Friday, July 31, 2015

A Hot in July TGIF

COP 24/7 is always on the hunt for the latest content, out of the box, off the chain and rants that often time just go left. Enter Cool Ass Brother as he just dives in and tells it like he see's it around the ATL. His frank and pointed comments could be "any city USA," and especially here in Arkansas where we are still facing much capacity building and infrastructure needs that can't be denied.

 His comments also come at a time as Little Rock Black Gay Pride 2015 rolls out with unknown expectations and certainly no stated distinct outcomes that could be of benefit to those whom it is suppose to be seeking to exalt. Of course there will lots of "skin," "T & A," and all manner of items that seem to be what folks are seeking. Stay tuned as we will do our best to offer a wrap up, if we even dare...

This comments from Cool Ass Brother is all his own, and let's just say that he owns it. Although his piece was originally posted June 2013, his words continue to resonate and offers several  "ouch" moments to this very day.


Did you know that 50 percent of those living with HIV are now 50 years old or older? Watch this space for more information on  National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day 2015!
If you are interested in partnerships, collaborations or volunteering, hit us up at

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Last July Thursday Throwback

Editors Note: As we move closer to our final post, we will take a gander backwards at all that has made the cut at COP 24/7 over the past decade. This is especially poignant as new emerging media entities such as The READ and Out In Arkansas were not in existence. It has been COP 24/7 out in the digital sphere spinning the information big wheel and serving as a archive to what was really going on then and now. Stay with us as we wrap it up, serve it up and close up coming this September!

Originally posted October 19, 2012
Tongues Untied Support Group Selects Facilitator

"Tongues Untied," an emerging same gender loving support group which debut October 10 will now meet on Mondays starting November 12,  6-7:30 pm at 401 North Maple Street, Suite A in North Little Rock, The project has selected Mr. Lee Plicher as group facilitatorPilcher is a long term advocate and activist concerning HIV and AIDS as well as social justices issues and has long been interested in participating in such a group. Under the guidance of The Living Affected Corporation in conjunction with ADH's newest sub-grantee, STRILITE, the venture will be designed to further support efforts to " HIV prevention message" within the same gender loving community and beyond in the people of color construct. Although not HIV centric, the core interest of the group is to facilitate a safe zone for Black gay men to explore similar issues, barriers and challenges in their daily lives which could impact their future.

The new group will feature both an open forum and topical format based around a 90 minute frame or as the group decides. The topics could range from relationship 101 to expressing your inner creativity through fashion. LA Corp, Chief Operating Officer, Cornelius Mabin emphasized that this project was always apart of the STRILITE vision. "From its inception, the members viewed having such a group that would be vital to their consumer driven mission to provide "peer to peer" mentoring, support and prevention education against maladies such as HIV in our community."

Furthermore, " it's became imperative that as we deal with individuals holistically, it was determined that we must continue to cultivate relationships that wholeheartedly support their vision of "reaching our present to change our future". I foresee that this beginning could easily be ramped up to reach out through social media onto creating real time online experiences for those living in Arkansas rural areas. There's so much potential to make connection to all sections of the state that we must embrace. Ultimately we learned that such a group didn't exist and a need was assessed that needed filling, therefore we are doing what we can to make it happen."

For more information contact: or call 855-STIRLITE. Additional meetings will be announced based on scheduling and availability. This service is Free.
Originally posted September 27,2011
Alternative Programming Please?

COP 24/7 has been apart a dialouge about safe spaces and alternative programming available locally and to what extent that programming fills a niche need in the city. After a few conversations, I'm happy to report that even though gay bars have been the bation of activity in the past, there are numerous "non-bar" outlets that are now poised to outreach to gay youth to the mature population. Local venue New Beginnings Church of Central Arkansas offeres Friday movie nights with popular titles such as the "Kids are Alright" offer insights and perspectives that could make for good after movie discussion. This option is free and they suggest to bring snacks and beverages to share plus your own lawn chair. The Diamond State Rodeo Association has been prompting the forming of bowling teams with most likely pursuits to creating a mini-league. DSRA sponsors a number of non-bar oriented outings including camping trips and dine outs at area restaurants. If intersted contact DSRA at  Center for Artistic Revolution also has advertised that their organization is supporting Adult Community Space for those in the LGBTQ community and beyond. Within the space is a forming Adult oriented library, areas for meetings, community projects, potlucks or art opportunities. To make the connection to this space contact them at 244-9690 or  Community Based Organization, The Living Affected Corporation has secured office space that is available for small meetings or group activity that could use a place for a working on a project. Located in the Argenta Presbyterian Church, LA Corp offers some testing at the site, AIDS 101 training and is comtemplating offering a north shore "drop in" center in the near future. At this time, hours are being revamped and a new schedule will be released shortly. If interested in the LACorp space contact, or 877-902-7HIV.  We've also learned that local water holds are also following the trend of creating community space whether their doors are open to the public or not. Both Sidetracks in North Little Rock and 610 on Center have been courting local groups to use their facilities for special events, meetings and organizational activities.These venues could be a low cost - no cost option for your next fundraising or group meeting. Contact each entity directly for detailed information and don't forget to tell the you heard about it here!

Please check out our Facebook page for links, videos, and breaking news across the digital town square. Do it today at

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wild Card Wednesday

Creating Change 2016 Goes to Chicago

Plans are already underway for Creating Change 2016 to be held January 20-24, in Chicago, Illinois. The National LGBTQ Task Force has announced a call for abstracts and workshop proposals to be submitted by September 30, 2015. This conference behemoth is expected to attract upwards of 3,000 attendees with delegations from across the country. Organizers reported 3,800 people attended in 2015. At post time, there has been no determination as to participants from Arkansas.

In its 28th year of existence, the conference will offer a plethora of speakers, plenaries and leadership academies and a day long Racial Justice Institute to begin the week of activities. The organizational website,( ) cites that "Creating Change is an annual gathering of organizers and activists working to create a world in which our sexual orientations and gender expressions will be welcomed and celebrated."

