Friday, May 29, 2015

Falling Forward Part 2

Private Dancer Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Tina Turner‘s last concert ever was May 5, 2009 in Sheffield, England. The show marked the end of her 6-month, 90-date, 50th Anniversary Tour. The tour was Tina’s first tour in 8 years, and saw her sold-out arenas across Europe and North America. Of course that was the "farewell" tour that all the iconic divas get to do one last time and then we learn that maybe its not quite the last of them.

And now with the release of her special anniversary edition of Private Dancer comes the rumors of a possible 2016 year end tour.

The forthcoming album includes the original tracks re-mastered along with a second disc of 12” mixes, b-sides and three non-album singles, plus the duet with Bryan Adams ‘It’s Only Love’. The collection also features the track ‘Ball Of Confusion’ (That’s What The World Is Today) (with B.E.F.) recorded with Martin Ware from Heaven 17, and which later lead to him producing the lead single from the album ‘Let’s Stay Together’ – a single that soon became the biggest selling 12” record in American history.

While checking in on "all things Tina," including her own blog page, COP 24/7 discovered that she's been busy with numerous projects around her spiritual journey in Buddhism. Also Turner teamed with good friends Regula Curti and Tibetan singer Dechen Shak-Dagsay on what would become the first ‘Beyond’ album followed two years later by ‘Children Beyond’ and a 2014 opus entitled ‘Beyond: Love Within. There's also an update about "Mrs. Edwin Bach as she and husband Erwin enjoy life at Chateau Algonquin where the couple was married in July 2013. As news is released, COP 24/7 will get it to you as fast as you can last "farewell Tour 2.!"

Patrick Smith wins International Mr. Leather 2015

Patrick Smith, Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2015, was named International Mr. Leather 2015 at the 37th annual IML Competition in Chicago Sunday, May 24.

Over 2,000 leather enthusiasts packed The Harris Theatre for the annual competition. The night began with a speech from International Mr. Leather (IML) founder and producer Chuck Renslow, 75.
Renslow spoke in support of the Rainbow Railroad, a group that provides refuge to LGBT individuals living under constant threat of violence and death. A collection was taken to support the cause.

Over the past 37 years, nearly 2,000 men have competed for the title of International Mr. Leather. On Sunday, Smith became the 37th person to claim the coveted leather title. There was no contestant
from Arkansas. The last contestant from this area was Mr. Michael Kaplan (pictured right), representing the Mr. Heartland title in 2014.
Hailing from Los Angeles, Smith bested a field of 52 contestants from 5 countries. Participants were judged on stage presence and personality ("pecs and personality"), leather image, presentation skills, and physical appearance.

The new International Mr. Leather was also congratulated by his mother, who hugged and kissed him on stage.

Kevin Murphy, Mr. Leather Ireland 2015, was named 1st runner-up, and 2nd runner-up was Brian Donner, Mr. TriState Leather 2014.

Representing Chicago, Luis Tipantasig, Mr. Chicago Leather 2015, made it into the top 20 finalists round. Bamm-Bamm from Phoenix was named International Mr. Bootblack 2015.

The OUT 50 in Arkansas?

COP 24/7 in conjunction with The READ will be seeking nominations for our very own first OUT 50 in Arkansas showcasing individuals who have been influential and dedicated to making a difference in the LGBTQ construct. If you would like to nominate person for consideration, please submit your choice by email at  A select panel will review all submissions and make the final choices of our first OUT 50 inaugural list! Get those submissions in now!

Don't forget you can get social with us at

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Falling Forward Part 1

HIV Criminalization
The Wrecking Ball Case of Michael Johnson

COP 24/7 spent considerable time dedicated to the HIV criminalization of case of Michael Johnson who was found guilty on May 15 and sentenced to 60 years in prison. Johnson 23, was a former wrestling star and student at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri before his world
collided with the judicial system that demonized him as "recklessly infecting," a consensual partner and exposing four others to the virus.

The case became a sensation that fueled colorful discussion as well as outrage that even consisted of such talk of "killing those infected" or "branding" them with the words "HIV. On blogs like labeled Johnson as the "HIV Buck," in reference to his online profile of "Tiger Mandingo," of which he used to promote himself.  Through all the noise of his case and the aftermath of his conviction, there still lies the work necessary to repeal or reform these laws that exist in 32 states and two territories including Arkansas. According to the United Nation's Global Commission on HIV and Law, the US leads the world with such persecutions.

In article posted on The Nation website it cited that most of these laws were enacted at the height of the epidemic in the 1980s and early 1990s—before life-saving antiretrovirals were introduced—and as such they do not reflect modern science, which has made an HIV diagnosis a chronic but manageable condition. For example: The goal of aggressive antiretroviral therapy is to suppress a viral load—the amount of HIV in a sample of blood—to become “undetectable.” Once a positive person has achieved viral suppression, that person is extremely unlikely to transmit HIV to a sex partner. But criminalization laws do not take this into account.

Nor do these laws make sense as a deterrent from supposedly “reckless” behavior. The overwhelming body of research, going back more than a decade, has established that the vast majority of new infections each year are contracted from someone who does not know that they are HIV positive. “Nearly 92 percent” of new infections “likely occur after contact with people who don’t know they carry HIV or do not receive treatment,” according to a February 2015 report by the Centers for Disease Contol and Prevention.

