Utilizing Partnerships to Build and Sustain the Movement – Reporting From Arkansas


 
 
By Gustavo Torrez
Program Manager
Little Rock, Arkansas 

Greetings from Little Rock Arkansas, where we are conducting another Cultural Competency training focused on assisting programs in developing effective strategies to reach and serve LGBT communities.

As many of you know, one of the Network’s most requested trainings is our Cultural Competency training, “Skills Building to Reach and Serve LGBT Disparity Populations”. Whenever we give a training, we try to identify local LGBT individuals, programs and services to assist us and provide both a local perspective on the LGBT Climate in that state or region, but also a local community link for participants to reach out to. This got us thinking about ways that we could continue to utilize our national partnerships to build and sustain the movements established when we travel, as well as conduct trainings and technical assistance. So, we are pleased to announce our formalized policy around trainings and technical assistance which utilizes our national partners and establishes solid community access points when we conduct trainings. So now, anytime we are requested to do trainings we will reach out directly to our partners at both CenterLink and Equality Federation to establish local community access points to integrate into the training. Although we have been doing this to some extent independently, actually formalizing the process of working with our partners will ensure that we are providing trusted LGBT based resources and information to participants. Each groups membership base provides unique perspective in working with the community and will strengthen our partnerships and ensure more local LGBT resources are shared during the presentation. Here in Arkansas we put our new policy to work with Kat Krisp, of  the Center for Artistic Revolution, which is a member of Equality Federation. I met with Kat and toured their facility to gain a better understanding of the resources they provided locally and we together we finalized our game plan for the training. Kat joined us all day yesterday for the training, and was an amazing resource on Arkansas LGBT issues and perspective.

I could not have asked for a better training yesterday and was so pleased to have been invited to Arkansas. There is a lot of support for LGBT inclusion in Arkansas, and I am proud of the movement starting there. As a state in the Bible belt, they expressed some unique challenges, but the individuals in the room want to make a difference for their community as a whole and the sense of enthusiasm for LGBT inclusion into all of their work was magical. I want to thank The Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, which is MSA established agency to provide administrative oversight and program direction for the portion of the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services Tobacco Prevention and Cessation fund designed to target Arkansas’ minority population, for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing movement in Arkansas. Their leadership is is outstanding, and I feel there will be some more great changes for inclusion of LGBT communities in the future.

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