Tuesday, April 28, 2015

COP 24/7 Talking OUT Loud

In our maddening world of tragedy such as the earthquake in Nepal or to the civil unrest and rioting of now Baltimore, it seems that it may just be to much to bear in our daily lives. Yet we must deal with these daily barrages of horror despite wanting to avert our eyes, close our ears or cover our
mouths in despair to each sensational item that plays out 24/7 in front of us.

We can decide when we want to "tune out," the talking heads with news reports to every whim or notion of the latest "if it bleeds, it leads," story. Our rubbernecking of today's events is everywhere now, as these stories can be our constant companions on mobile devices, monitors in waiting rooms, and TV screens that could pop up almost anywhere nowadays. For myself I can recall the Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues," where he taunts listeners with the phrase, "makes me wanna holler."  Although I felt the burn of that phrase at that time, it now some four decades later, it sears my soul even more.

Not only of what I see on TV, but also what I often hear. Case in point, I was broadsided by a UAMS discussion concerning its HIV/AIDS Clinic, where I learned that it was now viewed as not a "priority," or of low level concern as to the quality of care it offered. Furthermore, it was alluded to that it was low concentration "cash cow," for the institution and those whom are served have not been assessed of their perceptions nor was anyone interested in what they thought. The take away from this discussion was that if you are interested in knowing about it "good luck," in finding any internal support but you are welcome to find out what you can. This too makes me wanna holler.

As the rest of the nation watched, gawked, gazed and ranted about the Baltimore riots, I too took in my fair share of coverage. I was sicken at what I saw, but I was more sicken to known that much of this anger, despair and outrage has laid in wait just as the those Asia tectonic plates were grinding under the Himalaya's and the gases of a Chilean volcano was stirring, so was the fuel that erupted those citizens into a fury.

I don't condone violence as always a solution but we can't deny that civil unrest has had its place in our history. However I recoiled at the characterization that those marginalized and now agitated should be seen as "thugs or outsiders," when we don't assigned this tag to "corporate raiders, hedge fund folks, tax cheats, predatory lenders or other digital criminals such as Madoffs or others like him who capture copious Millions while never being referred to as thugs.

Destroying the precious infrastructure of an already fractured community is heartbreaking, yet we must not just see the acts as they now present themselves, but rather demand explanations of "how did we get here?," "Why has this situation been allowed to fester?," and ultimately who bears responsibility in not asking these questions in the first place. Stop. Exhale my Baltimore brothers and sisters. Regroup and reimagine your strategy to changing the story for your community.

Mabin on Fair Housing Panel at State Conference

"All Things to All People," is the theme for this weeks Arkansas Fair Housing Commission being held at the Crowne Plaza, April 28-30, 2015 during Fair Housing Month. The conference is expected to draw of 400 attendees to a variety of plenaries, workshops, exhibits and sessions. COP 24/7 Executive Producer and AHPG Community Co-Chair Cornelius Mabin has been asked to present during the "How to Build Strong Sustainable Communities with Lots of Affordable Housing Free from Discrimination: The Consolidated Plan," April 30, 2015, 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Mabin will speak to perspectives of the HOPWA program under the guidance of the Arkansas Department of Health and its challenges, barriers and national trends that are being seen as best practices for those living with HIV seeking services from the program. During the program Mabin  will offer snapshots to current support levels and impending additions to the states initiative.

The presentation will also offer bullet points on the new initiative to standardize data gathering on program usage as well as public input around the National HIV AIDS Strategy 2.0. Others sharing the panel will be Sara Oliver/Arkansas Development Finance Authority(ADFA), Lori Williams/Department of Human Services(Assistant Director), and Jean Noble/Plan Coordinator(Grants Division), Economic Development Commission. At post time the conference was sold out. However overflow seating was being made available. For more info check out: www.fairhousing.gov

Red Door Announces Bluff City Conference

The Red Door Foundation, Incorporated, we are excited to announce our third annual Saving Ourselves Symposium. The symposium will be held June 4 -7, 2015 in Memphis, TN at the Sheraton Memphis Downtown. *Registration is free and now open.  Partners this year include NAESM, Inc., Young Black Gay Men's Leadership Initiative, Human Rights Campaign Foundation, Tennessee AETC, Kaiser Family Foundation, AVAC and National Minority AIDS Council. 
 

This year we have an exciting symposium planned that includes various activities involving presenters from various interdisciplinary fields, including HIV/AIDS and STD fields on both local and national levels. Thursday, June 5 and Friday, June 6 will be the MSM of Color Technical Assistance Meeting. The technical assistance workshops are designed for traditional and non-traditional stakeholders working with Black Gay Men.  Workshops include topics such as Culture Sensitivity, Faith & Black Gay Men, Bio-medical Prevention,  Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Exploring Sub-cultures and Building Rapport with Black Gay Men, to name a few.  This TA is in partnership with The Department of Health and Human Services Regional Resource Network IV.


This year our theme is: "Solidly United: Building the Black LGBT Community Brick by Brick".  This year's theme focuses on building relationships, creating formidable networks and helping to build supportive and empowering Black LGBT individuals.  We want an atmosphere where Black LGBT individuals are celebrated, respected, honored and adored.  With that being said, and without any certainty of a doubt, "Solidly United: Building the Black LGBT Community Brick by Brick", will help us to generate action steps that will unify our community and solidify our identity as Black LGBT individuals.   
 
 
 
Don't Forget to Join us this Wednesday Night, 6:30 pm - 9pm at The New 610,
610 Center for our
A Spring Evening of Awareness.
Check out our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/corneliusonpoint 
 
 
for more information you can also check out www.linqforlife.com or call us at 501-4042367

Monday, April 27, 2015

COP 24/7 Streaming and Trending

 
Hey Is This Thing ON?
 
Since this digital town square rolled out back in 2004, we've always been trying to stay relevant as well as on technology edge of things. Of course, at that time who knew what was to come, how it would impact our abilities to communicate or for heaven sakes, being able to stay "plugged," through these now nifty smart phones!
 
And so it is, and COP 24/7 grew to showcase our ability to be among the first Arkansas LGBTQ podcast on this platform plus we've found our way to creating our own produced videos to enhance our messaging capabilities. Even as other media outlets have come and gone, COP 24/7 has stood in the gap to educate, empower and entertain with our distinct take on "what's really going on." As we count down to our final bow of COP 24/7, watch for more videos, links, App's, badges and so much more before we close the doors in September.
 
