Book signings, concerts & Pride

North Carolina News Notes

Charlotte
Book signing on agenda
CHARLOTTE – Author Frances Richter is scheduled to appear at the CBG Business Expo on March 21, where she will autograph copies of her LGBT mystery novel, Friend of the Firm, featuring lesbian homicide defense attorney Sheldon Bailey.

The book is Richter s introductory novel, but the second of the series. Love Valley is due out later this year.

Bailey, an unconventional protagonist, not only has time to solve murders and maintain an active personal life, but has begun to publish a monthly column for LGBT ezines, newspapers, newsletters and magazines under the byline SheldonBailey.com.

For more information, call Renae Elam, Moonfest Publishing, at 704-502-2415 or visit www.francesrichter.com.

Sing it out!
CHARLOTTE – The spring concert of One Voice Chorus will be held on March 14 at 7:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 501 N. Tryon St.

The theme is Within Me, a recognition and celebration of the civil and LGBT rights movements in America in song and spoken word. It is being produced in cooperation with the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network.

A reception will follow the concert. There will be a drawing of a signed and numbered piece by photographer Jon Bidwell.

Tickets are $20 and will benefit the Chorus and RAIN and are available at White Rabbit, 920 Central Ave., Paper Skyscraper, 330 East Blvd. and at www.onevoicechorus.com.

Survey seeks participants
CHARLOTTE – The Task Force on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Inclusion, an initiative of Temple Beth El, is asking its members, as well as those in the Jewish community at large, to join in its survey to determine how to best meet the needs of the congregation.

They want to gather information to better serve the community.

Also, the task force is seeking volunteers who would like to help with the survey, organize a focus group and aid in research.

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The Temple s Chavurah Keshet (Rainbow Friends) has been a safe place for LGBT congregants to gather for lifecycle, holiday and other events for over a decade. It was started by the late Alan Rosenberg who served as an advocate for the Queen City community through his work with the Temple, the Gay and Lesbian Switchboard and others. It has recently sold pastries to benefit social action needs in the community.

To participate, visit www.beth-el.com/GLBT.

For more information, call Rabbi Micah Streiffer at 704-366-1948 or email mstreiffer@beth-el.com.

Triad
Rowan board votes for resolution
SALISBURY More than 100 people turned out to the Feb. 16 evening meeting of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners as elected officials took up the issue of same-sex marriage.

In a standing-room-only board chambers, members of the board voted unanimously to approve a resolution urging the North Carolina General Assembly to pass a state constitutional amendment banning any relationship recognition for same-sex couples.

All board members, including the two Democratic members Raymond Coltrain and Tina Hall, said they were in favor of the resolution only because it urges state legislators to allow citizens to vote on the contentious issue of gay marriage.

The resolution had originally been placed on the board s consent agenda, which falls immediately prior to the public comment period. As the meeting started, the board voted unanimously to remove the resolution from the consent agenda. It was made the first item on the board s regular agenda, immediately following public comment.

Despite having a massive list of citizens desiring to address the board during public comment, County Board Chairman Carl Ford cut off the public comment period after only 18 citizens had spoken. Speakers were evenly split between those against the resolution and those for it.

“Putting the rights of a minority to the vote of the majority defies the very essence of our republic,” EqualityNC board member and Salisbury resident Rod Goins said during the public comment period. “The Founding Fathers set up our constitutional democracy to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority.”

“The citizens of the state have a voice and a right to settle this issue,” said Democratic Commissioner Tina Hall. “I support this and think that giving voters the chance to have a say is important.”

Chairman Carl Ford said that two state senators James Forrester and Jim Jacumin had asked every county commission to draft resolutions in favor of the marriage amendment. “I couldn’t ignore that,” he said.

The board’s resolution will be forwarded to members of the North Carolina General Assembly.

Triangle
Mark your calendars!
RALEIGH – The Triangle Families/Gay Dad s Group Potluck Picnic will be held at Pullen Park at Shelter #1 on June 20 at 1 p.m.

Gay parents, kids, family, friends and allies are invited to attend and bring food to share. The shelter is tucked away at the far end of the pond inside the train tracks. Park rides and concessions will be open. Be sure to toss a Frisbee, ball or other toys in your car to help make the day playful.

If interested, visit The Raleigh Area Gay Parents Meetup Group at:
gayparents.meetup.com/78/calendar/9831360. Sign up, along with what you d like to bring. Note: if you have food limitations, be sure to include that information so others are aware of these concerns.

Western
Prayer week held
HICKORY – The 20th Annual Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS was held from March 1-7.