Promotion material state that this year's primary goal of the Creating Change Conference is "to build our movement’s power from the ground up to secure our overarching goal of full equality, social justice and dignity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people in the United States."

From an Arkansas perspective, events such this are noteworthy and impeccably needed to further build the local infrastructure that this platform has call for. Despite good strides by a new wave of activist and advocates who have done their best with their limited knowledge. The local LGBTQ community continues to grapple with capacity building, fragmented networks, missed connections and a whole laundry list of grassroots needs.

To address this pressing situation, there have been past community meetings, open forums and COP 24/7 has been directly involved with collaborating with area entities and community based organizations. Arkansas RAPPS, a Community Connector contractor specifically sponsored two Impact sessions designed to offer a learning space for local groups to engage in serious dialogue about agency sustainability. Each session was to continue to build upon themselves with the participants themselves to seek the services and expertise presented by area capacity builders.

Added to this mix is formation of the Equality Coalition which will bring together like minded organizations to coalesce in understanding possible mutual agendas or strategic plans. This group consist of a wide array of stakeholders ranging from the ACLU to the newly minted LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce. Ultimately, conferences such as Creating Change are good pathways to increasing skill building and training.

But COP 24/7 makes the point that expensive junkets such as these are not always an option, especially if their is no groundswell of local fundraising or sponsorships available. There are limited scholarships available from Creating Change and COP 24/7 certainly encourages this possible. However, these are highly sought as well as competitive to achieve.

In the meantime, there are many opportunities to get skills building, advocacy training and access to smart folks right here in the Natural State. All you have to do is ask for it, seek it and attend sessions that get announced here at  COP 24/7 regularly.

50 Cent Faked Wealth With Borrowed Jewelry And Cars

As the worlds turns and folks who just can't get enough of the next celebrity train wreck comes word of that  "Fifty Cent", real name Curtis Jackson, testified in Manhattan Supreme Court Tuesday and admitted that he faked his wealth with borrowed jewelry and cars, according to the New York Daily News, saying: "It's entertainment." REALLY?  So now all these endless young folks whom tell COP 24/7 that their career moves will be the next rap star may learn that there's some hard lessons and lumps that come with this trek to stardom or either the poor house.

May we remind you that the star pathways is littered with many a broke mega star from beloved Sammy Davis Jr. to broke ass MC Hammer who blew it all on a $30 million mansion and a 200-man entourage that required $500,000 for him to maintain. By the middle of the 1990s, his assets had dropped to $9.6 million. What is even more appalling is that he had incurred debts of $13.7 million. His debts were not limited to banks and financial institutions as he also owed another celebrity in the person of baseball and football star Deion Sanders $500,000.

Let's not forget that Fifty is not the only star borrowing items to make it look like he's always high rolling. Most of those Academy Award gowns and jewels do not belong to the folks wearing them. They too are "borrowed" and used as fashion props. And it doesn't stop there if we recall Ms. Star Jones over the top wedding extravaganza to Al "on the down low," Reynolds where she had lots of free stuff and Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas sold photo rights to their 2000 wedding for $1.8 million.

And it continues as some folks keep trying to live large when they should just live within their means, whatever that means may be. Here's some video just to keep it real...

COP 24/7 is continuing our commitment to raise awareness around HIV Criminalization reverberating from the energy during our participation in LGBT Net Roots Connect held last month. During a advocacy boot camp exercise our micro group was to form a fast tracked social media campaign in which we undertook this issue. We developed the hash tag #HIVandFree as a concept of assuring that those living with HIV, "live free from criminalization, stigma, homophobia and the violence of the justice system."
As we count down the days to the final COP 24/7 post, we encourage our readers to use re-tweet, post or use this hash tag on all of your social media platforms. Please also join us in contacting your Capitol representative concerning HB 1586, The Repeal HIV Discrimination Act. Go  to the Policy Action Center at  to help us educate our policy makers. Can we count on you today??


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hot July Tuesday 2015

What is Privilege?: The Exercise to Make You Think Twice

Across the nation there's been outcries and decrees of #Black Lives Matter in relation to a series of murders and incidents that have at times erupted into violence and total civil unrest. Since these incidents occurred there has been an outpouring of discussions, debates, tirades, rants and protest around racial and social injustice landscapes that have received attention from many including the President of the United States to local activist who held "die in's" in the wake of the turmoil. As this highly charged issue continues to ebb and flow its way through our daily grind, we can't forget the elements of how "privilege" has an immediate impact on much of what has happen in American and continues to this day.

This short video which was shared with COP 24/7 by our intrepid content provider, Paul C. of Los Angeles, whom always seems to find just what's needed when we need something fresh or refreshing for this platform. He has been totally on point with his submissions as well as, other insightful pieces that he has forwarded for our consideration.

Amazing as this seems, It's strange that he can find the time to source material while making sure that we get a crack at posting it. I find this quite interesting in lieu of the fact that there are moves being put in place to create a mass calendar of local events of which COP 24/7 has been suggested as a possible resource.

One would think that after all this time, that being 10 years, that this platform would have been seen as the "go to" digital source for such information. Especially since COP 24/7 has offered breaking news, updates, links, video and was among the first LGBT podcast in Arkansas. And just to think all this was done without any ad support, grants or foundation awards, and limited content support from the LGBT community. However, it was done and as we prepare for our final days of COP 24/7, we will continue to follow our initial tenants of educate, empower and entertain in our own special and unique way. Enjoy the video and take a moment to think about your privilege...


Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Roll OUT

Food Truck for Equality Comes to Little Rock
BLgT USA is the first 50 state food tour for equality crossing the country during  the Summer of
2015 with a July 27 stop in Little Rock at Lost Forty Brewing and Taproom (501 Byrd St Little Rock AR) 5-6:30 pm.
Local community based organization Center for Artistic Revolution will be the local recipient of funds raised during the event. Chefs across America are creating their twist on the classic BLT sandwich to support LGBT equality. When you buy a BLgT, proceeds go towards a local LGBT community center all summer long.