Exploring Marriage Equality
 
Earlier this year I got a happy coincidence to meet celebrated journalist and writer Steven Thrasher as
he rolled through our state on a whirlwind effort to get the story around anti-gay legislative matters at our state house and to gather as much vibe he could about our local scene.
His story gave a good snapshot of the situation and a fair overview of those that might be impacted for all to understand. Since then, I have stayed on watch for both is television appearances and all his media or creative pieces that speak volumes about a range of subject from his take on the history of the Afro to his latest on marriage equality which can be found at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/24/gay-marriage-us-culture-war 
Its an interesting take on where we've come from on the issue to how rapidly we've arrived to finally having Supreme Court hearings this week. As a side note, several of the Arkansas plaintiffs have arrived in Washington D.C. to be apart of planned festivities around the courts hearings. COP 24/7 would hope that those in attendance would share their observations on this platform or our Facebook page. Watch all our platforms for updates on Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal's tirades about how citizens should be outraged at this possibility or even get on their knees to pray it away!
 
Steven W Thrasher is writer-at-large for Guardian US. He was named Journalist of the Year 2012 by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Village Voice, Rolling Stone, BuzzFeed, the Advocate and more. Follow him on Twitter at @thrasherxy or visit his website.
 
 
Transgender Week 101
 
Amazing as it seems, last week appeared to be all about being transgendered from A to Z. Of course the mega news story of the week was the Diane Sawyer tour de force interview with Olympian Bruce Jenner who revealed that he's a "Woman."  That news and all the hype swirled by the ABC network had folks of all manner waiting with baited breath for every word that Jenner would reveal about his journey. From all indications the story had legs and has continued to trend across all media platforms, personal conversations and talking heads galore. In case you missed it, there was also additional stories about youngsters who have decided to "transition" as the parents have found abilities to accept
that choice.
 
If that wasn't enough, then there was the "Prancing Elite's"(pictured above) whom J-setted their way on to the reality TV scene over on the Oxygen network. In their premiere episode, the all male gay dance troupe which wears female dance attire as costuming were rejected for a local parade. However, the team decided to defy their management's advice and go forth and prance in the Saraland, Alabama parade.
 
Their presence got mixed emotions and it seems that this show resonated among BGM who took to Twitter and Facebook with their cries of support and their own tears that the team was facing challenges in being accepted. Of course it didn't hurt that BGM favorite Nene Leakes was a featured guest who offered words of inspiration to the giddy and admiring mega-fans.  In case you missed it, its got a
 
Need Insurance? Call 501-379-8203 for information on how you can get covered before April 30, 2015! Do it today
 
 
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Friday, April 24, 2015

The Hot Friday Mix Down

Another TGIF edition of COP 24/7 as we have started the count down clock to close up shop of this experiment in citizen journalism that was to only exist for a few months. Wow how time has passed by as we hit the Ten year mark last year and we will conclude where we started come this September 2015. It's been good and bad on so many levels. Was it worth it? Of course it was, as this forum has left a indelible body of community coverage, national post, links, videos and so much more that will serve as our "time capsule," for all to discover. Next week I'll have my say about this digital town square and all that it has meant to me. Until then, let's roll some videos and other fun stuff!

Dear Future...Prince Ea Calling

In this visually beautiful and mesmerizing piece, 27 year-old Prince Ea apologies to future generations for what we are doing, and not doing, to the planet today. The six-minute video contains so many great thought-provoking quotes, it's bound to be shared for many years. So far, in less than 48 hours, his video has garnered over 35 million views on Facebook.  It is content such as this that I often get from folks who want me to be aware of or take notice. Amazingly I don't get as much content from local folks as I would have liked, but that's par for the course. In the meantime, take a gander at this heartfelt poetic "call to action," from a brother who dead serious that "equality" don't mean nothing if we are not all equally concerned about what's being done to our environment. Ultimately if we don't do anything to raise our collective voices then we all could be "equally extinct." Think about it...

 
 
 
 
 
 
Al Jazeera in the House
 
I do my fair share of TV watching among the dizzying array of channels from Xfinity for which I seem to pay a kings ransom for. I've tried to figure out just how could save some cash if I could cash
in my cable and go commando on the net. But I just haven't cracked that code as yet. Until then I wanted to hip any of you the Al Jazeera America channel. 

I caught the AJ bug during some down time at a conference in Washington D.C. some years ago. I thought to myself what a fascinating channel that takes me on a global ride to connect me with what's really going on with the rest of the planet.  Its' amazing just how little many American's know about our global neighbors or what's it like in their part of the world.
 
 I find that many of my fellow citizens are absorbed with the corner of the sky and often times unless there's wall to wall coverage by our national media about something devastating or some other disaster that catches our attention.  There are great shows such as Faultline, The Stream, Real Money with Ali Velshi and  Talk to Al Jazeera that offer a different spin on events and often times from perspectives that you just haven't thought about it. If you don't have this channel, check out there website www.america.aljazeera.com   Try it, I believe that you just might like it.
 
Tallywackers Comes To Dallas Gayborhood
 
The male equivalent of the breastaurant Hooters reportedly is coming to Dallas' Oak Lawn gayborhood.

TallywackersAccording to a Craigslist help wanted ad, Tallywackers is a bar, restaurant and entertainment venue that will feature scantily clad male servers. From the Dallas Eater blog:
If you've ever wondered why there wasn't a male version of the skeezy dining establishment that is Hooters, well, your prayers are about to be answered: Brace for the arrival of Tallywackers, coming soon to the gayborhood. ...
If Hooters and Twin Peaks are considered breastaurants, does that make Tallywackers a... dickstaurant? Discuss.
Tallywackers3Billed as Dallas' "newest and most exciting place to be" and scheduled to open in May, Tallywackers staged a hiring event Saturday for bartenders, servers, cooks, bus boys and hosts. And judging by photos from the event on Facebook (right and below), there were some highly qualified applicants.
We reached out to Tallywackers for more info but didn't hear back right away.

For those familiar with Dallas, Tallywackers will occupy a seemingly cursed spot on Lemmon Avenue that changes restaurants every few years. But in a city that supports more than its fair share of gay dancer bars, perhaps Tallywackers will have better luck.
At the very least, Tallywackers could make for another scandalous float in the gay Pride parade — and piss off the local newspaper columnist who's obsessed with that Squirt.org billboard. 
Check out more photos from the Tallywackers hiring event, AFTER THE JUMP ...

