Monday, July 02, 2018

Summer 2018: Is this Thing ON and More

In the last ten years, HIV-specific criminal statutes have been used in over 300 prosecutions in the United States, resulting in prison sentences of up to thirty years. Currently, cases are on the rise in Arkansas and we must answer a call to action now!!  

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Thursday, March 03, 2016

Is this Thing On! Welcome to the Living Room Series jumps with Open Mike


Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Post OUT

Op-ed: Here Are the 31 Icons of 2015's Gay History Month

The founder of LGBT History Month fills us in on this year's "Icons" and explains why he sometimes honors those who lived in the closet.


This is the 10th Anniversary of LGBT History Month. While the October event was started in the mid-1990s, no one took responsibility for defining or organizing an annual celebration.

In 2006, Equality Forum, a national and international organization with an educational focus, took on that responsibility. The goals were to teach history, provide role models, and highlight our impressive national and international contributions. LGBT people are the only minority worldwide who are not taught their history at home, in public schools, or in religious institutions. Without these resources, self-esteem and community pride are undermined.

To achieve our goals and enhance impact, our board decided to select 31 Icons, one for each day in October, and to provide free and online a video, biography, bibliography, and downloadable images for each Icon. We outreached to local, state, and national educational, nonprofit, and corporate organizations to disseminate these resources and prioritized high school gay-straight alliances and higher education. In 2011, with a grant from the MAC AIDS Fund, we created a cloud with about 150 tags for the then-186 (six years x 31) Icons. As we celebrate the 10th anniversary, there are 310 Icons with their videos, bios, bibliographies, and downloadable images archived in the cloud.

How are the 31 Icons selected? An Icon must be an L, G, B or T person, living or deceased, national or international, who has distinguished him/herself in their field of endeavor, become a national hero, or made an important contribution to LGBT civil rights.

We annually solicit nominations from organizations and the public on the site’s home page. These nominees are reviewed by two prominent academics, who make Icon recommendations to Equality Forum’s board.

At the project’s inception, our board addressed whether a nominee was required to be out. Since being out was rare prior to the 1990s, it was not a requirement for those who were deceased.  For living nominees, whether they were out was a consideration. In 2013 a nominee who was living but not out was eliminated. Anderson Cooper was selected in 2013 and Tim Cook in 2014, after each came out.

When Equality Forum launched LGBT History Month virtually no one knew what it was. Ten years later, LGBT History Month is celebrated in North America and First World nations. It encourages interest by local communities, states, and nations in exploring their histories. LGBT History Month highlights those who paved the way and inspired, and provides narratives that empower our civil rights movement.
See the list of this year's Icons below.

MALCOLM LAZIN is the executive director of Equality Forum and founder of LGBT History Month. Lazin was a federal prosecutor who received the U.S. Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award. He served as a commissioner and then the chair of the Pennsylvania Crime Commission.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Throwback Thursday:Best of COP 24/7

Editors Note: This piece was originally posted December 10, 2014. Since then, despite additional gun violence, police shootings and other social unrest including the Ferguson anniversary, their continues to be issues around community policing and social justice issues of poverty, homelessness, racism, homophobia and mass incarceration. Meanwhile, there's been little to no movement from the Community Planning for Justice in Arkansas group on any of these issues. Also after numerous meet ups, called meetings, and a set of demands presented to the LRPD, it is the opinion of COP 24/7 although the effort raised awareness, there is no clear indication that any of those efforts resulted in making much difference that can be determined.

Little Rock Adds Protest Voices As the protest continue across the country and government official seek to create blue ribbon panels and summits on how to address the civil unrest, a local group quickly mobilized as Little Rock Direct
Action Planning Group which has now morphed or been enveloped into Community Planning for Justice in Arkansas. 

According to the group's Facebook page, this group has been developed in order for community members in Arkansas to plan and execute proactive participation in our communities against injustice - specifically pertaining to racial justice, economic justice, police brutality, and other issues related to these. We want to address our concerns together.
Protestors during a peaceful but vocal protest last Sunday at Park Plaza Mall in Little Rock, staged a "die in" in response to a non indictment of the Police Officer who,using a choke hold, killed Eric Garner during an arrest on staten island New York.
The protest was also intended to draw more attention to the use of deadly force on African Americans throughout the U.S. Chants... of  "No justice no peace no racist police", "I can't breath", and "Hands up don't shoot" were repeated by the protestors. Many protestors held signs and formed a circle around those who chose to lay down to symbolically represent those who have been shot and killed by Law Enforcement around the country.

