key opportunities, and ideas for how you—no matter your location, sector, or background—can be involved.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Take Two Tuesday

Uganda's 'Kill the Gays' Bill Is Back

As Anti-Homosexuality Act is set to be reintroduced, local activists have built a broad coalition that links the bill with other social issues.
He's Back! Yes that David Bahati, who was the primary sponsor of Uganda’s notorious Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA). Mr. Bahati announced his reintroduction of his notorious bill in parliament, after a court found it invalid for procedural reasons last August. This forum has previously reported on this politician as well as his then close ties to American evangelist who demonstrated both moral and financial support for his campaign.

But according to news accounts and human rights watchers this time will be different. President Yoweri Museveni is under heavy pressure not to once again invite international condemnation by supporting it. More importantly, the Ugandan coalition opposing it is broad-based and deep. As the dastardly measure makes it way through their system, we will update our coverage.

OH! HRC!!!!

Did you think that it wouldn't begin? Say what to begin..? The howls and screeds about the latest scandal of the one and only Hillary R. Clinton! She done gone and done it again, and upset folk with
her decision to delete what she decided was personal e-mails. E-mails you say? Yes e-mails from that one device that we've now learned was used to send, text or message what we are still trying to figure out if they were official or something else perhaps coded or of nefarious notions. I have no doubt that there will be plenty of unpacking of what she said or didn't say and if she really meant what she actually said or did not say. Get that...?

Also central to the issue is the fact the she did not have the official ".gov," moniker for archival or retrieval for any of the many investigations to come as she prepares to the presidential thunder dome come 2016.

Clinton had been silently putting together her case for a hotly awaited press conference in which she laid out her case and do some explaining about policies, laws, secured private servers ( if only we all could have one of those!) and did she or didn't she give up all the info in those 55,000 pages of correspondence she turned over to the State Department for review.

Consequently that data dump made up about half, or 30,000, of the overall 60,000 emails she sent and received with the private server. The statement later disclosed that about 90% of those had already been archived in the State Department's records, as they had been sent to ".gov" accounts, which are automatically archived. And so it goes, as the talking heads, Hillary Haters, and those whom live in conspiracy closets are ready for Hillary!!! Stay tuned, its just getting started.
Stats Speak: COP 24/7 Readership Surges
Its been a total surprise or maybe just a coincidence that according to our Google analysis tracking thingy, in the last two week this forum has had a surged of interest and readership. This platform in conjunction with our Facebook connection has garnered number that we've never seen before in the history of the platform.
Now let's see what's happened that could have brought this traffic. There are three possible elements that  may have spurred all this action. First up, the recent linked coverage to The Guardian news story written by Steven Thrasher about political crazy going on in our state did seem to start this bump. It is linking to such notable pieces such as this, obviously has the power of the reach that we have been seeking. Two, those videos that I kept getting an ear full about seems to also have churned interest in our site although this too will have to provide more proof as if they are indeed a driver.
And then there's the cross pollination of using that behemoth Facebook to create a "back and forth," from that social media platform to this one. So I hope that all of these will be a recipe to help leverage more readers, define some sponsors and maybe get us more noticed as the information "go to" place that we've been proclaiming for years!! Just to put some number to all this here's a snapshot of the FB items:
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Last Week Previous Week Trend
Total Page Likes 95 95 0.0%
New Likes 0 0 0.0%
Weekly Total Reach 313 21 1,390.5%
People Engaged 30 3 900.0%
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