Category Archives: Inspire Someone
Saturday, March 17, 2012, marks the 100th birthday of the late civil rights activist Bayard Rustin. Rustin was a proud Black gay man who was an indispensable architect of the Civil Rights Movement. His most noteworthy achievements include serving as chief organizer of the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, mentoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and helping to form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
As an effective bridge builder across a broad range of demographics, he spent more than 60 years involved in social, racial, economic, class, labor, anti-war and other justice movements, both domestically and internationally.
However, the story of this visionary strategist and activist, who dared to live as an openly gay man during the violently homophobic 1940s, 50s, and 60s, has rarely been told in mainstream or Black media.
Read more just click here —> NBJC Celebrates Bayard Rustin 100th Birthday 1912-2012
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has just ruled that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional! We knew all along that Prop 8 was wrong, and this ruling affirms what millions of people all across the country already know — loving, committed same-sex couples and their families should be able to share in the celebration and obligations of marriage.
This is a huge victory in the battle for marriage equality, but this fight is far from over.
The federal government still refuses to recognize our families. The so-called Defense of Marriage Act remains the law of the land, and thousands of loving families are denied the protections, rights, and responsibilities that other married couples take for granted.
The Obama Administration has refused to defend DOMA. It’s time for Congress to repeal it.
Take Action now: Tell your senators to pass the Respect for Marriage Act and repeal DOMA.
Let’s use this historic ruling as a catalyst in our fight for equality, and demand that the federal government recognize our relationships.
Dear Convening Attendees and Supporters,
It is with heartfelt gratitude I express THANKS to everyone for your presence, for your participation both during and after, for the beginning of a national movement/network, however you choose to define it, that will address issues pertaining to POC LGBT aging. The First National Convening on POC LGBT Aging was a phenomenal gathering, please applaud yourselves for a job well done!!
To all the staff of GRIOT Circle…Bonnie Harrison, Anthony McPhatter, Victor Pond and Daniella Noel who went beyond the call of duty and put their brightest foot forward to create an outstanding Convening.
To Brian de Vries for always being informative and supportive, a man of truth and clarity. To Kyaien O. Conner for your brilliance and impressive level of research that opened so many people’s eyes to the disparate needs of LGBT POC aging. Your presentation was amazing! Thank you.
Chezia Carraway, my Elder Mentor Sister Friend, lots of love! Thanks! And to Helena Bushong for being the voice of our Trans-elder community that is far too often invisible at these important gatherings. You rock!
Aisha Young for continuing to be the leader that you are! Laurens Van Sluytman for always being in GRIOT’s–and my–corner, a guy you can count on! Much Love! Jay Blackwell you know how I feel about you and your support! Louis Colbert for your kind words, as you know, we got work to do!!!!
Carmelita Tursi for always being so very understanding and supportive, and for being available and open to the new kids on the block! Talk soon!? Hutson Inniss for coming in and doing the work necessary, thanks man! Jewelle Gomez for being a great elder and movement leader. Nancy Bereano, your mentorship and love is felt! Brendalynn Goodall, my SISTA friend, for always having my back and just being a great supporter friend!
To Michelle Alcedo, my SFAM, for your continued energy and support! Hope Barrett great seeing you as always, thanks for your words of encouragement. Rev. Jaynce Jackson thanks for your words and for keeping everyone focused on why we were there. To Sharon Day for bringing our native brothers’ and sisters’ voices to the table! Don’t forget to say hi to Jackie for me!
Pauline Park thank you, it’s always good to have your voice in the room! Tony Sarmiento what can I say, let’s make some noise, your brother in the struggle! Mr. Bryan Epps from the moment I reached out to you, you were on board and have remained consistent in the process. Thank you. Let’s have lunch soon!
Mario Tapia we have got to do some more work together, let’s present our own initiative to the City Council and get it funded. Call me! Carmen Vazquez thanks. That’s all I can say, thank you!! Dion Wong you brought a new clarity to the meaning of working in POC communities, I am humbled.
Dr. Rawha Haile, who was scheduled to be at the convening, was unable to attend because her father passed away. I want to take this time to send out special thoughts of comfort, and a blessing to you and your family in celebration of your father’s amazing life!
Cheryl Reese thank you for being that voice in the room! We got your information. Imam Daayiee Abdullah thanks for lending your expertise to this conversation! Tracy Cooper you hit this one out the ballpark! I knew you would! To Edwin L. Walker, Senator Benjamin Cruz, the ASA/LAIN and all the participants I met … WE THANK YOU ALL.