People who are unaware of their serostatus cannot take steps to prevent transmission. Thus the enormous push, from the federal government down to community-based organizations, to create greater access to testing, and to decrease the fear and considerable stigma associated with a positive diagnosis. Less fear means more testing. Criminalization laws—and the headline-grabbing, racially loaded prosecutions such as the one faced by Michael Johnson—directly undermine this effort in the same communities where the epidemic remains most acute. Those communities are disproportionately African American.

This forum has posted numerous items, links videos and assorted material related to this dilemma and other challenges to those living with HIV. Despite those post as well as recognizing other efforts to raise awareness around this penalizing law, currently there is no action or movements toward addressing this matter. COP 24/7 will continue to research, post and seek to engage interested parties to elevate this issue on advocacy agenda across the state.

Here Media Launches New Platform

Here Media Inc. has launched the new social network, “a content and conversation destination where pride belongs to everyone,” according to a press release. “ gives millennials new tools to amplify their digital voices, raise their social profiles, and lead inspiring conversations fuelled by timely, entertaining content.”

Our mission is to create fun and entertaining content for a new generation of LGBTs and their social circles, as well as be a place for positive, inspiring conversation,” explained Robert Hebert, Here Media’s director of consumer marketing, in a statement. “ will promote emerging voices and move the culture forward through stories and videos that our audience is proud to engage with and share.”’s “priority is to report on currently trending topics and prominently features user-submitted comments, content, and photography. In addition, publishes bite-sized stories, clever and comical listicles, and original video content — all connected to top-trending hashtags,” according to a press release. was developed by Livefyre, a San Francisco-based technology company. “The site uses real-time interactions to inform its editorial focus and promotion, leveraging conversations to create real-time social experiences. Members use their existing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, or Google+ profiles to instantly log in and engage with other members around the content that matters most to them,” according to the press release. 

"Sharing our content helps you be proud of who you are, no matter which social media account you're using, because reflects your life,” said Here Media editorial director Lucas Grindley in a statement. “So many people have told us during the conception of that, finally, here's a site that truly reflects who I am and what I love. isn't just for one kind of person; it is for everyone." 

Attention Advertisers! The READ is ready to take your order for the June Issue. If your business, organization, company or service wants to show some pride while connecting with statewide audience, call us today at 379-8203! Do it today!!


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Wednesday Spindown and OUT

Zamora Scholarship Available

The Real World CastThe Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship Program is meant to support and spotlight those young leaders from this generation, whose efforts and leadership continue to carry the torch of young activists like Pedro who fought the HIV/AIDS epidemic of their generation, in ways inspired by their own passions, insights, originality and conviction."

Soon after learning that he was living with HIV at age 17, Pedro (second from right)  dedicated his life to raising public awareness and arming other young people with the information and tools they needed to avoid HIV infection. At the age of 22, Zamora captivated the nation with his openness, compassion, vitality and charisma when he appeared on MTV’s The Real World 3: San Francisco (1994).

Millions of young Americans watched (and through syndication, continue to watch) as this grounded, insightful, gay Cuban-American immigrant – openly living with HIV in a time when the epidemic was often misperceived as a problem mostly for gay white men – left Miami to live with six strangers, amid the constant presence of TV cameras capturing the intimate details of their day-to-day lives. Pedro’s participation in The Real World was a strategic extension of the work he had been doing for almost five years.

Long before The Real World, Pedro provided HIV education to thousands of middle and high school students in small group, classroom, and assembly-style settings; trained educators and counselors in regional and national conferences; gave testimony at Congressional hearings on the needs of young people, especially those of young people of color; and battled stigma by sacrificing his privacy to raise awareness through profiles in major newspapers, and nationally broadcast television.
Pedro’s work was tragically cut short when he died of an AIDS-related illness in 1994.
If you have any questions about the scholarship, please visit the webpage (, or feel free to contact Matt Kennedy at (415)765-0498 or June 15th is the deadline to apply.
Pride in the City: Fort Smith Unveils Unity in the Community Schedule
COP 24/7 continues it effort to spotlight, highlight and showcase news and event from around the state. However, its a two way street folks.
Although we get many tidbits about happenings and such, much of this information still has to be trolled for and dug up usually after the fact.
If this spot is willing to coordinate, disseminate and articulate to our readers why its important to attend, they surely one would think that all event planners, producers, development people, drag MC's or those on the One's and Two's would think to make sure that this platform was on their distribution list. In the meantime and anyway here's the line up.
Watch for more Pride in the City information as it comes in, if it comes in. If not I guess we'll have to go looking for it in order to share it with all of you. Got info share it at
Oxygen Network & NMAC
Partner to Promote The Prancing Elites Project 
NMAC is partnering with the Oxygen Network to provide information and resources for their new show, The Prancing Elites Project.  The show airs every Wednesday at 10PM on Oxygen.  It follows a group of young non-gender conforming black gay men from Mobile, Alabama and their joy of J-Setting.  NMAC is partnering with the Center for Black Equity; their coalition of Black Prides host many J-Setting competitions.  On last night’s show, one of the elites came out as HIV positive.  Unfortunately, this is still a courageous act.  We need to get the message out about the impact that HIV has on young black gay men, particularly in the South.  NMAC applauds the Oxygen Network and The Prancing Elites for their honest portrayal.  Be sure to watch next week’s episode where you find out how the group deals with this revelation.  
J Setting may be a new term to some; it refers to a form of cheerleading and team dance that originated by the Prancing J-Settes from the Jackson State University marching band.  Entertainment mega-star, BeyoncĂ©, brought this dance form to the mainstream in her video Single Ladies. 
Save the Date Event!!
Seating for this activity is limited! RSVP on the Facebook event page or call 501.-379-8203 for more details.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Post Holiday Catch UP

Did you miss us? Were you looking for your daily dose of COP 24/7 and was wondering WTF? Hopefully so, but we are not that thin skinned to know that most likely most were not. Anyway, even as spring hay fever, pollen, chest and head colds and all manner of health related matter are taking place, COP 24/7 can totally understand being kicked by these ailments because we took a licking but we're back kicking it!  And what a week it has been from those 19 and counting Duggar's to the monsoons that have been touted as 'biblical" in portion, there's so much that's going on that we just don't where to start. So we'll start somewhere and just keep going... so shall we!!!