(source: Towleroad.com )

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Healthy Thursday and More

Community Connectors Initiative Spins Off

Arkansas RAPPS ( Reaching, Affirming, Positive, Progressive, Systems), will be launching
an exciting new element to its outreach efforts. The "Welcome to the Living Room," series of conversations will be an interesting twist on further understanding the complexities of individuals dealing with everyday challenges of sexual health responsibilities and social justice issues.

Currently the concept will feature an interactive discussion that will feature story telling, videos, social media hubs, theater and arts as well as journaling. The goal of the group is to create a open and fluid zone of conversations hosted in an actual "living room" setting that will be created by the participants.

The first set of conversations will start,  May 15, 2015, 715 Sherman Street, inside the Kramer Arts Auditorium, starting at 6pm. For more information call 501-404-2400. All ages are welcome to participate! Watch for more updates!


Arkansas to be represented at State of Enrollment Conference
   
Enroll America will host it's State of Enrollment Conference in Washington D.C., June 10-12. COP 24/7 Executive Producer and health advocate, C. Mabin has been chosen to attend, as well as, over other attendees from all aspects of the health care outreach and enrollment effort to share lessons
learned, new research, and best practices in helping consumers enroll, retain, and use health coverage that meets their needs and their budget. In 2014 over 900 individuals attended the conference from all 50 states and territories.

Mabin severed as a In-Person Assister with the Living Affected Corporation during the initial enrollment period and has had a continued interest in the impact of the programs deployment in Arkansas. During last year's conference, Mabin participated in the LGBTQ break out group in which Arkansas was noted as the only Southern state that had achieved Medicaid expansion and also openly contracted with a minority and gay owned and operated community based organization designated to specifically outreach into the LGBT community. While in attendance, Mabin will share video clips, updates and news from the event. 

With over two days of plenaries, workshops, trainings, and events, the conference offers valuable opportunities to learn and plan as we continue to help Americans enroll in and retain health coverage. Network with peers and partners from across the country as we take a critical look at what worked better during the second open enrollment period for the health insurance marketplaces, what barriers persist in enrolling and retaining consumers in health coverage, and how we can all work together to build and sustain momentum in our ongoing effort to get America covered for years to come. 
 
 Enroll America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization focused on one goal: maximizing the number of Americans who are enrolled in and retain health coverage.
 
Office of National AIDS Policy Hosting National HIV/AIDS Strategy Regional Forums
Reducing HIV-related Disparities - Detroit, MI
Date: Thursday, May 7, 2015
Time: 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM CDT
Location: Institute for Population Health: 1400 Woodbridge Street, Detroit, MI 48207
Achieving Greater Coordination: Innovations and Integration of Prevention and Care to Improve the HIV Care Continuum - Boston, MA
Date: Friday, May 8, 2015
Time: 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM EDT
Location: TBD
Meetings are free and open to the public. RSVPs are requested athttps://www.cmpinc.net/ONAP.
In addition, ONAP will solicit community input through online channels, including an online public forum during April and May. For additional details, please visit AIDS.gov and follow the ONAP blog at www.WhiteHouse.gov/ONAP for updates. Unfortunately there are no meetings schedule directly for Arkansas as yet, however, as more cities may be included we will update.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Mid Week Upload

GYT 2015 Seeks to Increase Awareness

A national campaign called Get Yourself Tested (GYT) was launched in April 2009 to increase STD awareness and thus, help people improve their sex lives. People in the U.S. can contact their local centers for further details and advice. From Monday, April 20 through Saturday, April 25, as part of the seventh annual GYT campaign, free HIV and STD tests will be available at participating health centers including Arkansas.
 
In support of the this effort, Arkansas RAPPS, Mobilizing Arkansas Brother's, Arkansas HIV Planning Group and LinQ for Life, Incorporated will be hosting an evening of awareness, Wednesday, April 29, 6:30 - 9pm, 610 Center Street in downtown Little Rock. The event will consist of health information and conversation starters, programming updates, affordable care act links, consumer empowerment and other outreach engagement around educating attendees to their personal responsibility in their sexual health. The event is open to all whom wish to attend. Complimentary food and beverages will be provided. For more information call 501-404-2400, info@linqforlife, or hit us up on this forum.


Diversity in the City

Well it happen. What you ask? Just in case you missed the latest advocacy move, spearheaded by City Director Kathy Webb and a coalition of civic minded activist. The Little Rock city board officials voted Tuesday to prohibit the city and companies contracting with it from
discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity, challenging a new Arkansas law criticized as anti-gay.

The ordinance approved by the city's board on a 7-2 vote bans discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in hiring and city services, including those offered through outside vendors. This ordinance flies in the face of an earlier law in which Arkansas became the second state after Tennessee to bar local governments from expanding anti-discrimination laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

The law prohibits local ordinances from prohibiting discrimination on a basis not recognized by the state, and Arkansas is among 29 states that don't include sexual orientation in their anti-discrimination laws. The new state law doesn't apply to a city and county's policies applying to its employees, which Little Rock's ordinance would cover. The Little Rock proposal goes a step further with the restriction on anyone who contracts with the city. So what's next? Who knows? Stay tuned and we'll keep you in the loop!


 And now for a Earth Day moment in video...
 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The COP 24/7 Catch Part 1

ADH Names New Section Chief

Miriam Ibrahim has accepted the STI/HIV/Hepatitis C/TB  Section Chief position effective April 12, 2015.  Miriam brings a wealth of valuable education and experience to the position.  Miriam has a Master’s of Public Health degree from the University of Kansas, School of Medicine.  She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Major Occupational Therapy from the College of Los Teques Cecilio Acosta in Venezuela. 

Miriam has been serving as the Assistant Section Chief since March 2014.  Prior to that, she was the Associate Director for Administration & Community Health Services at the Reno County Health Department in Kansas. Her primary focus was smoking cessation and was instrumental in a city wide ban against smoking in area restaurants through her work with Reno County Tobacco Use Prevention Coalition.

Ibrahim announced during the 4/10/12 Arkansas HIV Planning Group meeting that she was seeking to address more Hepatitis C testing using coordinated media placement, the development of additional messaging printed materials produced internally and accessing capacity training for her staff on increasing the effectiveness of the department.
 
OWLS to Soar
The Grand Men of Nu Delta Fraternity Inc. proudly announces "The Soaring Owl Scholarship"! This
is a scholarship that will reach back to pull forward the young men in communities all over Arkansas.

The group has also reached out in partnership and collaboration with LinQ for Life in addressing health disparities among young gay men. The two entities have agreed to future programming and product support to offer mobile HIV testing and counseling opportunities in the central area.