The concept was supported by 660 participants at the groups Kickstarter web portal which raised $150,000 to fund the tour. Also the tour acquired other sponsors such as Target, Enterprise Car Rental and Huff Post
July 30 Live stream: White House – Release Update – National HIV/AIDS Strategy
On Thursday, July 30, 2015, the White House and will live stream the release of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Updated to 2020 during an all-day event in Atlanta, Georgia. You will be able to view the live stream on the homepage from 10:00 a.m.­ – 4:30 p.m. (EDT). At this time we are inquiring as to local participation and or viewing sessions. We will update prior to Thursday's stream.
In the meantime, you can also get up-to-the-minute news on the roll-out of the update by following’s blog, Twitter, and Facebook. - See more at:

Former Gay Arkansas Royalty Ensnared in HIV Criminalization Case

A man accused of knowingly spreading HIV to a minor he met while mentoring at a Tulsa youth
program is bound for trial in Tulsa County District Court. He is a former Mr. Gay Arkansas US of A 2011.
Elton Howland Rhoades, 24, is charged with three counts of second-degree rape and three counts of exposing others to HIV, which he allegedly committed against a juvenile girl between March 1 and March 8.
Rhoades, who also goes by Keaton Zane Paige, is employed part time as a cheerleading coach by Muskogee Public Schools. He met the girl while he was mentoring at a Tulsa youth outreach program.
The 15-year-old victim testified at Rhoades’ preliminary hearing Tuesday that she had known Rhoades for two years. She said that though the sexual intercourse with Rhoades was consensual, he knew her age and told her he did not have any sexually transmitted diseases.
Two months later, the victim tested positive for HIV and informed a Tulsa police detective, according to the detective’s affidavit. In an interview with the detective a couple of weeks later, Rhoades at first lied about knowing whether he was HIV positive, authorities contend.
The detective testified that after he obtained medical records showing that Rhoades had tested positive for HIV two years earlier, Rhoades told him that he knew he had tested positive but did not believe it because he had not noticed symptoms.
Assistant Public Defender Richard Koller, who represented Rhoades at the hearing, asked District Judge Martha Rupp Carter to reduce Rhoades’ bond. But Carter denied the request after hearing testimony, saying she couldn’t be sure that he would not pose a safety risk to the community.
Carter told the court that the state had presented enough evidence to prosecute Rhoades and was arraigned two weeks ago.  Bail is set at $100,000 on each rape count and $50,000 on each count of spreading HIV, according to jail records.  He also had a suspended driver’s license and expired tags, the records indicate. (source: Tulsa world/ online media )

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Hot Friday in the City

Out In Arkansas Cometh

Let's just start this post with these snippets from the newly minted Out In Arkansas online publication that is raising funds to launch what they tout as a platform within the Arkansas Times that will Arkansas Times; if we don’t write them, who will? Currently, there is no publication dedicated to LGBT issues in Arkansas." We say, bullshit!
increase their coverage of LGBT issues. They assert the following, "people look for such stories from the

Certainly we applaud their record of covering the gay community since 1974, but they have not been alone. There have been a long line of print oriented papers who fought diligently to offer gay content, gather ad support, and break news while seeking to be a voice long before gays embraced the alphabet soup moniker "LGBTQIAA."  To name a few, we've had Arkansas Gay Writes, The Advisor, Triangle Rising, Gay Gazette, Pink Spectrum, The Lariat, Out on the Town up today's The READ. This originators of this outfit states,

 "the Arkansas Times survives on a slim margin. We can’t afford to bear costs for a new internal startup on our own. But we are optimistic that, once established, this effort could be supported largely, or maybe even entirely, through advertising sales. We’re seeking funding to support the project for our startup year. That timeline should give us plenty of time to sell and grow the effort. To hire a rising star as editor, cover overhead costs, pay for web development and support a network of freelance writers and videographers, we’re looking to raise $125,000." 
Really? Well quiet as its kept, most of the aforementioned entities struggled to survive amidst trying times to identify printing houses who would even print their papers, begging local venues for ad support and encouraging local businesses to distribute them, attempting to get folks on the record, decent photography and a laundry list that still continues to this day. Currently The READ which was an outgrowth of focus groups and demands from the LGBT community, stepped up under the auspices of LA Corp Publishing to answer the call. It was determined that both a printed version and online presence was launched in April 2014. And they didn't have $17,318 to do it with which is the current total on Out In Arkansas fundraising platform.

The "gay community," cited their excitement and would readily support the effort through content and both subscription and advertising support. This was not totally realized, yet the publication continued to meet its obligations to publish including its current July issue. The publisher of The READ has openly stated that even though many gay and "gay friendly" business were approached about ad support yet their response was marginal to none.

In full disclosure, COP 24/7 has been a supporter and collaborator with The READ as well as many of the other publications mentioned. What we take exception too is the fact that now that its seems the "being gay" has become a cause celeb, our storied history is being ignored, disrespected and damn near being re-written by those who are seeking to act as if they are alone in the gay communities best interest. Individuals can share their treasure where they like, but its truly amazing that local community based organizations as well as publications such as The READ, can't catch a break.  Check out their website at


LGBT Film Festival Rolls in City

The Film Society of Little Rock is slated to host what's being hailed as a "history making event," as they present the inaugural year of Kaleidoscope - The Little Rock LGBT Film Festival; featuring 13 feature films, 40 short films, 12+ visiting filmmakers, and 4 parties taking place July 31 - August 2. Now in their eyes this certainly is an "inaugural year for "their," effort however, the city has indeed had film LGBT festival type showings over the years pre-digital hype and online ticketing. Then as much as now, many of these type of activities go through planning stages among a few who usually have done limited outreach to determine perhaps what may be popular choices or what may be appealing to a mass audience.