The observance was a collaborative effort between ALFA, formerly known as AIDS Leadership Foothills-Area Alliance, Inc., and several organizations in the Unifour counties. This national mobilization effort was designed to encourage and mobilize faith-based organizations to get involved locally and across the U.S. and its territories.

Special events such as free HIV testing, prayer breakfasts, town hall meetings, memorial services, seminars, prayer vigils and simple distribution of information took place across the country.

HIV/AIDS continues to devastate African-American communities. While African-Americans represent approximately 13 percent of the U.S. population, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the group accounts for almost half (49 percent) of the nation s AIDS cases. According to State Health Facts (statehealthfacts.org) 2007 Report, North Carolina had a total of 14,915 cumulative HIV/AIDS cases with 9,962 of them being in the African-American community. It also stated that there were 945 new HIV/AIDS cases in North Carolina last year and of that, 657 were African-American.

Schedule:
March 2 Morning Star Baptist Church held a special worship service that included free HIV testing afterwards.

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March 6 Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church in Lenoir held a special worship service that includes free HIV testing prior to the service.

March 8 at 4 p.m., Shiloh AME Zion, 1115 Salisbury Rd., Statesville, will hold a gospel concert.

March 14 at 10 a.m., a health fair will be held at Catawba Elementary School,5415 Hudson Chapel Rd. in Catawba.

These events are open to the public, regardless of race or ethnicity. The public is encouraged to attend.

For more information, call Cecilio Orta at 800-473-1447, email prevention@alfainfo.org or visit ALFA s new website at www.alfainfo.org.

Statewide
Calling all intern wannabes!
RALEIGH Equality NC (ENC) is seeking several summer and fall interns. This is a great opportunity to become involved and gain experience with North Carolina’s statewide LGBT-activist nonprofit.

ENC wants outstanding students who are committed to winning equal rights and justice for LGBT North Carolinians. Interns will gain valuable experience working for a non-profit advocacy organization. Stipends are not available, but ENC will work with university officials to aid in securing course credit.

These are the intern spots that need to be filled: Database; Advocacy; Development; Communications; Conference Planning; Volunteer Management/Outreach; and Transgender Issues.

For a full description of each internship and to learn how to apply, visit equalitync.org.

Task force launched
RALEIGH – The Transgender Policy Task Force of ENC met for the first time during the week of Feb. 23. The task force consists of transgender/gender nonconforming identified individuals and allies from around the state who are interested in advocacy. The group grew out of the Transgender Policy Summit that convened last fall during the weekend of the Equality NC Conference and will work to help ENC better address the needs of the transgender community and engage transgender North Carolinians in its work.

Participants of the policy summit along with Ian Palmquist, executive director of ENC, and Stephen Wiseman, intern, worked to develop the task force.

The essential job of the task force is to serve as a means to advise the executive director, staff and board of ENC on policy issues affecting the transgender community. During the first meeting participants brainstormed on ideas of what they would like the Task Force to accomplish and how best to address the needs of the transgender/gender non-conforming community in North Carolina.

Participants spoke about many issues including the need for greater visibility of the community in advocacy work, how to forge connections with ENC, identifying existing policies within the state that affect the transgender community and building a more unified LGBT movement.

The creation of this task force is an important part of Equality NC s commitment to winning policy victories that meet the needs of the entire LGBT community,” Palmquist said. This is an incredibly talented, savvy group that will help us address the needs of transgender individuals through advocacy and policy and build a state of equality in North Carolina.

The task force will work during the upcoming month to increase participation from trans-identified individuals at the Equality NC Day of Action on March 24. It is increasingly important for legislators to hear from people in their community who identify as transgender and the task force hopes to work to address that need.

Pack it up, it’s camp time!
STATEWIDE The LGBT & Ally Summer Leadership Camp will be held from July 21-26 at Towson University s Glen Complex in Maryland.

The five-day camp experience works to develop stronger undergraduate student leaders and safer, more LGBT-friendly colleges and universities. Participants have the opportunity to learn valuable campus organizing skills, coalition building and strategies for creating change at colleges and universities. Space is limited, so register early. Deadline for Happy Camper rates is April 17.

Enjoy this growth opportunity as you learn how to access premiere faculty and national leaders in social justice, human rights and civil rights advocacy. All this can be achieved in an environment inclusive of identity/expression and sexual orientation.

To register or for more information, visit www.campuspride.org.

info: Announce your community event in NC News Notes, email: editor@q-notes.com.

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Posted by Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at specialassignments@goqnotes.com and 704-531-9988, x205.