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Jeffry King, LGBT | POV: Be in Outrage Young Black Men!

Be in Outrage Young Black Men!
by guest blogger Jeffry King, October 29, 2011

Jeffrey King is Executive Director of In The Meantime Men

The fight continues. It’s 2011 and HIV/AIDS continues to devastate the lives of those already overburdened with racism, poverty and the overpopulation of institutionalized slave camps called prisons. The real issues facing Black men continue to be ignored by too many—even by those who have received millions of dollars to facilitate HIV prevention, treatment and care on our behalf.

The most recent mantra that claims HIV prevention efforts have failed is nothing less than a stinging slap in the face of community-based organizations who—in earnest—have reached out and provided spaces for healing to a community living in fear, shame and silence. Some would say invisible. Wow. Really?

Be in Outrage to face the reality that while the rates of HIV among other young gay men have leveled off, that the rates of HIV continue to rise among young Black gay men—and we haven’t seen the worst yet.

Be in Outrage to know that our very own Black community would rather talk about HIV in general terms rather than to acknowledge the horrible truth that our fathers and sons are disproportionately infected with HIV and physiologically traumatized by the brutal acts of hatred perpetrated by our very own self-appointed spokesmen of God as they teach our people to hate—or at most tolerate—Black men who have sex with men.

Be in Outrage to experience and witness the painful disenfranchisement of young Black gay men who dare to come out to their families and support networks.

Be in Outrage that people who look like us often misspeak on our behalf when talking to the White House or local HIV planning bodies as they advocate the medicalization of HIV over prevention.

Be in Outrage that both local and federal governments have yet to prioritize HIV and fully fund efforts on our behalf.

Be in Outrage that other issues within the broader LGBT community continue to trump HIV activism.

Now, Young Brothers, stand up and build a better life for yourself—knowing that it will not be easy. Know that you are fighting for your life in a cold cruel world that would rather see you dependent and powerless rather than strong and self-sufficient.

You have but one choice and that is to live. There are those who will help you. You have but to seek. You have but to ask. Demand your right to live free of fear, shame and silence. Claim your ability to stand on your own. And never, ever, give up.

Jeffrey Carlton King is the founder and executive director of In The Meantime, Inc., a 12 year old, Los Angeles 501© (3) community based organization dedicated to the mental physical and spiritual wellbeing of Black gay, same gender loving and bi-sexual men in Los Angeles County. He has been a resident of Los Angeles since 1969.  He is a nationally respected HIV/AIDS interventionist and Community based researcher working closely with the State of California and the Federal government/ Centers for Disease Control. Jeffrey initiated the Los Angeles county African American gay men’s taskforce that greatly influenced the current Los Angeles County prevention plan. He has chaired numerous Federal, State, and County taskforces on HIV/AIDS working closely with the State office of AIDS and the Los Angeles County Prevention Commission. Jeffrey is a community activist and mobilizer. He initiated the Black LGBT Network, a wrap around group that engages and mobilizes member of the Black LGBT community, allies and supporter around pressing social justice issues. Currently, Jeffrey is producing a national black and white photo exhibit entitled the, ‘I AM’ Project that is dedicated to elevating the faces and voices of the Black LGBT community.   In April 2010, Jeffrey King was profiled by KTLA News Channel 5 as a “Starter Bros, Hero at Home”, for his work in the Los Angeles community and ongoing humanitarian efforts.


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