 Little Rock Police officers had a presence around the protest but did not engage with the protestors instead allowing the protest carry on to it's own conclusion. COP 24/7 applauds these citizens on their act to address this critical issue and demanding that law enforcement and governmental officials respond wit positive outcomes. The group is also in the planning stages of another public protest. Watch COP 24/7 for updates, links and coverage on our Facebook page.( )
Arkansas RAPPS is a new program seeking to engage the positive MSM community in assessing linkage to care issues or challenges, outreach opportunities and peer to peer empowerment sessions. Want to know more you can call us at 501-349-7777

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fast Track Hump Day

SF records all-time low in HIV infections, deaths

San Francisco resident Randy Silva, 51, is one of many people in The City who has maintained an active lifestyle after being diagnosed with HIV. (Special to S.F. Examiner/Natasha Dangond)
Fourteen years after his death sentence, Randy Silva is in the best shape of his life.
Silva, 51, was diagnosed with HIV in September 2001. In 2007, after suffering a heart attack while hospitalized at San Francisco General Hospital with AIDS-related pneumocystis pneumonia, he was told he had 48 hours to live.
“I expected to die,” he said recently.

San Francisco resident Randy Silva, 51, is one of many people in The City who has maintained an active lifestyle after being diagnosed with HIV. (Special to S.F. Examiner/Natasha Dangond)But he didn’t. He finished a doctorate in clinical psychology last year. He has an active romantic relationship with his partner, who is 24 — and HIV negative.

 And throughout San Francisco, there are more and more people like him.
New HIV infections and deaths of HIV-infected people in The City dropped more than 17 percent from 2013 to 2014, according to the Department of Public Health.
There were 302 new HIV diagnoses last year, and 177 deaths of HIV-infected people, according to the department. That’s down from 371 and 209, respectively, the year before.
Since the HIV/AIDS epidemic began in the 1980s, those numbers are the lowest ever recorded in San Francisco.

The most telling statistic may be this: Since 2012, when the drug Truvada was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an HIV/AIDS prevention drug, new infections have dropped by 30 percent in The City.

The success of Truvada-centered PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is also proof positive for some public health officials that their goal of getting to zero new infections is realistic and achievable.
In addition to increasing awareness and access to PreP as a prevention tool, public health officials tout the wide availability of HIV/AIDS testing and rapid access to antiretroviral treatment via UC San Francisco as key to the significant drop in new infections.

“We are on our way to zero,” said Dr. Susan Buchbinder, director of the health department’s HIV prevention unit. “But we still have a lot to do.”
Specifically, black people have a lower survival rate than other ethnicities, and vulnerable populations like the poor or homeless have a tougher time entering and staying in treatment.
There has also been an increase in new transmissions among youths, “specifically young men of color,” Buchbinder said.

Still, the numbers present a strong message: the overall strategy is working.
“For a while, our infection rates were pretty stubborn,” said Supervisor Scott Wiener, who is openly gay and last year publicly announced he takes Truvada as an HIV-prevention measure. “But we’ve made significant advances in getting people tested and quickly into treatment. All of that together creates a very strong atmosphere for reducing new infections.”

Globally, about 7,000 people are infected with HIV every day, according to the United Nations.
For more information on San Francisco’s goal of zero new HIV infections, visit the SF Department of Public Health’s website.  For information on Arkansas go to

Save the Date:

For ticket information call 855-787-4548 on how you can show your support.
Tickets are $50 and can be purchased online, in-person, delivered and sponsored tables of $500 for your agency or firm.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Toss Up Tuesday

African American HIV University

The African American HIV University (AAHU) was developed in 1999 as a structural intervention program intended to change cultural norms and perceptions in the Black community around access to and utilization of HIV prevention services and strengthen Black organization and individual capacity
to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in their communities. Arkansas had five individuals to complete the courses and COP 24/7 congratulates Ms. Carleisha "Kai" Murray  and Mr. Lee Brown as the next set of Fellows who will acquire knowledge from the Science and Treatment College portion of the program. Each individuals stated that the opportunity to engage the extensive curriculum would serve as another tool in their abilities to gain better understanding about the medical aspects of HIV that would compliment their current knowledge base.