This action seems to fly in in the face of a recent HRC roundtable dinner meeting of community leaders coming together sharing their agendas and visions. Central to the discussion was the fact that a "community digital calendar," was mentioned to share possible cross collaborations. Now this is a good idea on the surface, but will any of this actually work when local organizers often are tone deaf to understanding any of the concepts of making concerted inclusive efforts. Or at least most times there's the running reference that "all our meeting are always open to anyone." Yeah right. Also added to this mix is the fact even as meetings are "usually always open," if you didn't attend or participate, if properly notified or asked, then don't bitch. Plain and simple.

In the meantime, the varied line up appears to have a little something for almost everybody. One such film to be shown is the Arkansas premiere of Game Face, sponsored in part by HRC, Marriot Hotel and ArTEC.
Unfortunately, COP 24/7 was puzzled to what appears to be a limited number of community based organizations involved as sponsors or otherwise. Perhaps none of those folks got the word about the planning sessions or were asked for film suggestions. You can get the full listing at .

The award winning documentary GAME FACE tells the parallel story of Fallon Fox, MMAs first transgender pro fighter, and Terrence Clemens, a young, ambitious and talented college basketball player in Oklahoma, who happens to be gay. Both realize that coming out will be necessary for their own sense of integrity and peace of mind, but the lack of a clear roadmap and the unpredictable consequences instill understandable anxiety and caution. Both Fallon and Terrence generously share their inner selves, their strengths and their vulnerabilities, and welcome us into their struggles. NBA player Jason Collins, NFL player Wade Davis, NCAA Division 1 basketball player Kye Allums and triathlete Chris Mosier also appear in the film.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Take ACTION Thursday

Talking to Power about HIV Criminalization
Today, dozens of states criminalize people living with HIV using laws based on scientifically inaccurate depictions of HIV risks and transmission routes. For example, some state laws still
consider spitting or scratching as a potential HIV exposure even though HIV cannot be transmitted by either. These laws contradict public health goals by stigmatizing people living with HIV, discouraging testing and open conversation, and keeping people from the care and supportive services they need.

COP 24/7 is joining a call to action as we encourage individuals to ask our Capitol Hill delegation to become aware and informed on HR 1586, The Repeal HIV Criminalization Act of 2015. Please go to to the Policy Action Center page where you can send a message to these policy makers directly. Its is vitally important that Arkansas is not left out of this call to action. They must hear from stakeholders, allies, consumers, PLWHA, activist and advocates who believe that such laws are not conducive to current science or that criminalizes a chronic condition.

NAACP Stumps for Justice

On August 1, the NAACP is proud to kick off America's Journey for Justice. We're marching across the South to the steps of our nation's Capitol to shout "Our lives, our votes, our jobs, our schools matter." And we refuse to be ignored.

That's 46 days of old-school marching. That's 860 miles for freedom and dignity. That's 1.7 MILLION steps towards justice.

Will you help us fuel America's Journey for Justice from Selma to Washington, D.C.? Chip in $5 or more today to add your name as a recognized Grassroots Sponsor.

Our nation is again at a crossroads. Prejudice, violence, and disenfranchisement threaten to erase so much of what we have fought for over the decades.

This journey won't be easy—but we're strongest when we stand shoulder to shoulder and back to back. Please, make a contribution to support the marchers on America's Journey for Justice:

Building Healthy Organizations: 
Talking Power, Money & Strategy 

Today's community-based organization (CBO) must move beyond acts of charity and develop sustainable models of business to transform lives over the long term.  In order to successfully achieve this, CBOs must effectively: 1.) Make the most of limited resources; 2.) Maximize fundraising efforts; and 3.) Recruit and retain talented staff.  

dynamics of power book coverUnderstanding these needs, NMAC has developed a new compendium of manuals to support the already existing Organizational Effectiveness Series manuals, which have become a staple in nonprofit governance.  NMAC is introducing three new manuals this summer.  The first three manuals will be, Understanding the Dynamics of Power in Healthy Organizations; Fundraising; and Strategic Management.  These manuals address new and innovative approaches to organizational governance and management, fundraising and the dynamics that support and empower managers to lead.

This first release, Understanding the Dynamics of Power in Healthy Organizations, has been developed to increase the capacity of nonprofit mid-level and senior level leaders, and provides information on the dynamics of power in healthy organizations.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Windows and Lenses Wednesday

Athlete Ally welcomes former NFL Running Back Sean James as Pro Ambassador

Today Athlete Ally announces that Sean James, former NFL running back, has joined Athlete Ally as our newest Pro Ambassador. Athlete Ally Ambassadors help the organization promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) inclusion in sports by speaking out to their peers, sports and fan bases.

James, a Mississippi native, is a former college athlete and Minnesota Vikings player. After his time with the NFL, James has dedicated his time to working with young people in athletics. In 2012, he founded Be In The Know About Bullying, a project to educate and mentor students to become leaders and stop bullying.

“Throughout history sports have been a platform for social change. We have seen trailblazers like Jackie Robinson and Jessie Owens tear down racial walls though sports and seen the impact that we as Americans allow sports to have on our thoughts and beliefs,” James said. “Just like Robinson and Owens contributed to the African-American Civil Rights movement, we are now seeing a new generation of athletes contribute to the LGBT Civil Rights movement. I continue to be an ally for the LGBT community because I am a fervent believer that as athletes we possess the power to fuel change.”

“Sean James has dedicated his career to athletics and empowering young people to exhibit good sporting behavior,” said Hudson Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of Athlete Ally. “We look forward to working with Sean, and are proud to have him join 10 other NFL players who are also exercising their leadership to champion LGBT equality.”

James  joins more than 130 other Athlete Ally Pro Ambassadors, including NFL players, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Connor Barwin, Eric Barton, Scott Fujita, Chris Gocong, D’Qwell Jackson, Chris Kluwe, Marcedes Lewis, Ephraim Salaam, and Donté Stallwort, to further equality and acceptance within athletic communities.