It will allow young men to soar like an owl above all stereotypes, statistics, and any other issues that may hinder from getting an education. If you know of any male interested in applying, please forward this information. The Scholarship will be available Fall 2015! WHO will be the FIRST SOARING OWL!

Prancing Elites On Oxygen

You would think that we at COP 24/7 wouldn't have much time for TV trolling. However, we have to make a break for it as we can not post about all the break out and sometimes nerve wrecking programming that is now spilling from the LGBTQ stew pot. One such program can be found on
Oxygen Media which proclaims that it " dances to the beat of its own drum with the uplifting, inspiring and amusing new docu-series The Prancing Elites Project." It is coming for you April 22. Check your local cable outlet listings to determine how you can get a peak.

This African American, gay and non-gender conforming dance team comprised of Adrian Clemons, Kentrell Collins, Kareem Davis, Jerel Maddox, and Timothy Smith is challenging societal norms while overcoming several obstacles with passion and humor on their journey to be their authentic selves. The series delves into the personal lives of these five best friends in Mobile, Alabama as they fight to be accepted in the female dominated dance culture of J-Setting.

In many other cities this form of dance is a fall out from the Ball Scene as well as "vouging," made popular by underground clubs and sets. It was these young dancers that didn't get all the buzz as did Madonna whom later rode the wave with her mega hit Vogue.

This series comes at a time when there is still much conversation about identity as well as hot topic discussion about what's masculine vs. effeminate which rages on in circles on the net and otherwise. This topic can take you in so many directions and we don't even have the time to do it here. So feel free to share your observations or opinions in this space or our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/corneliusonpoint  The floor is so open.....


 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Blast Off and OUT

Its' another week at COP 24/7 and if it's anything like last week, its going to be more off the chain postings that we can almost stand! Let's just say, "you just can't make this stuff up!" So without any further delay, let's dive in....

Rainbows Being Raised at City Board

You can't deny that there's been plenty of advocacy and activist work being rolled out in the last few months. There's been more energized folks doing all manner of carry signs, "hissing" legislators,
gracing the capitol steps, holding emergency meetings and now taking their concerns to the Little Rock City Board meeting tomorrow at 6pm. So what's up? In case you missed it and I'm not sure how you did, its all about Director Kathy Webb's campaign promise to introduce a  civil rights ordinance that includes protection for sexual orientation and gender identity.

It will not only cover city employees, but residents and city contracts (meaning companies who want to do business with the city must also have such a policy). Now don't you think that this has just rolled up and there was no back and forth. Leading the inquisition has been At-Large Director Joan Adcock who has had a series of "questions," about whether the measure would or could be impacted by a state bill passed earlier this year. Seems like that there's going to some careful navigating or lawyering by city attorney Tom Carpenter to make assure that the ordinance doesn't run afoul otherwise. In the meantime, there's been yet another "call to action," asking folks to crowd City Hall as civic minded onlookers to witness the proceedings.

I applaud all of this but I guess none of those mileage votes, urban blight meetings or quorum court sessions were sexy enough to warrant such attention. For information purposes, Contact your Ward’s City Director & 3 At-Large Directors at (501) 371-4510 or email them at board@littlerock.org


Another HIV Section Staffer Departs


Keeping qualified individuals in place as we continue to grapple with HIV and AIDS in Arkansas
continues to be impacted by staff changes. Mr. Willie Rhodes, Health Program Specialist in the Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS/ TB Section of the Department of Health announced today his resignation effective April 24, 2015. Rhodes has accepted a similar position with the Washington State Department of Health in Spokane, Washington. His first day on the job is undetermined at post time.

During his ADH tenure he has served in numerous capacities including as then Community Planning Group Co-Chair, LGBT Outreach Coordinator, participated in variety of conferences, in-house strategy sessions and an array of HIV/AIDS testing and counseling initiatives around the state. Currently Rhodes, was serving as the Program Manager of the Community Connector's Initiative. The project was a innovative hybrid that sought to identify local contractors across the states health districts to serve as conduits to linkage and retention in care, educational outreach and serving as "micro" community planning groups. 


Welcome to The Living Room

From the CDC to community based or AIDS service organizations across the country are undergoing more radical changes and shifts in both their intervention messages and service delivery thresholds.

All this trending is continuing to unfold in Arkansas including the new, "Welcome to The Living Room," which will be series of focus group driven sessions to identify issues and challenges of those living with HIV facilitated by Arkansas RAPPS. The first session will take place May 15, inside the Kramer Auditorium, 715 Sherman in downtown Little Rock.

Organizers will seek to engage participants in an informal setting to increase spaces where those living with HIV can interact while sharing their lived experiences in a context that is welcoming and non-threating.

The series will feature some short survey features, brainstorming, strategizing what programming is needed and discovering how the group could assist with additional messaging and outreach in area communities.





Got Insurance yet? Then by all means do so before April 30! Hit us up here at COP 24/7 for more details on how you can get covered before its too late this enrollment period!!


 

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Big Gay COP 24/7 Show

It's been another hell of a week here in COP 24/7 land as well as out their in the wild wacky world that we call Earth! No matter how you look at it, this week had been "off the chain," until the Internet broke yesterday with the latest Star Wars trailer that had folks mesmerized and talking about nothing else. Although we will not get 17 Million views like the trailer, we still got our own "big gay show," to offer and we hope that you will enjoy the post, links, videos and all that we can put out here at COP 24/7!!

"Angie Said That" Rolls Out book

We'll if former NYC police commissioner Bernard Kerik can do it and so many other's have done it,
then why not former club entrepreneur Angie Richardson? Do what you ask?  Pen a book, "The Cries Behind The Bars," while she spends time at the Women's Unit in Newport, Arkansas and gets it listed as being available on Amazon.com no less!

According to the Amazon.com site, " Angie, is a well known Club Owner, Comedian and Entertainer. With her current situation she is determined to push through the pain and hold true to her faith. Turning her ultimate stumbling blocks into stepping stones, she is using her current situation and real life Prison experience to give birth to pen and narrative, with live interviews from Pulaski County inmates, Newport Prison inmates and her life as a Prisoner! Angie, tells all in a way that only she can as "Angie said that."  Just as a recap, Richardson claimed to be the victim of mistaken identity but was convicted of being the female bandit who pepper-sprayed a bank clerk during a December 2012 armed robbery along with Jerry L. Johnson.

This forum was made aware that there had been some talk from area organizers of recognizing  Richardson with some type of "award' in regards to her local efforts. At post time COP 24/7 has not been able to substantiate exactly to what extent this recognition will be given. Richardson has been apart of past Black Pride activities that included pageantry and off site events.