Murray currently works for Jefferson Comprehensive Health Care Systems in case management. Brown is the founder and CEO of LinQ for Life Corporation and works for UAMS and Chicot Memorial in Emergency Medical Sciences. Brown cited that he was drawn to the
course work as another added level to his degree in Emergency Medical Sciences. "I believe that access these graduate styled courses would be beneficial to my further studies around this health dilemma. Its vitally important that we have young gay Black men equipped with a firm science based acumen in order to deal with continuing infection rates of young gay Black men 13-24 in Arkansas."

LinQ for Life ( ) was founded to serve as peer centered entity that would seek to highlight "links," to a better quality of life," said Brown. "Since our inception in November 2014, we've been aggressive about getting our "house in order," to be able to be prepared to be of service to the community. It's been tough but as they say, "no pain , no gain."
 Currently LinQ for Life's two programs, Arkansas RAPPS and Mobilizing Arkansas Brothers, are contractors of the Community Connectors Initiative which seeks to offer innovative approaches to linkage and retention in care.

Research shows that lack of scientific literacy, stigma within the population, conspiracy beliefs and misperceptions of the disease have presented considerable barriers to HIV prevention strategies among African Americans.

The Black AIDS Institute launched multiple programs to address these challenges including the Community Mobilization College, the Science and Treatment College, the Black Treatment Advocates Network and individual technical assistance. The Community Mobilization College (CMC) utilizes the Community Mobilization Model to detail the cultural barriers to and regional opportunities for combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Black communities. The chief objective of CMC is to develop a cadre of Black social change community leaders with the knowledge and skills to mobilize key influential people, constituents and traditional Black institutions to end the AIDS epidemic in their communities.

Save the Date...
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Monday, August 17, 2015

The Week Start UP and OUT

Young Gay Republicans Are Trying to Change Their Party’s View on LGBT Rights

It’s no secret that millennials are more vocal and frank about what they want than past generations have been. Once they were publicly branded as the “me” generation, they decided to run with it and own that label.
Now, in the midst of campaign season for the 2016 presidential election, and after a year of historic advancements for gay rights, young Republicans have their work cut out for them when it comes to presenting an overall positive voice for their party. Vanity Fair spoke with some of the fresh faces trying to elasticize the rigid beliefs and views that the upper and elder echelons of the Republican Party have, especially when it comes to gay rights and the right to marry.
“This is an issue of mass and manners,” says S.E. Cupp, a self-described Log Cabin Republican who became a viral sensation when she grew emotional in a CNN interview following the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage. (“Those people . . . are patriots,” a teary-eyed Cupp said of gay-marriage advocates.) “On the mass side, the country just doesn’t agree with you anymore and I don’t think that’s going to [change]. So, just from the math you have to understand: you’re an outlier.
“And then on the manners, you have to understand that people like me, people who are supportive of gay rights and conservative or [who are] gay themselves, they’re fighting doubly hard to advance conservative values,” Cupp says. “We shouldn’t be kicked out of the party, or castigated, or called anti-conservative because we hold these views.”
But small divisions of the party aren’t the only ones pushing for an image overhaul.  A Senate candidate from Maryland, Chrysovalantis Kefalas (pictured above) could become the first openly gay Republican congressman to be elected, and he said, “The context in which I view individual liberty is that it comes down to: How do we provide an environment and climate when people can do their best work?” A fair question, especially considering Barack Obama has relied heavily on younger voters in both of his campaigns, and all the current GOP frontrunners seem to be doing is alienating a huge portion of that voting bloc.
But after all is said and done, the younger Republicans who will be the face of their party in the next election all agree that same-sex marriage will be old news — and no longer a sticking point.
Read Vanity Fair’s article here

Transgender Woman to Be Real Housewives of Atlanta's First Trans Cast Member

Popular socialite and trans woman Amiyah Scott is reportedly Atlanta's newest reality TV housewife.
Ever since the premiere of I Am Cait, the reality television landscape has become much more Housewives franchise has joined the fray.
inclusive and representative of trans people, and now Bravo’s
The Real Housewives of Atlanta has cast its first transgender cast member, social media personality Amiyah Scott, making her the show's first ever trans star and the first ever trans woman to be featured in all of Bravo’s seven Housewives franchises, reports Vibe Magazine.

Although she has yet to officially comment, reports say Scott has already been seen filming scenes for the show’s upcoming eighth season. Scott fills a casting void left behind when original Atlanta Housewife and vocal LGBT supporter NeNe Leakes announced she was leaving the show earlier this year.
Scott is best known for being an Atlanta socialite, and she has more than 800,000 combined followers from both her Twitter and Instagram accounts.

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