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!


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