The Duggars Done Gone Bye-Bye

Well lookie here as they say. The high and all mighty Duggar's done stepped in some dung of there own as revelations came to light about Josh's doing some in breeding activity and moving onward to molesting others of young ladies. After considerable outrage and advertisers back peddling from contracts 19 Kids and Counting in light of this scandal involving one of the show's stars.
finally the TLC network has pulled all airings of its reality show

Josh Duggar, the oldest child of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, admitted to having "acted inexcusably" as a teenager. Now 27, Duggar headed the lobbying arm of antigay Family Research Council of which he has now resigned.

Added to this hot mess, is GOP Presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee waxed on in support of Josh, with his take that somehow this activity wasn't as bad as it seems because he made a mistake and in his words "forgivable." At the time of discovery, the statue of limits had expired therefore no legal actions could be taken. But it was also uncovered that records involving the case had been destroyed by local authorizes.

While 19 Kids is not currently airing, no definitive decision on cancellation has been made by TLC, according to TMZ. The network recently canceled Here Comes Honey Boo Boo after that reality show's matriarch entered into a relationship with an accused child molester.

No one on Honey Boo Boo espoused antigay values, though. The Duggars are well-known for their antigay views, having, among other things, campaigned against an LGBT rights ordinance in Fayetteville, Ark., passed by the City Council but then repealed by voters. A robocall Michelle Duggar recorded for the campaign cast transgender people as child predators. By the way, Michelle Duggar has a lesbian sister, Evelyn Ruark.

LGBT Health Summit Opens Registration

Equal Care for Equal Lives is designed for community members, practitioners, and healthcare professionals to build awareness and cultural competency, to leverage best practices, and to gather resources from leading experts and organizations in the field.
Human Rights Campaign State Director, Kendra Johnson announced that the agency will host the first LGBT Health Summit, June 11, 2015, inside the Brandon Conference Center located on the Children's Hospital Campus, South Building, 11 Children's Way. On site registration opens at 7 a.m.  Conference begins 8am to 4:30 pm with reception to follow. Scholarships, CEU's and other logistic support are being made available based on availability. A online registration portal is now open at
According to a HRC press release which stated,"together we are making progress on the road to full equality, yet many LGBT Americans still face discrimination in terms of healthcare. Many providers may not know how to serve LGBT people. Ultimately, this creates barriers that result in many LGBT people not receiving the healthcare they need." The session will engaging a broad audience of community members, practitioners, and healthcare professionals, we will create an inclusive healthcare environment for all Arkansans. Topics that will be presented at the summit include updates on: the prevention and treatment of HIV; LGBTQ health disparities; creating welcoming healthcare spaces; financial barriers to the Affordable Healthcare Act and Medicaid; transgender competency; and discussions on what LGBT patients wished their physicians knew
PFLAG Announces June Meeting
The June PFLAG meeting will be on Friday, June 5th from 6:00-8:00 pm., in the back room at Satchemo's Bar and Grill located at 1900 W 3rd St., Little Rock, AR. According to organizers the meeting will consist of old business matters and plans for activity in regards to Pride Month 2015

Save the DATE event!!


Come like our Facebook page at  Tell us more about what you are looking for!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Holiday Rush to the Weekend

COP 24/7 Update to the End

The days are clicking away as we prepare to celebrate our 10 year run and close out COP 24/7 come September 1. Its truly been a amazing and interesting outing, using this platform that I had no real clue as to what it was all about when I started. I simply had no clue because it was something new and not many folks knew. However since then and now reaching some 1,371 postings, enough is enough. Have we said it all, no. But have we explored a variety of topics, you betcha! Do we have more to say before it's all over, well of course. Along the way it will be our goal to engage as many other voices on this platform. I have been totally open that this digital town square is here for the taking, even when we had no takers. With all that said, let the count down continue as we keep it coming until time runs out...
Expungement Clinic Scheduled
To give back to our communities, attorneys with the W. Harold Flowers Law Society and legal aid are offering to create expungement legal documents for low-income Arkansans for free.

The Expungement Clinic will take place on Fri., May 29, 2015 in Little Rock between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. It will be in the Goodwill Little Rock Outlet Center located at 7400 Scott Hamilton Drive.
You will have the chance to meet with attorneys who can help you seal your criminal records (also known as expungement).

Sexual offenders whose victims were under the age of 18 years are not eligible to have the offense expunged. You must be sentenced under a statute that allows for expungement and must have completed all the terms and conditions of your probation.

Webinar: Breaking Regulatory Barriers for Greater Female Condom Access

A variety of safe and effective female condoms currently exist. However, regulatory hurdles limit new products from entering consumer markets. With the pipeline of new receptive-partner initiated condoms growing, advocates must understand how regulatory issues determine product introduction and approval in their country.