Read more about James here:

NABWMT Announces Annual Convention

"Voices from Our Past, Voices from Our Future," is the theme set for the 36th Annual convening of Black and White Men Together, Incorporated to be held July 13-16 in Memphis, Tennessee.

According to the groups webpage ( ) the event will feature an opening evening cruise of the mighty Mississippi River aboard The Island Queen, an old-fashioned riverboat that will be reserved for their exclusive use. Plus world-famous Memphis barbecue (and plenty of southern fixin's) will be served.  After dinner, a local DJ will provide entertainment.

 During the week of activities and empowerment sessions, there will be special guest,"America's first gay teen marriage," Memphis natives David and Tre'Darrius Anderson who will explore the meaning of same-sex marriage in the new post-Obergefell era. The group will enjoy the sounds and sights of the famed Lorraine Motel in which Dr. M.L. King was murdered and serves a significant focal point of  the National Civil Rights Museum. Locally the groups, Bush-Mallon Institute for Social Justice funded capacity building of LinQ for Life, Incorporated (  which produced the "Reflections of A Shattered Mirror," anthology/ resource guide to illuminate social justice issues ranging from coming out stories to HIV criminalization.

There are plans underway to offer a package deal for locals interested in the convention to attend. The Doubletree by Hilton in Downtown Memphis will serve as host hotel. Conference registration is now open on the website. For more information about local participation call 501-404-2400.

In recognition of Black Gay Pride Week, July 23-26, Arkansas RAPPS will be available for Free HIV Testing and counseling. We want you to get the "facts, not foolishness," on your sexual health.  Call 501-404-2400 to make your appointment.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

NetRoots AfterGlow

Eyes Open Wide At the Table

The energy and vibrancy of NetRoots Nation continues to reverberate through this medium. This all encompassing event of social justice and progressive politics gives this forum pause to ponder the energy level, passion and enthusiasm around local activities. Over the past year we've seen some demonstrations of rallying in the troops as folks took to the state capitol over radical legislation.
We've witnessed individuals "going to the chapel," at the court house both before and after the marriage equality decision. And yet as all this has taken place, COP 24/7 can't help but observe that even as there is a "table" still all are not at the table. Why? Well there could be make reasons, options or nuances.
Some cite that locales or venues often preclude participation, yet I counter that if some one is truly interested in being involved, they should be able to express that concern to organizers while seeking transportation assistance or otherwise.
Case in point, during 2013's Mid-South Regional AIDS Conference, this forum suggested that greater participation of PLWH might be increased if transportation was provided. Yet with that element added to the entire scholarship offering, this did not result in "increased" participation or level of interest of those who did utilized the service.  Most recently, Arkansas RAPPS sought to launch a series of "conversation starter" sessions in its outreach efforts around HIV awareness and linkage to care opportunities. As organizing began, again "transportation," was cited as an issue to participation at agreed venues. However upon further investigation, it was determined that despite perhaps offering that service, it couldn't be substantiated that offering assistance would enhance any level of attendance. Individuals expressed no interest in attending when an alternative plan of securing a pick up option was presented versus being offered a "gas card" option. Hence the sessions were derailed and are now being reassessed.
So what does all this mean if anything?  Everett Rogers points out in his book, Diffusion of Innovations, once a certain critical mass of adoption of a new idea is reached, that idea becomes the norm. Once your public support reaches that critical mass, your issue will be, as one perceptive human service provider used to say, "like the fire department." No one will question that it ought to be a community priority, or that community resources ought to be devoted to addressing it. Sounds good, but does this work? Perhaps in some cases, but in trying to either bring folks to the policy table or keeping them engaged to understand why they need to be there has been challenging to say the least in these parts. Ultimately, what's missing is both committed and skilled individuals as to there responsibility to being apart of these tables. 
Although we have some LGBT infrastructure, it is strained due to a lack of capacity and often times capturing viable resources to enhance their scalability of there mission's and visions. Even though we know we need a "fire house," except their are other priorities that often get in the way or cause us angst to build or maintain one. It seems that despite all the dollars and sense that has been expended across our area, we are still in a flux of trying to bring everyone to the table to decide what's the priority and if we are ever going to have a fire house. 

Changing the T for LGBs

The nationwide discussion surrounding trans visibility is essential for other queer people, too.


Monday, July 20, 2015

The Aftermanth of NET ROOTS

What a week last week was for COP 24/7! It was more than fast and furious as we joined 3,000 participants at Net Roots Nation as well as our invite to LGBT Net Roots Connect which engaged
attendees in a boot camp style exercise in creating a micro social media campaign. This forum was delighted to represent Arkansas in our capacity as a long term local advocate and digital activist using our COP 24/7 platform as a medium for change.

Through the pre-conference, I had a chance to be again be immerse in a "social media lab" format that brought together individuals from unique backgrounds and disciplines.

Ultimately the exercise revealed that when pressed to work together in a time driven and specific directive, things can get done. To that affect our core working group decided that HIV Criminalization would be our target and our goal was to raise awareness on how such laws impact those living with HIV.

Of course the exercise didn't allow us to fully craft a typical campaign, but it
gave each of us some distinct elements to use moving forward, especially the development outcome of our hash tag, "HIV and Free," which we in turn launched immediately across social media spaces Twitter and Facebook.

Meanwhile after the pre-conference, I moved on to the main event of Net Roots Nation which is billed as the largest gathering of progressives. And as a first time attendee, it meets that moniker on all levels and more. From day one, COP 24/7 hit the ground running to stake out what sessions I would attend, while weighing against other's that I could not get to due to overlapping. The digital town square was one the highlights that I was looking forward to and was amazed at what I found. Yet I learned from some past attendees, that usually there were even more vendors but some had bowed out due to site issues and other circumstances. However, the wide array of those participating still was dizzying and offered a great deal of variety.

Across the five days, I posted real time items to our Facebook page and tried to cross post as much as possible. From what I have discerned from my analytics, my reach was not as wide had I hoped. I was blown away by many of media sources camped out at the event.