The 282 page paperback book priced at $19.95 and $17.96 for Amazon subscribers, is described as "self published," and is being touted as apart of her "12-12-12," series to which there is no explanation. Nonetheless it appears that the ever resourceful Richardson is attempting to continue her entrepreneurial spirit with Facebook postings, Twitter feed and allegedly her work will be coming to a book store near you soon. Stay tuned...there's probably more to come on this one.

 
For more great content, check out our Facebook page for some super video content, updates, breaking news and so much more. Do it today!! Hit it to www.facebook.com/corneliusonpoint
 
 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Going for It Thursday

Doing a LGBT 360

I discovered the is cute and informative video that I knew that I needed to share with all of you. As you already are aware of, we are getting stoked for the gladiator political throw down not to mention that non-discrimination ordinance being tossed around like a "hot potato," by the City Board of
Directors.  The measure would protect LGBT city workers from discrimination and require contractors with the city to abide by non-discrimination rules that include sexual orientation and gender identity. In past meetings there was inquiry from Joan Adcock (pictured right) about a potential conflict with the state's Act 137, the recently passed law which forbids municipalities from extending protections to gays and lesbians.

To answer her question, city attorney Tom Carpenter told the board he hadn't consider the state law because he believes a federal supremacy argument will prevail. In full disclosure, Mrs. Adcock is the representative from our neck of the woods and we have never been a great fan of her governance. If we had a choice, it would be high time for her to head to the house and be done. But since that she's still around, I guess we'll have to deal with her around this issue and what can be perceived as her disdain for certain people. Several years ago board member Erma Hendrix was embroiled in a terse "back and forth," around insensitive gay comments in regards to a proposed day center in her ward. She stated she did not say or was as we often hear from politico's, she was mis-quoted or either it was taken out of context. The matter subsided and everyone moved on.

But now here we are again with City Director Kathy Webb seeking votes to get this matter on the books despite the looming state law that is waiting in the wings to keep cities from passing these type of laws. So as the wrangling and hand wringing goes on, we shall await outcomes coming next week.  In the meantime enjoy this great video which outlines just what has happened favorably to the LGBTQ community and what could happen if the tide turns and we get a real hater at 1600 Penn Ave.   


 
 
 
 
 
AIDS Watch 2015
 
Earlier this week almost 400 advocates from 30 states, Puerto Rico, and DC came together to learn about HIV policy; celebrate our community's success; and to meet with over 220 Members of Congress to educate them about important issues to people living with HIV in the United States. Arkansas was represented by Ms.Tommy Luckett who is also member of the USPLWHA caucus lobbied her representative French Hill around the issues of HIV criminalization, Ryan White, HOPWA and Affordable Care Act. She and other participants represented states that account for 92% of the current U.S. epidemic.
COP 24/7 urges our readers to use the policy action center to look up your representatives, get information about new HIV-related legislation, and stay current on important policy news! We also encourage you to use and adapt the AIDSWatch fact sheets in your meetings with your federal representatives in their district offices. They are a great tool to help elected officials understand the HIV epidemic and know how they can make a difference.
 
AIDSWatch was made possible thanks to the dedication of our organization partners Treatment Access Expansion Project, AIDS United, the US PLHIV Caucus  and the generous support from our sponsors: AIDS Resource Center Wisconsin (ARCW); AIDS United; The Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR); Bristol-Myers Squibb; Community Education Group; The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation; FHI 360; Human Rights Campaign; Legacy Community Health Services; Lifelong; Merck; National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD); NMAC; Pozitively Healthy; Treatment Action Expansion Project; and the United States People Living with HIV Caucus.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Tuesday ZIP File

The worst secret in all the world rolled out Sunday afternoon as Former First Lady, Senator and U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton said what all her supporters have been waiting for, "I'm running for President!"

As you can imagine, all of social media erupted including those of us swilling down libations in a local haunt as the word broke. Now with this collective sigh out of the way, the 2016 political cycle is swirling up to be a thunder dome event complete with what we now know could be the next "Billion Dollar," blow out.

On the Republican side we've got Cruz, Paul and now Rubio also ready to stump for their respective agendas and conservative ideals with candidate Rand Paul already talking about, "taking our country back," and Rubio espousing that we don't want to return to "yesterday." All we can say is that it's on and who knows where this hot mess will end up. Today Clinton has done a slow stroll to Iowa in her "reconnect" listening tour as she prepares to meet and greet folks about being their "champion" of everyday Americans.

All we can say is "let the games begin," as we all get ready for another barn burning, shade throwing, name calling, foot in mouth, political throw down that we've come expect here in America. Ladies and gentlemen gird your loins, its about to get real ugly...stay tuned.

#Black Lives Matter
Community Policing, Guns, & Me Part 1

COP 24/ 7 has not been so distracted not to be appalled as well as disgusted with the ongoing incidents involving the use of deadly force especially in regards to unarmed Black men. From Ferguson to this week in Tulsa, we are continuing to see this type of force resulting in the deaths of  these individuals who have encountered local law enforcements for minor infractions to other criminal activity.

Yet within all this social justice and judicial mayhem, I find myself reflecting on my own past experiences involving myself as a young person before I ever really understood what Billie Holiday meant by "Strange Fruit," and before coined catch phrases such as "racial profiling," and social justice or determinants. I realize now that I had already experienced being profiled when I would go to a local store with my Father only to be watch be the store owners wife, Mrs. Sipes. She would peer around the aisle, or mysteriously be standing over me, gazing at me over her large frame glasses with a "what are trying to steal smirk,?" 

And it didn't stop their. Later in life, I remember being stopped in then Safeway on Main Street for questioning about "friends" that may have been shoplifting. I was not apart of any such theft, but because I arrived with the individuals, it was "perceived," that I perhaps was guilty by association. Even as I found my way to the gay nightlife, I had heard stories of police raids and found myself faced with such a raid on one occasion. I pondered if this would be the time that the cops may act out or show out as I had read about what had happened at the Stonewall Inn.

How could I forget when I was hauled into court on a warrant for my arrest when actually the offender was my younger brother posing as myself with my drivers license involved in accident.
I profusely stated to the judge that I was not at the scene of the infraction. I was emphatic that I had no knowledge of that accident nor had signed any citation and I absolutely did not commit the offense.