Join the National Female Condom Coalition June 3 at 11:00am EST to learn about:

• Receptive partner-initiated condoms in development
• Link between regulatory environment and female condom access
• Current regulatory issues and obstacles
• Unique advocacy opportunity to break barriers to existing female condoms and pave the way for emerging internal condoms

Panelists will include:
Mags Beksinska, Director, MatCH Research
Coco Jervis, Program Director, National Women’s Health Network
Jessica Terlikowski, Director of Prevention Technology Education, AIDS Foundation of Chicago & National Female Condom Coalition

Register today!

This webinar is presented by the National Female Condom Coalition, and co-sponsored by AIDS Foundation of Chicago, AVAC, California Family Health Council, CONRAD, Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), International Rectal Microbicide Advocates, MatCH Research, National Women’s Health Network, and Universal
It has hit the streets!! Check out the latest from The READ. If your agency or organization is interested in advertising in our Pride issue, call us at 501.349-7777 for your special pricing. Pick up your copy at local venues and nightspots such as The New 610 or Club Sway!
 Show some pride and support The READ!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

HOPWA Walking and More

HOPWA in Arkansas
HOPWA Announces 29 Million Awards

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced May 19 that $29 million in grants to help approximately 1,200 extremely low-income persons and families living with HIV/AIDS annually.  These grants provide a combination of housing assistance and supportive
services for this vulnerable population. No program in Arkansas was among the awardees among the 16 states and 25 programs.

However, Arkansas Department of Health has released that its HOPWA 2015-16 funding cycle will include new grantee the Pine Bluff Housing Authority and past recipient Northwest Arkansas Regional AIDS Network. The two entities will utilize a budget of $517, 500 for services in their respective areas which will include case management and proposed rehabilitation services centered around skills assessments, pathways to employment and personal financial management classes.

During the recent 2015 Fair Housing Conference held in Little Rock, AHPG Co-Chair C. Mabin served as a panelist speaking to the state's program utilization, as well as, challenges and barriers in implementing services of the program. It was cited that due to program limitations, current housing stock often falls outside of the fair market guidelines to meet needs of clients. Also he outlined the basic tenants of the program and how the "housing is prevention," concept translates in impacting those on the program.

Currently the president's  FY 2015 budget proposal, included an outline of the update to the HOPWA program. The proposal included significant changes, such as the addition of new short-and medium-term housing interventions, assistance for homeless persons, and increased administrative fees. Additionally, the update included a momentous change to the HOPWA funding formula.

While the HIV/AIDS housing community has long supported a change to the HOPWA funding formula that would be based on living HIV/AIDS cases, it is vitally important to gain community consensus on how to implement changes fairly and without destabilizing existing HIV/AIDS housing programs. In Arkansas, the issue as to the factuality of its number of HIV/AIDS was being addressed by former Section Chief Ralph Wilmoth, yet after his departure there has been limited information as to the current status of those updates which will be necessary based on the proposed changes. According to various platforms Arkansas cases range from ADH reports that state 5,440 in 2013 to SERO Project which cites 7550.

Mid South Conference 2015

The 2015 Midsouth HIV Conference will take place on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 with preconference sessions on Monday, November 16, 2015. The theme of the 2015 Conference theme is Better Together: Getting to Zero in the Midsouth.
The goal of the conference is two-fold. The conference will provide learning opportunities for people living with HIV, providers of HIV testing, prevention, and care, as well as other community stakeholders. In keeping with the theme, the conference will also offer unique networking opportunities for individuals representing a cross-section of our community, all united in their dedication to get to zero in the Mid south.

Save the date! You don’t want to miss this conference. More information will be provided over the next couple of weeks, including a call for workshop proposals, sponsorship opportunities, scholarships for people living with HIV, registration, and accommodations. Hit up

Organizers of the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration announced that entertainer and advocate Wanda Sykes will MC the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Ceremony on July 4th at Independence Hall.

Said Malcolm Lazin, National LGBT 50th Anniversary Chair: “We are tremendously excited to have Wanda Sykes, an outspoken and committed LGBT advocate, as the Master of Ceremonies for the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Ceremony. This historic one-hour Ceremony, in front of Independence Hall, commemorates the Gay Pioneers, celebrates 50 years of LGBT civil rights progress, and addresses future challenges. Wanda is a perfect MC. We are grateful to Live Nation Philadelphia and their President, Geoff Gordon for their assistance.”

An award winning writer, actress and comedienne, Wanda Sykes came out publicly in 2008 at a Proposition 8 rally In Las Vegas.   In 2010, Sykes was presented with the Stephen F.  Kolzak Award by GLAAD for making a significant difference in promoting equal rights for the LGBT community in the media.  Wanda is a 2011 LGBT History Month Icon.

The organized LGBT civil rights movement was launched when activists from New York, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia staged demonstrations for equality at Independence Hall each Fourth of July from 1965 to 1969. When 40 activists first picketed in front of Independence Hall on July 4, 1965, it was the largest demonstration for gay equality in world history.

Organized by the father and mother of the LGBT civil rights movement, Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings, these “Annual Reminders” laid the groundwork for the Stonewall riot in 1969. After Stonewall, Kameny and Gittings suspended the Annual Reminders and turned their energies to help organize the 1970 march from Greenwich Village to Central Park for the first anniversary of Stonewall.

From July 2 to 5, in Philadelphia, the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration includes panels, Gay Pioneers screening, fireworks, daily parties, six LGBT history exhibits, concerts, National Interfaith Service, wreath laying at the Gay Pioneers historic marker, and street festival in the gayborhood with the highlight the one-hour National LGBT 50th Anniversary Ceremony on a large stage in front of Independence Hall on July 4th.