It was exhilarating to see folks doing their thing such as "This Week in Blackness," (pictured left) and Blue Nation Review, that had prominent sets and roaming video crews. It made me ponder if perhaps that could be achievable by this platform even as we've tapped out post for over 10 years with some marginal notice.

During the rowdy protest, passionate speeches and my engagement with young folks and old alike burning with desire to make sure that they are apart of this continuing progressive movement gave me "life" as the young set state.

I felt a waves of emotion, rage, connection, outreach, empowerment and moments of pride. Proud to know that I got this chance to witness this type of conference and sharing information about my beloved state. Again, I went, I saw and I now know that the struggle continues...

Check out all our coverage, links, video and more at

Early Registration for the 2016 National African American MSM Leadership Conference on HIV/AIDS and Other Health Disparities is Now Open!!!


(Atlanta, GA) July 21, 2015 - NAESM staff, the planning committee and participating sponsors to date are gearing up to present the 13th installment of the National African American MSM Leadership Conference on HIV/AIDS and other Health Disparities which is scheduled to take place in Los Angeles, California January 21-24 2016 at the Hilton LAX Hotel located at 5711 W. Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045.  For more information on the conference or to register, submit an abstract, or apply for a conference scholarship please visit the NAESM Inc. website at

NAESM 2016, as the conference is affectionately called, is the only national conference planned by Black gay men to highlight emerging social, political, structural, and behavioral trends that impact our communities by bridging health educators, advocates, policy makers, researchers, and PLWA’s in a weekend full of learning, sharing, and growth.  We are honored to extend an invitation to attend the 2016 National African American MSM Leadership Conference on HIV/AIDS and other Health Disparities. As with our previous conferences, we are expecting another large turnout of healthcare providers, government officials, PLWHA’s, researchers and community members. We are also excited about the continuation of the Creating Responsible Intelligent Black Brothers (CRIBB) Fellowship which will induct its 8th cohort class.

This years’ conference charge is “Live it! Be it! Taking Ownership of Our Own Health.” With HIV prevention rapidly changing through the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), social impediments will continue to impact our communities’ abilities to access housing, employment, education, public safety, and even access to health care. For years, in the health world, there has been a bit of a divide between those who are primarily focused on medical care and those who are focused on public health and community health. Both medical care and community health interventions are critical to black gay men, and advocates for both should be on the same team, given a shared interest in keeping people healthy.  With a continued focus on ensuring the national capacity to conduct community health and HIV prevention work, NAESM 2016 is allocating double the number of registration scholarships awarded to younger gay men ages 19-25. 

NAESM 2016 will have over 40 workshops, institutes, and poster presentations dealing directly with the public policy, public health, community health, and social justice issues that impact the everyday lives of black gay men. Registrants have the opportunity to take advantage of the early registration rate of $275.00 through July 31st 2015. Opportunities to exhibit in the revamped marketplace and advertise in the souvenir booklet are also available. More information is available on the NAESM website or by contacting the headquarters at 404-691-8880.
Do you need FREE HIV testing and counseling? Want information about PReP? Need linkage to care or peer navigation services? Call Arkansas RAPPS at 501-404-2400 to get information or to schedule your appointment. "Get Facts, Not Foolishness." Do it today!


Friday, July 17, 2015

COP 24/7 Fast Tracks and Trending

Editor's note: As we are on the road this week at Net Roots Nation, please check out our Facebook platform to get the full scope of our experience at this conference. Come follow us at

LGBT in the South Conference Announces 2016 Session

LGBT* in the South conference will be held March 18-20, 2016 in Asheville, NC at Asheville-Buncombe Community Technical College.

The conference combines workshops to build organizing skills, facilitated discussions about topics impacting LGBT* Southerners, and Continuing Legal Education (CLE) sessions for attorneys on topics of LGBT* law.  This year Arkansas was represented by Tommie Luckett and Andrea Z. whom were apart of the panel discussion concerning transgendered issues. Check out there website, for more information as well as watch this space for updates.

Impact Partners to launch doc producers fellowship                    


Film financier Impact Partners is teaming up with the DOC NYC festival on a fellowship for up-and-coming producers.
Liz GarbusThe annual Emerging Documentary Producers Fellowship will award five producers with US$2,500 and the opportunity to participate in a program consisting of 10 development workshops taught by industry figures and well-known filmmakers such as Liz Garbus (pictured), Morgan Spurlock, Amy Ziering and Stanley Nelson, among others.
The year-long workshops will take place in New York City and each session will explore a different aspect of film production, including finance, festival strategy, marketing and distribution deal-making and legalities.
Nominations for the fellows will be accepted from directors, producers, editors and other key crew members who worked with the candidate on a previous or current film. Emerging directors cannot nominate themselves, and the applicants must have worked on at least one documentary in a key position such as producer, line-producer, co-producer or associate producer, though on no more than three feature-length films.

“People often say we are in a golden age of documentary filmmaking, and that’s true. The quality of documentary films, and their popularity among audiences, has never been higher,” said Impact Partners co-founder Dan Cogan in a statement. “And yet this rising tide has not quite lifted all boats. Amidst growing institutional and popular support for great documentary directors, producers of documentary film are still underappreciated and underserved.”
“Documentary producing isn’t something you learn from books. It’s like an occult knowledge acquired through mentors and practice,” added DOC NYC artistic director Thom Powers. “The most important secrets of massaging finances, personalities, legalities and unexpected situations are only shared in closed rooms.”
Other guest lecturers will inc
lude Victoria Cook, Geralyn Dreyfous, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, Howard Gertler, Julie Goldman, Amy Hobby, the Sundance Institute’s Tabitha Jackson, Sundance Film Festival programmer Caroline Libresco, Powers and others to be announced this fall. Cogan will serve as the workshops’ moderator.