Yet the young police officer testified that he had encountered "me" on the night in question, even though my brother was "5 '6," to my "6'1," frame and his then 275 pounds to my then 190 lbs., not to mention that my sibling had a full head of hair to my own baldness. It didn't matter according to the judge, I had non "real" proof that I was not on the scene in lieu of the officers testimony otherwise. I was found guilty and fined.  Even though none of this resulted in the violence we've witnessed, but with the turn of dime, slip of finger, or any matter of an instance, I might could have been one of those gentlemen.

Locally I may not have been apart of visible unrest, but its weighed heavy on my mind that many of my brothers and sisters have met death at the hand of those who are sworn to protect. I've seen the back and forth from organizers of this march, civil disobedience, panel discussion or policy engagement.

I've come to realize that I just can't be in every lane, but I'm concerned that although I may be busy with other issues, I'm concerned that there's not enough visibility on this important dilemma as well. There's so much on the plate as far my own social and human rights interest, but I do my best to at least be aware, empathize and find time to recognize those such as Mr. Mondale Robinson who are on the front lines to call attention to the issue. I close with this listing he posted to his Facebook page as reminded readers that more action is needed from all sectors of our community.

Here are the names of Black people killed by police in 2015
 
Walter Scott 50
Bernard Moore 62
Lavall Hall 25
Jonathan Ryan Paul 42
Jamie Croom 31
Terry Garnett Jr. 37
Monique Jenee Deckard 43
Tony Terrell Robinson Jr. 19
Tyrone Ryerson Lawrence 45
Naeschylus Vinzant 37
Andrew Anthony Williams 48
Dewayne Deshawn Ward Jr. 29
Ledarius Williams 23
Yvette Henderson 38
Edward Donnell Bright, Sr. 56
Thomas Allen Jr. 34
Charley Leundeu Keunang, “Africa” 43
Fednel Rhinvil 25
Shaquille C. Barrow 20
Kendre Omari Alston 16
Brandon Jones 18
Darrell “Hubbard” Gatewood 47
Cornelius J. Parker 28
Ian Sherrod 40
Jermonte Fletcher 33
Darin Hutchins 26
Glenn C. Lewis 37
Calvon A. Reid 39
Tiano Meton 25
Demaris Turner 29
Isaac Holmes 19
A’Donte Washington 16
Terry Price 41
Stanley Lamar Grant 38
Askari Roberts 35
Dewayne Carr 42
Terrance Moxley 29
Theodore Johnson 64
Cedrick Lamont Bishop 30
Anthony Hill 27
Terence D. Walke 21
Janisha Fonville 20
Phillip Watkins 23
Anthony Bess 49
Desmond Luster, Sr. 45
James Howard Allen 74
Natasha McKenna 37
Herbert Hill 26
Markell Atkins 36
Kavonda Earl Payton 39
Rodney Walker 23
Donte Sowell 27
Mario A. Jordan 34
Artago Damon Howard 36
Andre Larone Murphy Sr. 42
Marcus Ryan Golden 24
Brian Pickett 26
Hashim Hanif Ibn Abdul-Rasheed 41
Ronald Sneed 31
Leslie Sapp III 47
Matthew Ajibade 22
 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday Post UP and OUT

Getting  To Zero: Is Arkansas Moving in the right Direction?

Getting to Zero has found it's way into the HIV/AIDS lexicon of verbiage that has continues to grow in prominence. As this health dilemma has ebbed and flowed over the last three decades into a what some called an "industrial disease complex," filled with systems, interventions, prevention
methodologies, data points and all manner of smart folks waxing on in educated jargon that at times can make your eyes rolled back into your head. In the attached video, we learn that San Francisco's latest trek to address new infections with its rapid response program designed to increase immediate linkage to care treatment options with sights on zero new infections in their city.

In the meantime, the struggles, barriers and challenges of dealing with up to 50,000 new infections  continues nationally and undoubtedly here in Arkansas where we have to face the fact that we are still grappling with the unmet needs of those not in care with estimates up to 4,000 persons. As a backdrop to this situation, their was robust discussion during last Friday's Arkansas HIV Planning Group meeting held in the Arkansas Department of Health auditorium. The core of the dialogue centered around the effectiveness of AHPG in its collaboration with ADH as well as tangible outcomes in communication, programming, funding and policy.

Mr. Lee Brown questioned the notification process concerning awardees seeking HIV Awareness funding. He noted that his proposal was never fully addressed as to its rejection or if there could have been alterations that would have been acceptable for funding. Program Manager, Courtney H. emphasized that there was no "numeration" attached to the proposal announcement but that she had not been given any "explanation" as to the rejection. Interim Section Chief Ibriham stated that she would seek why there was no written explanation forwarded and would hope to report back at the next session or otherwise.

As discussion continued, attendees fielded possible strategies and solutions to what was noted as poor perception vs. the reality of what has been accomplished in dealing with messaging around HIV. Danny Harris, ARCare Outreach Coordinator, shared that "among those who I see, it is believed that it's all about the "central" part of the state. They feel as if they are not connected because they don't have a sense of buy in." He continued, " I would be open to taking developed materials to the empowerment groups and share information about AHPG." In 2013 AHPG participated in a statewide effort to reach out to outlying communities which resulted in marginal attendance. The body voted to cancel subsequent site visits while assessing outreach best practices.

 Another strategy discussed was making the meetings more centered around "community" interest versus institutional updates and  also utilizing the Community Connectors initiative to serve as "micro groups" in their respective areas. The discussion concluded with insights as to changing the day part of meetings by scheduling sessions in the evenings or other non-traditional hours. The next meeting is scheduled for June 12, 2015.

Interested individuals, community based organizations, advocates, consumers and clinicians are invited to attend. Voting memberships are available but not required to attend. Check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ArkansasHIVplanninggroup

COP 24/7 has been steadfast in our posting concerning latest breakthroughs and failures of our public health entity in addressing the situation. Watch this space for more news, links, videos and updates from around the state.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Don't forget that you can join the next wave of prevention and intervention
by showing your support for the organizations Prevention Campaign at www.gofundme.com/linqforlife
 

Friday, April 10, 2015

TGIF: COP 24/7 Style

Diversity in the City

As part of UALR's Diversity Week, April 13- 17 in conjunction with the Annual Racial Attitudes Conference, president of the UALR Alliance, Zack Baker, discusses the importance of diversity and the LGBT community with additional video clips of other local participants.

In its 12th year, the conference includes a panel discussion focused on the annual Racial Attitudes in Pulaski County Survey Report titled “Values, Family, and Community.” Dr. LaVerne Bell-Tolliver, professor at UALR’s School of Social Work, will moderate.