There is no registration fee and most programs are free.

For more information, visit and
Save the Date! June 12, 2015 inside the Arkansas Department of Health Auditorium, 10 am to 1 pm. Make your RSVP at 501.661.2961

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Spring Forward through Another 24/7 Week

Help Raise Awareness on Hepatitis Testing Day

By Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, and Director, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy

Next Tuesday, May 19, is the fourth annual national Hepatitis Testing Day. The observance was established in 2011 with the initial release of the national Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis (Action Plan). Its goal is to help raise awareness of hepatitis B and hepatitis C and to encourage more individuals to learn their status.

Hepatitis Testing Day is an important opportunity for federal health officials and stakeholders across all levels of society to educate their constituents and communities about viral hepatitis and encourage those at risk to be tested. Online Hepatitis Risk Assessment One of the tools that can be particularly useful in this outreach is CDC’s online Hepatitis Risk Assessment tool.

Users confidentially answer a brief series of questions that result in recommendations about whether they should be tested for hepatitis B and/or hepatitis C. Persons who take the assessment can print the tailored recommendations—which are based on the most up-to-date guidelines—and use that printout to discuss viral hepatitis testing and vaccination (for hepatitis B) with their medical provider.

If you haven’t tried this tool yourself, I encourage you to do so. If you have already used it, please consider sharing it with others who might benefit from its use. Other Tools to Help Raise Hepatitis Awareness CDC has developed a number of other tools that can be useful in raising awareness of the importance of hepatitis testing, particularly among populations with a disproportionate burden of disease.

For example, the Know Hepatitis B campaign informs us that 1 in 12 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders has hepatitis B and delivers strong educational messages about the importance of screening. To help disseminate the messages widely among these communities, a variety of ready-to-share materials are available in English and a number of Asian languages.

Other groups are at increased risk for viral hepatitis and various efforts are underway to increase awareness and promote screening among these populations. For example, because African Americans are disproportionately affected by hepatitis C, my office—in collaboration with the HHS Office of Minority Health—recently hosted a forum focused on strengthening the response to hepatitis C in African American communities, convening representatives of more than three dozen organizations from across the nation to discuss ideas, opportunities, and strategies to address this significant health disparity.

As a follow-up, we also recently co-hosted a webinar with the HHS Office on Women’s Health about hepatitis C among African American women. Many of the participants in both of those activities have committed to work with their constituents to raise awareness among African Americans on Hepatitis Testing Day.

Arkansas Fair Housing Commission 
Upcoming Training


Participants will be introduced to the Do's and Don'ts of fair housing marketing and management; fair housing sensitivity; an overview of federal and state fair housing laws; reasonable accommodations and modifications; and compliance.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015   
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Registration from 8:15 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.)

Wyndham Riverfront Hotel
2 Riverfront Place
Silver City Room 6 & 7
North Little Rock, AR 72201

A 10% discount is available for five (5) or more registrants of the same organization.  Limited scholarships are available for non-industry participants. Scholars are required to attend the full session and must certify non-industry status.
Please note that in order to receive a certificate of completion, you must attend all sessions included in the program. Failure to attend all sessions will result in an incomplete status, and a certificate will not be issued. 
A completed registration form and payment must be received prior to class to participate.
We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming training.

Click here for the Management and Best Practices registration form.

Please contact Kwadjo Boaitey or Kia Webb at 501-682-3247 or email or for additional information.  Visit our website at
Follow us on Facebook at

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Monday Roll OUT

Activist Spotlight
Sierra Outreaches one H.A.I.R. at a Time
COP 24/7 continues it efforts to recognize those on the front line of advocating in regards to keeping awareness front and center about new HIV infections. Business man and stylist Jessie Sierra has stepped forward in Helena with his Health Awareness and Information Resources entity as a tool in the delta to educate and link those identified to care.
As a Community Connector contractor, Sierra has had to forge a path where there was none while building his hair salon business in tow. "I'm interested in doing what I can to reach out and share my knowledge with the community."
Sierra said. Continuing, "I use a section of my salon as a private testing area and then I also go out to the local Boys & Girls Club (pictured right) to talk to kids about condoms, safer sex and answer questions. I really feel good about what I'm trying to do and hope that it makes a difference." 
Sierra also has spoken publicly during National Latino Awareness Day, addressed the Arkansas HIV Planning Group, participated with his Connector colleagues and updates his Facebook page with newsworthy items and images in his efforts to send positive messaging to those whom view his page. To set HIV test appointment call or text 870-995-5294 and ask for Jessie. You can tell him that you saw him being featured on COP 24/7!
NASTAD Releases National ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report

The National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) has released the 2015 National ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (The Report) and corresponding blog post. For 20 years NASTAD has provided comprehensive and detailed information on programmatic aspects of AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) through The Report, which contains background information as well as detailed findings and corresponding charts and tables. Please note that all of the resources related to the National ADAP Monitoring Project can be found on the NASTAD website.

Pride in the City

The 12th Annual Conway Pride Parade and Festival will roll out Sunday, June 7 from 2- 6pm in Simon Park, 805 Simon Street. Line-up for parade is at 1:00pm at 1605 Robinson Ave. at the pink house. If you or your organization would like to have a float, there is a $20 float fee. There is a $100 prize for best float! All are free to walk in or to watch the parade for free. This is LGBT pride so make yourselves and your floats look fun and fabulous!!! 
To become a vendor or to have a non-profit booth or for more information please visit  Please contact Ashley Vickers if you are interested in being an entertainer this year.

