Sunday, August 27, 2006

What the hell is wrong with ITLA?

Southern Voice recently published an article about allegations made by In The Life Atlanta (Black Gay Pride Organizing Group)that AIDS Services Organizations in Atlanta should "Be ashamed of themselves," for not giving large amounts of money to the Black Gay Pride celebration. The text of this article appears on the SOVO website.

Below is my response:

August 25, 2006

It’s extremely egocentric for ITLA and Greg Smith to suggest that because AIDS Service organizations (ASO) don’t support there thing that they’re doing nothing about HIV among Black gay men. National AIDS Education and Service for Minorities (NAESM) and AID Atlanta have spent millions of dollars and decades fighting AIDS in Black communities. AID Atlanta dedicates most of it’s, seemingly begrudged, 6 million dollars supporting the life needs of people living with AIDS. Medical care and housing are commodities AID Atlanta spends its money on. These organizations have employed scores of employees with the expressed intention of curbing HIV among Black Gay men. To suggest that because ASOs don’t give money to Black Gay Pride they’re not concerned about Black Gay men is ridiculous and offensive!

Black LGBT people will spend millions with companies that have never spent a dime supporting BGP. Where are ITLA’s allegations against the scores of corporations that have never supported BGP but reap the benefits again and again? If ITLA spent the same amount of time soliciting corporations as they spend trying to tax the scarce resources of other nonprofits they would easily raise there alleged $75,000 budget. Where are ITLA’s admonishments against the hotels and clubs that will pack themselves to capacity thanks to BGP? If ITLA used the same advocacy against the huge companies that rake in the dough and snub their sponsorship requests, as they use against ASOs they might be able to demand support from these companies with the same entitlement with which they demand support from struggling charitable organizations.

While ITLA seems happy with DHRs donation to them, in 2006 though they are the most affected by AIDS, DHR did not give a grant to a single group to support HIV prevention among Black Gay Men within the metro Atlanta area. Maybe some of ITLA’s media advocacy skills should be directed at breaking that story instead of trying to Gestapo NAESM and AID Atlanta into breaking there banks.

I am greatly offended by ITLAs attacks against organizations that have supported the actual lives of many Black Gay men who are living with HIV. ITLA has misdirected the frustration, that comes from scraping together scarce resources, at charity groups while they should be going after some of the huge companies that will once again reap benefits and not write a check to ITLA.

Sincerely Bothered,

Kevin E. Bynes