The survey stems from telephone interviews with 1,826 respondents representing five geo-racial groups: Little Rock Whites (LRW), Outside of Little Rock Whites (OLRW), Little Rock Blacks (LRB), Outside of Little Rock Blacks (OLRB), and Hispanics. The report, which highlights statistically significant differences and commonalities among the groups, focuses on three areas identified as Basic Values, Contemporary Trends, and Community Issues. 
 
Respondents were given the opportunity to sound off on subjects ranging from same-sex and interracial marriage, to single-parenting,  religious and moral values, police and community relations, unfair treatment in the workplace and public establishments, and the quality of life in their neighborhoods.
One of the most striking responses in the report came from how differently whites, blacks and Hispanics view and interpret the Michael Brown killing incident in Ferguson, Mo., last year.
Dr. Michael Twyman, author of the report and director of the Institute on Race and Ethnicity, said “Many of the responses illuminate just how various community members can see the same things occurring in society so dramatically different depending on their cultural lens and individual experience.”
 
The full report will be available online at ualr.edu/race-ethnicity following the forum. Click here for more information on UALR Diversity Week.

 

 
 

Advocates for Youth Program Seeking Leadership Recruits

If selected, participants will have opportunities to: develop new organizing and leadership skills; become informed on sexual and reproductive health issues; connect with passionate young people from across the country; and build skills to make a lasting impact in your community. You will also join more than 100 youth activists in Washington, DC for an intense four-day activist training institute free of charge!
Advocates' youth activists have done amazing work this year. You can join them in:
  • Advocating for better sexual health education policies in your state
  • Increasing HIV testing and condom availability in your community or on your campus
  • Providing confidential support and resources to young people who are coming out as LGBTQ
  • Mobilizing your peers around international family planning issues
  • Working toward ending the shame and stigma people are made to feel about having an abortion
If this sounds like something you want to be a part of, click here to find out more about the programs and apply today! Applications are due May 1, 2015. 



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Thursday, April 09, 2015

On The Money Post Part 2

You probably heard it more than once somewhere in your life, "if want to know what's going on, follow the money." Well that's a great old adage that works sometimes but not always in the case of understanding just exactly what's really going on with HIV/ AIDS grant funding in Arkansas. 

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation state health fact sheet supported by data provided by
NASTAD, the report cited that in funding year cycle 2013, the state received a total of 13 Million dollars in federal funding across several line items. ( see table below).

This funding outlay was the sole source of funding for the agencies STD/HIV/Hep C/ TB Section that deals with infectious diseases. With  additional federal funding sources directly focused for the division's STI program. It is widely known that Arkansas has no line item in the state budget for HIV/AIDS prevention but has relied on federal outlays over the course of this health dilemma, as well as the fact that Arkansas receives the least amount of HIV funding of all the southern states.

As with all things government, there is a dizzying array of tables, graphs, pie charts and calculations to determine what goes where. And therein lies the issue of understanding how all this works and or lack of understanding if its not working. Local advocates and activist have been musing on about how expenditures have been allocated or either returned to the ADH coffers. At this posting up to $117,000.00 dollars in contract dollars were retrieved by ADH to be re-allocated in prevention services targeted to the MSM community.

Of this funding level, at least 80% or up to $100,000 was re-directed to the divisions new Arkansas Connectors Initiative launched October 2014. This project was seen as an expedited effort to create a new method to scale up linkage to and retention in care, further outreach and awareness engagement activities. Contracted individuals were identified in the states health districts and awarded funding based on submitted proposals.

To date 5 contractors have been activated to work in their respective areas and submit quarterly reports on findings through focus groups, assessments and testing. The program is slated to run through October 2015 with possible renewals into 2016. According to health department officials, plans are underway to identify proposals that meet the use criteria for the funding. At this posting, no such proposal has been named or entity seeking the funds.

This is even more head scratching, even as Arkansas has a transparency spending website (www.transparency.arkansas.gov ) that every citizen can troll through with hopes of making heads or tails about exactly what you are seeing. Much of the ADH money bucket although presented on this site, it is cloaked in terms such as "Miscellaneous Services," or "Outlined Contract," with agencies such as ARCare which has a subgrant funding from the Ryan White Part B Grant  and HOPWA contracts with Northeast Arkansas Regional AIDS Network.  Attempting to following the HIV/AIDS dollars in Arkansas can be daunting as well as long and winding road of numbers and postings. This forum will continue to unpack and peel back the funding onion.

KFF

Total Federal HIV/AIDS Grant Funding


LocationCDC HIV/AIDS FundingHOPWASAMHSAOMHRyan White ProgramTotal
Arkansas             $2,182,781$817,974$0$0$10,186,735$13,187,490

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

On The Money Post Part 1

Zombie Appropriations Roll in New York

It’s a good thing for a nonprofit to successfully advocate for government funding, but what happens when the money comes after it’s gone out of business? Is this a kind of “zombie appropriation”?
The Albany Times-Union reports that the controversial nonprofit ACORN, closed down for almost five years, received an appropriation of $24,000 from the New York state legislature in this year’s budget.

The paper says that critics, like the good-government group Citizens Union, call this “Spending in the Shadows”—“a largely unchecked system that allows lawmakers to insert pork-barrel spending into the budget.”

ACORN—Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now—closed its state affiliates and field offices in 2010 amidst intense scrutiny stemming from an undercover video shot by conservative activists. Because of that controversy, state senate Republicans fought to have the distribution of ACORN’s earmarked grants stopped. Congress cut its funding, and the group filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

ACORN doesn’t exist in New York and no longer appears on the Internal Revenue Service’s list of tax-exempt organizations. And after a scandal broke in 2009, N.Y. lawmakers have not been allowed to insert new earmarks into the state budget. But somehow, millions in appropriations authorize the spending that was approved in prior budgets but has not yet been spent. According to Citizens Union, that now amounts to $87 million.

Most of the group’s past grants came from Democratic Assembly members from New York City for initiatives such as helping low-income people do their taxes. While the paper says it is unclear how they got into this year’s budget, critics say the grants should be vetoed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose office says it never requested the funds.

ACORN was granted the same amount in the 2014–2015 budget, but the money was apparently never spent. Some observers say it may be a placeholder for something else, to keep the funding intact. The nonprofit was later reconstituted as New York Communities for Change.—Larry Kaplan

Former AIDS Healthcare Foundation Managers File Whistleblower Act Claims Against Nation's Largest HIV/AIDS Medical Company for Patient Referral Kickback Scheme

Three former managers of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Inc. (AHF) have filed Federal and Florida State Whistleblower Act claims against the nation's largest supplier of HIV/AIDS medical care for illegal patient referral kickbacks. AHF is charged with defrauding Federal healthcare programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Health and Human Services HIV/AIDS grant programs of at least $20 million a year in false claims since 2010. Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC represents the plaintiffs.
  
Filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on April 3 under the Federal False Claims Act and Florida False Claims Act, the complaint is based on the personal knowledge and documentation of Whistleblowers Jack Carrel of Louisiana, Mauricio Ferrer of Florida, and Shawn Loftis of New York. All held management positions at AHF prior to their jobs being terminated– despite having federal protection under the False Claims Act – after they notified their supervisors about the company's unlawful practices.

According to the complaint, AHF conducted an organization-wide criminal effort across at least 12 states, including Florida, that boosted funding from federal healthcare programs by generating HIV/AIDS referrals to the company's various service centers. AHF did this by unlawfully paying referral incentives to employees and patients in violation of the anti-kickback statute.

"AIDS Healthcare Foundation's fraudulent conduct is made even worse by the fact that these funds were entrusted to this healthcare company for the purpose of assisting a vulnerable patient population consisting of individuals living with HIV/AIDS, of whom more than 1.1 million reside in the United States," said lead counsel Theodore Leopold of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, whose firm along with Salpeter Gitkin, LLP, and Kaiser Law Firm, PLLC, represents the three plaintiffs.

The complaint alleges that in 2010 AHF began to generate consumer demand for its programs by implementing a system of illegal incentive payments that rewarded patients for self-referrals to AHF services and rewarded employees for referring patients to AHF's testing, clinical, pharmacy and insurance services centers. This practice began in California, AHF's headquarters, and then spread to other states, including Florida, where AHF has a substantial presence. In addition to Florida and California, AHF operates in Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Nevada, and Washington, D.C.

According to the complaint, this "'Linkage' – or the referral of HIV-positive patients into AHF's constellation of services – was AHF's 'holy grail' and the key to its business model." As part of this, a bonus compensation of up to $100 was paid to an employee who "linked a patient" with positive test result to AHF "linkage" coordinators for referral clinical services. Moreover, the complaint states that at the company's 2013 Leadership Summit, "AHF President Michael Weinstein personally advocated for 1) increased testing to raise HIV 'positivity' rates; 2) improved "linkage" of patients to and retention in AHF medical care; and 3) the payment of financial incentives to patients for the purpose of inducing self-referrals to AHF medical care. He specifically directed staff to raise the patient financial incentive to $50 immediately and to implement the incentive program nationally throughout the AHF organization."

The plaintiffs, or relators, in the case were all aware of this business model. Jack Carrel, Director of Public Health, AHF Southern Bureau, from Aug. 9, 2012 to Aug. 1, 2013, was responsible for program implementation, coordination and evaluation of the prevention division, as well as for providing guidance to program staff about budget management, and community and administrative tasks. Mauricio Ferrer, a Senior Program Manager, AHF Southern Bureau, from May 17, 2011 to Aug. 2012, was responsible for supervising the daily functions and administrative operations of the prevention and testing programs in Florida. Shawn Loftis, Grants Manager, AHF Southern Bureau, from Jan. 2, 2013 to Aug. 16, 2013, was responsible for day-to-day fiscal management of sponsored projects.

"The resulting illegal referrals produced thousands of 'false and fraudulent' claims under the Federal False Claims Act and Florida False Claims Act and caused tens of millions of dollars in payments by federal health care programs. Furthermore, AHF violated numerous other False Claims Act provisions by its malicious retaliation against relators Jack Carrel, Mauricio Ferrer and Shawn Loftis, including violating their civil rights through unlawful termination of employment. We plan to hold AHF accountable for all these violations," said James P. Gitkin of Salpeter Gitkin, LLP.

The False Claims Act is a federal law that imposes a liability on persons and companies who attempt to defraud government programs. Typically, this activity comes to light and a lawsuit is initiated through whistleblowers who are allowed to file actions against these parties on behalf of the government. Those filing under the Act stand to receive a portion of any recovered damages. The Florida False Claims Act is modeled after the Federal False Claims Act.

In addition to Leopold and Gitkin, the relators are represented by Diana L. Martin and Leslie M. Kroeger, of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., office; and Geoffrey R. Kaiser, Esq., of Kaiser Law Firm, PLLC, in New York.

For more information about United States of America and the State of Florida ex rel. Jack Carrel, Mauricio Ferrer and Shawn Loftis v. AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Inc., visit http://www.cohenmilstein.com/news.php?NewsID=766.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Trekking and Trending Tuesday

National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day – April 10

In an Advocate for Youth posting, in regards to National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day, eht group cites that "today's young people are the first generation that has never known a world without HIV and AIDS. In the United States, almost 40 percent of new HIV infections are young people ages 13 to 29. Despite this harsh reality, young people and their allies are determined to end this pandemic once and for all." Unfortunately locally this doesn't appear to have a priority despite continuing cases of new infection among the state's youth.

However this platform still calls to action that this health dilemma although now overshadowed by other equality issues must not fall to the margins. Case in point, even as the this awareness day arrives, little to no programming or activities have been announced unlike last months Kick Butts Day in regards to smoking cessation which stepped off with mini rally, T-shirts, & other incentives for participants.  Added to this complexity is the fact that efforts to contract with local group Pride Corp as a Community Connector failed to materialize due to time constraints. The Community Connector initiative was designed as another outreach, awareness, linkage to care component in which PC was to have direct access to its youth base. To date their has been no decision as to how the allocated funding for this purpose will be reallocated. 

COP 24/7 is the only Arkansas entity listed as an ongoing signed supporter to the Advocates for Youth website and its mission to champion efforts to help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health. Advocates believes it can best serve the field by boldly advocating for a more positive and realistic approach to adolescent sexual health. We are proud again this year to share their vision of "a society that views sexuality as normal and healthy and treats young people as a valuable resource." 

It’s more important than ever to recommit to the fight against HIV and AIDS. We must continue to invest in scientific advancements like a vaccine and a cure - without forgetting the importance of prevention strategies and ensuring equal access to information and healthcare for everyone.
And most importantly, we must invest in young people  - bring them to the table not only as partners, but as leaders that can truly turn the tide of the HIV and AIDS epidemic. Only by fully investing in young people - in their health, their education, and their leadership - can we reach an AIDS-free generation.

Op-ed: The Slow Death of Gay Gathering Places May Be Aiding HIV

Social isolation among LGBT elders may be contributing to new HIV infections, but community building can slow the advance.

BY 

 

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