The anniversary issue of The READ is now available in local venues and establishments. Call 501-379-8203 for advertising information for the upcoming Pride 2015 issues coming in June! 


Friday, May 15, 2015

Enraged and Engaged Friday

COP 24/7 Special: Positive Women's Network Speaks

We Stand with Michael Johnson: HIV Is Not a Crime

HIV and Justice Organizations Stand with Michael Johnson and All Black Gay Men, and Condemn Laws Criminalizing HIV-Positive Status

As organizations committed to human rights, social justice, and dignity for people living with and vulnerable to HIV, we release this statement in solidarity with Black gay men who have been organizing a response to the criminalization of Michael L. Johnson.
michael_johnsonAfter only two hours of deliberation by a jury in a trial that was fraught with misinformation about HIV transmission, misunderstanding about gay hookup culture, and inadequate legal counsel, a nearly all-white jury quickly convicted Michael Johnson, a 23-year-old Black gay man in St. Charles, MO, finding him guilty on five felony counts and sentencing him to 30 years in prison.

HIV criminalization is yet another tool used to police and incarcerate bodies that are too often poor, Black or brown, or queer-identified. In this case, Michael will be incarcerated for the next 30 years for allegedly exposing sexual partners to HIV, a condition that is chronic and manageable with proper care and treatment. This is atrocious. As a point of comparison, killing someone while driving under the influence of alcohol carries a sentence of 7 years in Missouri.

St. Charles is less than a half-hour’s drive from Ferguson, MO, a city that has made international headlines due to racist police brutality and a scathing record of racial bias in law enforcement.
HIV criminalization laws are widely understood to be based on hysteria, misinformation, and outdated science as it relates to HIV transmission.  Expert-led professional associations including the HIV Medicine Association, the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, and the American Medical Association have taken positions supporting the repeal or modernization of these laws, and President Obama’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS passed a resolution in 2013 calling for HIV criminalization laws to be reviewed and repealed.

This particular prosecution and the media hysteria around it were fueled by homophobia, HIV stigma, and anti-Black racism embedded in portrayals of Black male hypersexuality.  Michael Johnson is not the first Black gay man to be incarcerated under these laws, and it is unlikely he will be the last.
Black lives and Black leadership matter.  We stand in support of the agenda released today by Black gay men:
  1. Support Michael Johnson while he’s in prison, continue to raise awareness about his case, work to support any potential appeals or strategies to reduce his sentence or overturn this ruling altogether.
  1. Continue to dialog with Black gay men around the country in person and through social media about the importance of opposing such laws.
  1. Repeal the laws that criminalize HIV exposure, nondisclosure, and transmission, in Missouri and nationwide.
  1. Challenge our allies in Black progressive organizations, criminal justice reform, HIV prevention and treatment, and the LGBT movement to take more of an active role in challenging HIV criminalization.
  1. Develop more capacity for Black gay men’s grassroots organizing.
When people with HIV are prosecuted under HIV criminalization laws, no justice is achieved. Stigma, fear, and, in many cases, racism, win. And independently of HIV, criminalization, incarceration, and police brutality disproportionately impact Black and brown communities, LGBT folks, and people living in poverty.

Black gay men cannot and must not be removed. With the recognition that anti-Black racism, homophobia, and HIV stigma are at the heart of the epidemic and the verdict in the Michael L. Johnson case, we as an HIV community must commit to centering Black leadership and to ensuring that the police state does not factor into addressing the HIV epidemic. Incarceration and prisons are never the solution.

We echo and amplify the love from the open letter to Michael L. Johnson to all Black gay men; we will continue to stand with all of you in this fight for Michael’s freedom.
To Michael: we love and will continue to support you.
To Black gay men across the nation: we commit to fight by your side in service of justice, love, and liberation.
In solidarity,

Advocacy Without Borders
The Afiya Center
AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts
AIDS Alabama
AIDS Alabama South
AIDS Foundation of Chicago
AIDS United
Alabama HIV/AIDS Policy Partnership
Amida Care

 The Body Is Not an Apology
The CHANGE (Coalition of HIV/AIDS NonProfits & Governmental Entities) Coalition
Desiree Alliance
Harm Reduction Coalition
HIV Prevention Justice Alliance
Houston HIV Cross-Network Community Advisory Board
Legacy Community Health

LinQ for Life, Incorporated
 Louisiana AIDS Advocacy Network
National Center for Lesbian Rights
One Struggle KC
Positive Iowans Taking Charge
Positive Women’s Network – USA (PWN-USA)
PWN-USA Bay Area
PWN-USA Louisiana
PWN-USA San Diego Region
Project Inform
SERO Project
SisterLove, Inc.
Southern AIDS Coalition
Southern HIV/AIDS Strategy Initiative
US People Living with HIV Caucus
Visual AIDS
The Well Project
Women with a Vision

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A 360 Thursday at COP 24/7

The READ Publishes Anniversary Issue

After a brief hiatus and internal assessments, statewide LGBT focused newspaper The READ is scheduled to distribute its 1st anniversary issue tentatively scheduled for May 15. According to The Living Affected Corporation which publishes the media piece, this issue will reflect on past issues ) while fulfilling subscriptions.
while seeking to continue to offer a "content thread in the community fabric," featured in human interest stories, organizational updates and events and a new creative section designed to highlight prose and poetry submitted. Currently there are limited distribution plans with goals to upload the issue to its website ( ) May 22nd.