GRIOT Circle is committed to working within and with the systems/committees to develop structure and support for the network. We are also here to help with whatever else we can to move this project forward. As I said during the closing plenary, it was not designed for GRIOT to be in charge of the network, that power is yours, it has to be organic and coming from the members, much like how we run GRIOT Circle. We were the vehicle to bring us all together, now let us all build a network we can all be proud of.
With warm regards,
GRIOT Circle, Inc.
On the final day of the First National Convening on POC/LGBT Aging, hosted by GRIOT Circle in collaboration with AARP at the Brickfield Conference Center, participants tackled the challenges of forming the first national professional network and shaping the mission and vision of the network; Laurens Van Sluytman, PhD facilitated this process.
The morning began with a facilitated discussion about Positive Aging, with a panel led by Bonnie Harrison, MSHC. Panelist Dr. Kyaien O. Conner, from the University of Pittsburg School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry, delivered an excerpt of a highly impressive and comprehensive report that contained startling health disparity statistics on the POC/LGBT communities. Her research findings are a wake-up call to the national policy makers to address these critical and frightening statistics as the nation becomes more elderly.
The Honorable US Senator Benjamin Cruz of Guam, hit home the need for the federal government to recognize marriage and create equality for the LGBT community, specifically for seniors. None of the 1400 benefits enjoyed by heterosexual couples are provided to LGBT couples, which in turn has dire implications on LGBT seniors who have lost their partners and are left with income losses, sometimes as much as 70%.
Trans-elder activist Helena Bushong contributed to the dialogue on health and economic disparities within the Transgender community, and the complications of living with comorbidities, as the lack of research in Transgender communities can prove to be fatal in some cases.
Nancy K. Bereano, retired publisher, gave the keynote address about the value of community and support as we age. She referenced a dear friend, who at 62, was diagnosed with cancer and built a network of friends to support her with the quality of her end of life process. GRIOT Circle has taken those recommendations to heart and will incorporate them into our Buddy-2-Buddy program going forward. This area was the missing link in the codification of this particular program.
This session sparked thought-provoking questions around organizational self-identity, as well as capacity levels available to support the future development of the network. Some of the questions participants presented and attempted to address include: Who will develop a mission and policy statement? Are we going to be volunteer-driven, how is that going to look and how exactly will the committees be formed?
How do we provide funding, technical and organizational support to each other on a national level (i.e. AARP/ ASA relationships)? What would those relationships look like? How do we handle the issue of members’ intellectual property sharing, as well as, broader issues of information sharing, including research findings, programs and services to promote the strength of organizations in the network?
Please revisit our blog for additional reports, outcomes, updates and first-person offerings from participants at the First National POC LGBT National Convening.
Over fifty aging professionals gathered in Washington, D.C. on October 12-13, 2011 for the First National Convening of POC LGBT Aging Professionals hosted at the AARP Brickfield Center.
The idea of organizing a National Convening targeted to POC leaders of organizations and POC elders in the community to create a cross-cultural aging Network to promote LGBT POC aging on a national platform came during the American Society on Aging (ASA) LAIN (LGBT Aging Issues Network) Retreat held 2010 in New Mexico and sponsored by the Arcus Foundation.
From the meeting emerged The POC “Hot Spot” committee of LAIN to help address the gaps and help inform an inclusive practice for future educational efforts of ASA.
This Convening is an occasion for discussion and an opportunity to develop the strategies for building a common vision among LGBT POC professionals, activists and allies committed to aging issues. The Convening has been realized and the work of building a formidable network for aging professionals who serve the POC LGBT community has begun. Here, we share some outtakes from the first day of facilitated discussions and group workshops. Subsequent posts on the GRIOT Blog will record and report on this historic event, and the outcomes.
Photography by SeanDrakes.com
Oct. 11, 2011, Washington, D.C. — Professionals on aging in the people of color LGBT community arrived in the nation’s capital today for the First National POC LGBT Convening on Aging. The two-day convening intends to build a network that strengthens alliances and fosters ongoing collaborations and broader discourse on issues, challenges and policies that effect the elder POC LGBT community. The conference is a collaboration of the American Society on Aging‘s LGBT Aging Issues Network (LAIN) and GRIOT Circle, and is hosted at Brickfield Center with generous support from AARP and funding from The Atlantic Philanthropies.
The networking and opening reception allowed colleagues to meet and greet, some for the first time, and break bread together, before tackling the itinerary of workshops, small group sessions and facilitated panel dialogues on Wednesday and Thursday. The evening closed with attendees screening three short film projects that document the trials and triumphs of some members of the elder POC LGBT community. Michelle Alcedo of Openhouse in San Francisco showed her work-in-progress, GRIOT Circle shared the first installment of its Elders Speak series, and Hope Barrett of Center on Halsted in Chicago showed a portion of their documentary on LGBT elders living with HIV.