The fellowship will accept nominations until October 6, and winners will be announced at an awards event during DOC NYC, which takes place from November 12 to 19 in New York City.
For more details, visit

Read more:

Thursday, July 16, 2015

On the Road Thursday

Progressives Shaking and Moving: So What is Net Roots?

As a term, Netroots (Internet + grassroots) refers to populist campaigns and movements sparked, promoted and conducted over the Internet. But as a community, it can be a little harder to define.
The folks who make up the Netroots community (and attend Netroots Nation each year) are bloggers, newsmakers, social justice advocates, labor and organizational leaders, grassroots organizers and online activists. In addition, candidates and elected officials, as well as thought leaders from the progressive movement attend every year conference reaches out to all 50 states and COP 24/7 was included in the LGBT Net Roots Connect which offers a pre-conference boot camp for activist and advocates from across the country.

During this intense work, COP24/7 suggested to my assigned working group that HIV Criminalization in lieu of the recent sentencing of Michael Johnson to 30 years in the Missouri case. It was agreed that this issue would be central to developing our campaign focus. Amazingly, I was totally surprised that of the 12 person group, 4 individuals identified as POZ, one white, 2 Black and one Mexican, who also shared that he was "undocumented." After a rigorous and robust discussion, it was hammered out a goal of increasing awareness about the lack of "awareness" to the issue.

Also we set out some micro strategies to achieve this via using current organizations, other ongoing campaign, access data sets and finally, central to the exercise, developing a hash tag, "HIV and FREE." The foundation of the hash tag was to express that those living with HIV should be "free" from stigma, persecution, or violence. During the final portion of the exercise, we launched the tag on to Twitter and Facebook. COP 24/7 was proud to be at the table to hasten the use of HIV criminalization and will be building out from our learning opportunity at LGBT Net Roots Connect. Watch for more on this issue and other challenges and barriers facing those living with HIV and AIDS in Arkansas. Remember to use the hash tag, #HIVandFREE

In 2014, Netroots Nation attendees came from 45 states and 7 countries, and 53% attended for the first time. Significantly, 53% of attendees and 61% of panelists/speakers were women. The majority of Netroots Nation attendees are under 45, but we have attendees of many ages.

In 2014, age breakdown was:
24 and under: 7.6%
25 to 35: 43.5%
36 to 45: 20.9%
46 to 55: 12.1%
56 and up: 15.9%
Gender breakdown:
Female: 52.6%
Male: 46.8%
Other: 0.7%
Ethnicity breakdown:
Caucasian: 70.1%
African American: 13.1%
Multi-ethnic/Other: 7%
Hispanic: 5.4%
Asian-Pacific Islander: 4.0%
Native American: 0.5%
We’re committed to making Netroots Nation as diverse and inclusive as possible. You can read more about our commitment and steps to get there here.
Our sponsors include more than 125 organizations ranging from small nonprofits to million-member organizations. Partners include progressive activist organizations, local nonprofits, labor unions, tech companies and more.

Think of the Netroots as a big political family. We may not agree on everything but common threads connect us—for example, we stand for an America where every person deserves a good job with fair wages and equal opportunity. Our tent may be broad but we all can agree that America has gone off the rails and it’s time to get back on track with policy that is fair and just for everyone.
“Lobbyists and special interests have a lot of influence in Washington, and families often lose out. If we’re going to rebuild the middle class and restore economic security for families, we’re going to need to develop a strong voice. That’s why Netroots is so important and why I really appreciate the chance to be part of it.” —Elizabeth Warren

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wild Card Wednesday

Editor' Note: Please catch up with our LGBT Net Roots Nation and Net Roots Nation postings on our social media page,  You can get some of the fast breaking updates and all that we can muster to get posted during this event. Check it out. In the meantime, we will update COP 24/7 with some of our "Best of COP 24/7," or other hot topic content that needs to get out their! Stay with us all week...!!

Lights, Cameras, Action
Local LGBTQ Film Festival Takes Off

Beginning July 30 - August 2, the LGBT film festival, Kaleidoscope, begins its inaugural premiere
according to its producers, The Film Society of Little Rock. The entities web page states that the Film Society of Little Rock is a grassroots, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed by a small group of filmmakers and film enthusiasts.  
They are focused on expansion of the creative community in Arkansas by providing year round opportunities to educate, entertain, and exhibit local, national, and international filmmakers and their works. Kaleidoscope is designed to celebrate the diversity of the LGBT community and filmmakers by presenting poignant and thought-provoking films documenting LGBT lives truthfully and with respect. Kaleidoscope celebrates the power of film to transform lives and opinions of those both inside and outside the LGBT community through the universal medium of the cinema. All of this is fabulous planning but of course COP 24/7 has a few questions about all of this? Such as "how were these films chosen and why?" or perhaps, "just when was all this planning taking place and where was the information on that planning? Of course, we've always got questions, because that what we do at COP 24/7. We'll see if there are any answers...stay tuned!!

Featuring 10+ Feature Films, 30+ Short Films, Panels, Parties, and visiting filmmakers from all over the country.

Highlights include:

Opening Night Feature Film (Thursday, July 30): Harry Henry Gamble's Birthday Party, director in attendance

HRC Arkansas Spotlight Feature (Friday, July 31): GAME FACE documentary, director in attendance

Closing Night Feature Film (Sunday, August 2): S&M Sally, director in attendance

Organizers state that many more films will be announced shortly. Check out there website for more information:

Festival passes are now on sale:

Passes are now on sale for Kaleidoscope 2015!

FILM PASS ($30) will get you entry into all the film screenings. Priority seating is given to SPONSOR & VIP pass holders, followed by FILM pass holders.

VIP PASS - LIMITED QUANTITIES AVAILABLE ($100) will get you priority entry into film screenings, panel, parties, and access to the private Filmmaker Lounge. We are only selling a limited amount of VIP passes.

INDIVIDUAL TICKETS are $8 and only at the box office before each screening. Priority seating is giving to Sponsor, VIP, and Film Pass holders. If seats remain, then individual tickets will be sold.