About 137 million individuals with private insurance are guaranteed access to free preventive services

Nationwide, about 137 million individuals, including 55 million women and 28 million children, have private health insurance that covers recommended preventive services without cost sharing, according to a new ASPE Data Point from the Department of Health and Human Services. Under the Affordable Care Act, most health plans are required to provide coverage for recommended preventive health care services without copays.

According to,Arkansas saw a 49.5 percent increase this year in the number of people who signed up for health insurance through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace at U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released figures Wednesday showing 64,947 Arkansans had enrolled or were automatically re-enrolled. That is up from 43,446 Arkansans who signed up during 2014’s open enrollment season.

Increased access to preventive services can reduce and prevent costly chronic diseases and help Americans live healthier lives. These services include but are not limited to:
* Blood pressure screening* Well-baby and well-child visits
* Obesity screening and counseling* Flu vaccination and other immunizations
* Well-woman visits* Tobacco cessation interventions
* Domestic violence screening and counseling* Vision screening for children
* Breastfeeding support and supplies* HIV screening
* FDA-approved contraceptive methods* Depression screening
“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions more Americans have access to preventive services, including vaccinations, well-baby visits, and diabetes and blood pressure screenings," said Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “These services can substantially improve the health of families, and in some cases even save lives. We urge all individuals with health care coverage to take advantage of these services. This can make a tremendous difference in the health of Americans.”
The data released today are broken down by state, age, gender, and race and ethnicity.  Of the about 137 million individuals with access to recommended preventive services without cost sharing:
  • 28.5 million are children, who have access to free preventive service coverage for flu vaccinations and other immunizations, vision screening, and well-baby and well-child visits.
  • 55.6 million are women, who have access to free preventive services such as well-women visits, breastfeeding support and supplies, and recommended cancer screenings.
  • 53.5 million are men, who have access to annual wellness visits, blood pressure screening, and cancer screenings.
  • And an estimated 15 million are Black, 17 million are Latino, and 8 million are Asian-Americans who have access to recommended preventive services without cost sharing.
Some of the estimated 137 million individuals that are guaranteed access to preventive services without cost sharing today may have had access to one or more of those services without cost sharing prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Employer Health Benefits Survey in 2012, 41 percent of all workers were covered by employer-sponsored group health plans that expanded their list of covered preventive services due to the Affordable Care Act. Based on this and available Health Insurance Marketplace data at the time, HHS previously estimated that approximately 76 million Americans – and 30 million women – received expanded coverage of one or more preventive services because of the Affordable Care Act.
To read a fact sheet explaining today’s data point, please visit:

Share Your Ideas for Updating the National HIV/AIDS Strategy

The National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) is our nation’s first comprehensive plan to reduce new HIV infections, improve health outcomes for people living with HIV, reduce HIV-related disparities, and achieve a more coordinated national response. Released in July 2010, it outlined specific action steps to achieve the Strategy’s goals through 2015. Arkansas's AHPG members partners will be encouraged to submit ideas to the project as well as, share this information on its social media platform.( )

The White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) is in the process of updating the Strategy, the plan that drives the U.S. government and
partners’ response to HIV/AIDS domestically; the updated Strategy will advance this work for the next 5 years.

To truly make this a national strategy, ONAP and the Federal government are seeking the input of a wide range of stakeholders: people affected by and living with HIV, representatives of government at all levels, businesses, faith communities, philanthropic organizations, members of the scientific and medical communities, educational institutions, interested citizens, and others.

An online feedback forum has been launched to collect ideas about what should be included in the updated Strategy. Located at ,the feedback forum allows users to submit their recommendations and/or vote and comment on the ideas and recommendations of others. Submission deadline is May 22,2015.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Michael Jonson Wednesday at COP 24/7

HIV Criminalization
The Trial and Tribulations of the Michael Johnson Case

This week COP 24/7 has been monitoring via contacts who are witnessing the trial of Mr. Michael
Johnson who is on trail in regards to his HIV disclosure responsibility toward individuals whom he had sexual encounters.

Johnson, a former college wrestler, is accused of transmitting HIV to one person and exposing five other to the virus without having told them he’s HIV-positive before having sex with them. Four of Johnson’s six accusers are white; two are black. Unable to afford bail, Johnson has been behind bars since he was arrested in October 2013. His defense is a public defender facing a 4 white men, 6 white women and 1 black woman seated as the jury. All of which polled that they believed that there should be HIV criminal laws.
His case became a rallying cry of The Counter Narrative Project of which COP 24/7 has been a contributor. Through that association, this platform has engaged with other colleagues nation wide in an attempt to raise our voices concerning these laws found in 33 states including Arkansas. If convicted, Johnson could face decades behind bars, and life as a registered sex offender, if and when he would ever get out of prison. In support of his case and his 23 hour isolation, there was an effort to pen a open letter to Michael with sign on from over 117 SGL men who wanted him to know that we are with him and watching as his case unfolds this week.

It is COP 24/7 positions that such laws need to be reformed or repealed to coincide with today's evidenced base knowledge of HIV transmission. We abhor the thought that individuals would purposely expose others to this chronic health condition and encourage additional prevention outreach, condom usage, testing and counseling, linkage and retention in care, peer navigators and community connectors that can reach hard to reach populations. For more information check out our side bar for links and locators or our Facebook page at

Dear Michael,

We, Black gay men, write this letter to you out of love. We can only imagine the burdens you have had to carry personally: experiences of isolation, shame, rejection and moral judgment. But we want you to know that in our lives we have had to carry those burdens as well.
We write this letter to you, understanding the actions taken against you have come at the expense of your humanity. And we write this letter to you, acknowledging that you are a part of our community. You are our brother and we support you.

