Thursday, April 02, 2015

Twisting and Turning Thursday

It Continues!!: Rolling in the Advocacy Deep 2
And so it continues as the "cray cray"  raging at the state house has put Arkansas on blast right next to Indiana which grappled with what is or is not the extent of the "religious freedom," construct. What a week it has been as we've heard that legislators and to our WTF look on our faces, stated that they had not fully understand the "details," of the bill or that somehow there were "interpretations" and nuances around the word of the year so far, "RFRA.

Then Gov. Hutchison goes 360 with a "well see what had happen recall" move to soft sell the notion that his comrades in this needless deed perhaps tweak language that was more reflective of the federal piece. Talk about a "Holy let's walk this back," card played while interested parties kept showing up all over the capitol complex. We can't deny that "money talks" as well with those big shot callers like Wal Mart, Apple and Acxiom saying they are having none of it while chiding the legislators to realize what a slippery slope that they were on that could place the state in an even more embarrassing light considering Indiana was getting bitch slapped with calls for boycotts.

This hot mess was such a moving target that this forum almost couldn't keep up with should we post now or wait for the next shoe to drop. Even as there were call to actions, phone trees, emergency this or that, there was much energy around Facebook throughout this entire ordeal.

It was very interesting to see all manner of post, pictures, graphics, mash up's and a whole lot of rants, raves and back talking concerning HB 1228. Every body who is on social media was in a serious race to share whatever they could find out, create or dissect about all things surrounding the issue. HRC's Arkansas Chapter rallied supporter's via the leadership of Ms. Kendra Johnson, local community based organization's such as Arkansans for Equality, CAR, Stonewall Democrats, ACLU, and an endless array of other entities participated in one fashion or other.

Yet, we would be remiss not to cite that in the coverage of this situation, one couldn't help but noticed that even though this was promoted as a "diversity" issue and there was outreach, this didn't light up as much among the SGL set. As this forum attempted to take the temp in this sector of the LGBT community, we discerned it as "lukewarm to tepid." Even though we had notable Black legislators and other local leaders making the case that this law was another attempt to open discriminatory doors in the name of religion. Believe it or not, we can't deny that the social determinant plate doesn't always have the same menu for everyone.  Despite it all, what has happen is what should happen in a democracy where the people should have a say in how they are to be governed. So what's next? Stay tuned....   

BMISJ Leverages Literary Project

Members of The Bush Mallon Institute for Social Justice (BMISJ) under the
leadership of Kevin Elders and Michael Ross continue their support
and ongoing development of the “Reflections of a Shattered Mirror Project”.

These ongoing efforts with the financial seeds planted in the project have now flowered into a working community based organization seeking its 501c3 non-profit status.
The organization, “ LinQ for Life” (  ) was founded to continue the statewide need in Arkansas to increase the health literacy around HIV and AIDS. It serves as a catalyst to coordinate a linkage to care services, provide innovative intervention and prevention programming and building micro-enterprises to support these efforts.

Cornelius Mabin, Project Manager for the effort said: “As I continued to collect and dialogue with content contributors, it became apparent to me that what the submissions were “calling for”, was not just a periodical archive to house social justice verbiage but a vehicle to do something to address issues and perhaps put words into action”.

He continued, “Each piece that I reviewed spoke to dealing with not only the initial NABWMT tenants of racism, sexism, homophobia, but also reached deeper into the BMISJ well of addressing the many intersections of housing, education, food insecurity, and economic parity.”

This lead to Mabin partnering with colleague, Lee Brown, founder of  LinQ for Life. " I wanted to embrace the project as a strategy to move the literary project forward," Brown said,” I learned about the project as Mabin and I had collaborated on other local projects. I thought that combining my concept within this visionary project could
expedite each into reality.”

Currently the Reflections Project has gathered over 50 submissions and is in the process of editing and content finalization with the objective of producing a resource magazine with sights on a 2015 national convention delivery in July. “We are very pleased with the work on this project,” said BMI Co-Chair Michael Ross. “I have expressed to the NA Chair’s and directly with Cornelius my feelings about its development. I look forward to the impact this work and the agency will have in that area.”

The non-profit’s vision seeks to “create links to a greater quality of life”. Brown emphasized that our agency services will address the “mirrors of stereotypes, stigma, and poor imagery”. Ultimately it is our belief that many of these conditions co-exist in fueling unsafe sexual behaviors in communities of color”.

LinQ for Life is an Arkansas registered entity with two inaugural board members. The organization launched a website and social media platform in December 2014 and has secured a $16,000 public health contract for two of its programs, Mobilizing Arkansas Brothers and Arkansas RAPPS (Reaching, Affirming, Positive, Progressive, Systems).
A Go Fund Me Prevention Campaign at , was also launched to support its long range goal of establishing The LinQ house as a one stop clinic.

The mutual relationship of the Reflections Project and the establishment of LinQ for Life Inc. are groundbreaking for the Bush Mallon Institute for Social Justice in supporting the development of a separate non-profit entity under its incubation based in the South. This follows the trend of such national organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign Project One America and National Minority AIDS Councils Leadership Pipeline Initiatives.
For more information on LinQ for Life go to:

Watch for more updates on the first Annual LGBTQ Health Summit Coming this Spring 2015.


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