Purchase your pass today!

Little Marriott is the Official Hotel of Kaleidoscope offering a special room rate of only $99! Book yours today: (special rate ends July 23)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tuesday Best of COP 24/7

COP 24/7 is on the road this week to LGBT Net Roots Connect and Net Roots Nation. Please check out our coverage on our Facebook page at

Editors Note: This piece first appeared, 12/16/2009. Even though we've pushed through the first waves of education and enrollment of the Affordable Care Act, impending next open enrollment coming this November, it's apparent that there's need to further awareness and existing information gaps that need addressing by a variety of sources.

One could consider that such an effort was begun within the last year incuding the development of the Community Connectors initiative featuring such contractors as Arkansas RAPPS ( Reaching, Affirming, Positive, Progressive, Systems), Living Affected's LGBTQ Cultural Sensitivity sessions and a well attended HRC health forum have all taken place since this post.

Next week during Black Gay Pride week another such opportunity will present itself via a scheduled "Real Talk," being held at CALS in downtown Little Rock. As the week progresses, watch this space for more on the road updates and additional content on our digital platforms.

Medicare Expands List of Covered Preventive Services to Include HIV Screening Tests

As the healthcare debate ebbs and flows on Capital Hill, comes this interesting diversion from CMS which certainly broadsided myself as well as makes me wonder what took so long to decide this matter since we are now some 25 years into the HIV/AIDS delimma.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced its final decision to cover Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection screening for Medicare beneficiaries who are at
increased risk for the infection, including women who are pregnant and Medicare beneficiaries of any age who voluntarily request the service. The decision is effective immediately.Under the recently passed Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA), CMS now has the flexibility of adding to Medicare's list of covered preventive services, if certain requirements are met.
Priorto this law, Medicare could only cover additional preventive screening tests when Congress authorized it to do so. "Today's  decision marks an important milestone in the history of the Medicare program," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "Beginning with expanding coverage for HIV screening, we can now work proactively as a program to help keep Medicare beneficiaries healthy and take a more active role in evaluating the evidence for preventive services. "Under  MIPPA, CMS can consider whether Medicare should cover preventive services that Congress has not already deemed as covered or non-covered bylaw.
 Among other requirements, the new services must have been "strongly recommended" or "recommended" by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. For instance, the Task Force graded HIV screening as "strongly recommended" for certain groups. More information about the Task Force is available online at
"Every adult should know their HIV status," said Dr. Howard K. Koh, HHS assistant secretary for health. "This decision by Medicare should help promote screening and save lives. "CMS uses the national coverage determination (NCD) process to make decisions on these types of preventive services. This process provides transparency about the evidence that CMS considers when making its decisions and allows opportunity for the public to comment on CMS' proposals.
"Medicare's  coverage of HIV screening tests is an important step forward in protecting beneficiaries from the potentially devastating and life-threatening complications of HIV and Acquired immunodeficiency Syndrome(AIDS)," said CMS Acting Administrator Charlene Frizzera.
AIDS is diagnosed when an HIV-infected person's immune system becomes severely compromised or a person becomes ill with an HIV-related infection. Of the more than one million estimated to have the HIV infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that about a quarter of them do not realize they are infected. Without treatment, AIDS develops within 8 to 10 years. While there is presently no cure for HIV, screening can help identify infected patients so that they can receive medical treatment that could help delay the onset of AIDS for years.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Back on The Road with COP 24/7

Taking to the Road
LGBT Netroots Connect

You just never know where COP 24/7 will end up next? This week we are excited to participate in LGBT Netroots Connect in Phoenix, Arizona, July 14 and then on to Netroots Nation for the rest of the week.  Talk about connecting to all things social media, advocacy, activism and all manner of workshops, forums, keynoters and caucuses amidst forecast of up to 2000 folks roaming the massive Phoenix Convention Center.

Just as a recap, the group was founded in 2008 as the National Blogger and Citizen Journalist Initiative. LGBT Netroots Connect develops programs that bring online and offline activists and leaders together to create change. They work with leaders, journalists, LGBT organization staff, bloggers and activists to discuss the future of the LGBT movement and the ways in which our actions impact it.

The annual gatherings creates alliances and projects that focus on uniting today’s and tomorrow’s community leaders. By bringing together these leaders with the larger progressive movement, it is the goal the pre-conference to begin conversations and dialog about "what's on the LGBT agenda moving forward."

COP 24/7 is proud to be once again stepping up to represent our beloved state of Arkansas while trying to make sure that we are not missing from the national table talk. Stay tuned this week as we will be hot, live and otherwise from this event. 

USCA Is Rolling Up this Fall!

Leader Pelosi will speak on Thursday, September 10, at the United States Conference on AIDS‘ Federal Plenary in Washington, DC. At the plenary, for her tireless work in the fight against HIV, Pelosi will receive the Elizabeth Taylor Legacy Award from The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS
Foundation. Since her first day in Congress, combating HIV and AIDS has been a priority for Leader Pelosi, stating in her first speech in Congress on June 9, 1987, that “…now we must take leadership of course in the crisis of AIDS.”

During the four years she served as Speaker of House, discretionary funding for HIV/AIDS was increased by over half a billion dollars. In that time, the bans on federal funding for syringe exchange and the travel ban for people with HIV/AIDS were lifted – fights Pelosi had been waging since her first years in Congress.

Pelosi spearheaded the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which has provided significant benefits for those with HIV/AIDS by:
  • dramatically increasing access to Medicaid for people with HIV,
  • improving Medicare Part D for people participating in the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP),
  • ending discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, and
  • ending annual and lifetime caps on health benefits.
Please join us for this important plenary as we celebrate Leader Pelosi’s leadership and her receipt of the Elizabeth Taylor Legacy Award. For more information, please go to the USCA webpage.

For more information on USCA Registration, USCA Scholarships, & USCA Agenda, please visit our web page. Look for the 2015 USCA Smartphone Application to be available soon.