There are less and less spaces dedicated to Black gay men. And our bodies are being beaten, policed, and pushed into prisons. Yet, we remain steadfast in the belief that our bodies, desires, intimate relationships and communities are not criminal. We are loving, living, and worthy Black people.
We are aware that you have been charged with felony HIV-exposure in Missouri for allegedly not disclosing your HIV-status to your sexual partners. However, we also know that HIV criminalization laws unfairly impact Black people and stigmatize people living with HIV. HIV criminalization laws push people living with HIV further and further away from HIV treatment and care and make HIV prevention efforts more difficult. As Black gay men, we are deeply impacted by HIV; and these laws harm us and damage our relationships and communities.

HIV criminalization laws are unjust to people living with HIV. Under these laws, people living with HIV are expected to share their HIV status, even though our society is one that stigmatizes and discriminates against people living with HIV. Through HIV criminalization laws people are forced to disclose and to not consider the serious consequences of disclosure.

HIV should be treated as a public health issue not as a criminal one. Legally requiring disclosure privileges the lives of White people not living with HIV over Black people who are living with HIV.
These laws feed into stereotypes that assume Black gay men are irresponsible and hypersexual. For you, your accusers saw your Black and masculine body as a site of ultimate sexual pleasure, until they had to deal with you as a whole person. At that moment you became a problem and were disposable to them.

HIV criminalization laws burden people living with HIV to take on the sole responsibility of sexual encounters. Regardless of intention or disclosure, there is a shared responsibility among sexual partners. Opening up about your HIV status is a personal decision that should not be mandated or enforced. Disclosing your HIV-status should be about self-reflection and speaking your truth. Disclosure should not be about protecting people who are not living with HIV from transmission. And disclosure should not be about punishing people living with HIV who do not disclose.
We do not care about whether or not you disclosed, or any intention you may or may not have had. We care about you—your life matters. HIV is not a crime and you should not be in prison.
Until you are free, none of us are free. As you are impacted, we are all impacted. We see ourselves in you. Your story is connected to us all and is evidence that Black gay men need each other. Through all of the suffering, pain, and trauma, we need each other to heal and survive. We also need each other to share our joy, our laughter, and our beauty. Even as important, our community can only heal if you heal and survive too.

So we send you our love during your time of need. We want you to know that we are here in solidarity with you. We are sending you positive energy and universal force to act on your behalf. We will continue to send our energies to you with faith that you will be victorious throughout this fight.
Moreover, we are concerned about your health and well-being, how you are feeling, and how this has affected you. We are here for you. If there are other ways that we can provide you some support, please let us know. We want you to know there are people who care about what is happening to you.

And we will continue to maintain contact with you, regardless of what happens with your case.
Therefore, while you have been in prison for over a year and half and placed in administrative segregation for over 60 days, we recognize these injustices and write this letter to you. While you are being framed as a monster, we continuously value your humanity and write this letter to you.
Lastly, we, Black gay men, write this letter in hopes that it gives you and others in our community the strength to work towards a world in which we are all free.

We are you and we love you.
Kenneth Pass
Charles Stephens
Martez Smith
Darnell L. Moore
Craig Washington
Damian J. Denson
David Roscoe Moore
Tyrone Hanley
Tyrell Manning
Brandon Dykes
Kenyon Farrow
Jeffrey McCune
Steven G. Fullwood
Cory Bradley
L. Lamar Wilson
André Carrington
Clarence Singleton
Justin Smith
Vaughn E. Taylor-Akutagawa
Antoine J. Rogers
Anthony Thompson
Matthew Rose
Michael J. Brewer
Jonathan Paul Lucas
Jamie Allen
George Holifield
Bummah Ndeh
Marcus Lee
Ramon Johnson
Daniel McRath
Anthony Bond
Sean Sheppheard
Kieran Scarlett
Stephaun E. Wallace
Jamal Lewis
David J. Malebranche
Devin Barrington Ward
Blake A. Rowley
Mark J. Tuggle
Lamont Scales
Drew-Shane Daniels
Anthony Antoine McWilliams
Gavin Morrow-Hall
James Lester
Phillip Williams
George Holifield
Rodney A. Brown
Ricardo Wynn
Cornelius Mabin
Darius Bost
Kevin Ewing
Shaun Little
Carl Graves
Darron Marble
Reggie Dunbar II
Jafari Sinclaire Allen
L. Michael Gipson
Christopher Moten
John Keene
Jonathan Moore
Derek Johnson
Brad Walrond
Seven Hobby
S.G. Richmond
Marvell L. Terry, II
Eddie Wiley
Isaiah R. Wilson
Alfred White
Max Smith
Preston Mitchum
Charles E. Matiella
Darryl Hart
Steven-Emmanuel Martinez
Aki Patterson
Johnnie Kornegay
Khalid Idawu
Justin T. Rush
Tabias Wilson
Lance Powell
Robert F. Reid-Pharr
Bryan Webster
Jason L. Walker
Rev. Rodney McKenzie, Jr.
Raymond Thomas
Shedrick Davis
JaMel M. Nelson
Adrian Ogle
Michael Tikili
Elijah O’Neil