Father tells gay son goodbye 'for the degrading of your lifestyle,' in handwritten letter that goes viral
BY NADEGE GREEN, NGREEN@MIAMIHERALD.COM
But the flap over the sermons of Pastor Jack Hakimian — who preaches homosexuality is a sin and urges homosexuals to “repent” — has prompted an openly gay North Miami city councilman to call a Wednesday town forum.
“I would hope that those who preach intolerance or have thoughts of intolerance would come away with a personal understanding,” said Councilman Scott Galvin. “And I want the GLBT community to know there are religious leaders who do care and love them.”
The GLBT Inclusion Forum — which will address the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities and religious issues — will take place Wednesday evening at Temple Beth Moshe, 2555 NE 121st St.
Beth Moshe Rabbi Jory Lang will attend.
As will the controversial pastor.
Hakimian said Tuesday he will likely join the line of panelists.
“Decent debate and disagreement is good. It’s beautiful. We should want a community where people are disagreeing openly and publicly because if we don’t, the opposite of that is oppression,” said Hakimian, who describes his Impact Miami church as “Evangelical Southern Baptist.”
BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
With Miami-Dade and Broward counties leading the U.S. in new HIV infections, the national Black AIDS Institute has launched a public-private treatment and training network to attempt to control the epidemic in South Florida.
“The South Florida AIDS community is one of the most heavily impacted communities in the country. With the nexus here, the connection between the Caribbean and the black community and the Latino community is a perfect place to do this kind of project,” said Phill Wilson, president and CEO of the Los Angeles-based Black AIDS Institute (pictured above).
There are approximately 125,000 people living with HIV in Florida, according to the state’s health department.
In 2011, Miami-Dade County reported 736 AIDS cases. Broward reported 1,040 new cases.
The black population has been hit disproportionately. Blacks account for 20 percent of Miami-Dade’s population, but make up 52 percent of reported AIDS cases and 44.7 percent of HIV infections reported through December 2008, according to the county health department.
Wilson’s group will invest between $50,000 and $70,000 to train locals in HIV science, community mobilization and sustainability. Since 2010, the institute’s Black Treatment Advocates Network (BTAN) has been implemented in Atlanta, Jackson, Miss., Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston and Los Angeles.
On Tuesday, Wilson and local AIDS activists gathered at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, 6161 NW 22nd Ave. in the heart of Liberty City to announce formation of networks in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
“I watched the young black children as they walked back into their classrooms at the African Cultural Arts Center and I said to myself if we don’t end this epidemic, some of those children will be infected. That’s sad. I’m truly saddened just looking at them and knowing that their lives are in danger,” said Vanessa Mills, executive director of Empower “U,” a not-for-profit peer-based organization for people with HIV and AIDS.
“Stigma in HIV has not gone away. It’s still alive and well and fermenting in Liberty City. It grows every day. When we started Empower “U,” we had such an anonymous name,” said Mills, who is HIV positive. “People would not want to come to the agency if it had anything to do with HIV. Almost 14 years later, people are beginning not to want to come into Empower ‘U’ because it’s known as the HIV agency.”
Charles Martin, executive director of the South Beach AIDS Project, said one in four black gay men in Miami live with HIV and AIDS.
“We as a group of people are not embracing AIDS. We as a group of people are not looking at the red flag right in front of us,” he said. “This fight in HIV and AIDS, we as a community, the black community, we’re actually not doing good in the fight. The reason we’re not doing good is because we haven’t really entered the fight. There comes a time when we as a people, because we are a strong people -- we have endured and we have persevered -- but if we really, really are going to get past this hurdle, this obstacle in our way, then we have to learn to look at HIV and AIDS and realize that this is one of the most pressing issues for the black community and this country today.”
For more information about the Black Treatment Advocates Network in South Florida, contact the South Beach AIDS Project, (305) 535-4733.
For more pictures, click here. All photos by STEVE ROTHAUS / Miami Herald Staff.
August 07, 2012 in AIDS and Health, Bisexual, Business, Current Affairs, Florida, Fort Lauderdale & Broward County, Gay, Lesbian, LGBT, Media, Miami & Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, Politics, Religion, South Florida, Transgender, Weblogs, Wilton Manors, Workplace, Youth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Liza Minnelli mourns Marvin Hamlisch: 'I have lost my first lifelong best friend, and sadly we have lost a splendid, splendid talent'
BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Three years ago, Marvin Hamlisch told me that at age 16 in 1960 he became friendly with a high-school girl who wanted to give her mom an unusual Christmas present -- a demo record to prove she could sing. The two teens went into a studio and recorded four songs.
''I almost died right there,'' Hamlisch recalls, when young Liza Minnelli brought him home to play the demo for Judy Garland.
Four years later, Minnelli performed Hamlisch's musical arrangements during her famous London Palladium concerts with Garland.
Hamlisch died Monday at age 68 and Minnelli now mourns her longtime friend.
"Marvin Hamlisch and I have been best friends since I was 13 years old. He arranged my first album, my second album, the songs for Judy Garland & Liza Minnelli at the London Palladium and just about everything else," Minnelli said in an email to The Miami Herald.
"He was one of the funniest people I knew. I will miss his talent, our laughter & friendship, but mostly I will miss Marvin. My heart is with his wife Terre always.
"I have lost my first lifelong best friend, and sadly we have lost a splendid, splendid talent."
News release from Change.org:
WASHINGTON, DC – The Mitt Romney for President campaign, responding to a 1994 video recently surfaced by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), confirmed over the weekend that Romney still believes gay Americans should be allowed to participate in the Boy Scouts.
Campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said that Romney’s 1994 comments, where he said that the Boy Scouts should welcome members who are gay, “remains Romney’s position today.”
The announcement from Romney’s campaign comes as Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, who became famous after a YouTube video of a pro-equality speech he gave in 2011 went viral, is unveiling a new “Scouts for Equality” web site highlighting broad support for allowing gays to participate in the Boy Scouts among Eagle Scouts, Scout leaders, politicians, and celebrities.
In the video released by GLAAD, Romney, a former national board member of the Boy Scouts of America, said that sexual orientation should not be a factor when it comes to participating in scouting.
"I feel that all people should be allowed to participate in the Boy Scouts, regardless of their sexual orientation,” Romney says in the video, prefacing his support for gays and lesbians by stating his belief “that the Boy Scouts of America does a wonderful service for this country. I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue.”
The Romney campaign’s affirmation of his 1994 position comes after more than 400,000 Americans, including thousands of Scouts and Scout leaders and two Boy Scout national board members, have signed on in support of two Change.org petitions launched by former lesbian den mother Jennifer Tyrrell and Eagle Scout Zach Wahls.
“Scouts for Equality is proud to have Governor Romney's support on this issue amid such a polarized political climate,” said Scouts for Equality founder Zach Wahls. “His leadership is to be commended, and we hope he can set an example of how people with differing religious beliefs can come together to support the Boy Scouts of America's mission to serve our communities and develop tomorrow's leaders, regardless of sexual orientation.”
Wahls founded Scouts for Equality after delivering signatures from former lesbian den leader Jennifer Tyrrell’s petition to a BSA national conference in Orlando in May. Wahls hopes the organization’s new site, which launched today, will help Scouts and Scout leaders continue the conversation that was inspired by Tyrrell’s petition.
“If you visit the new scoutsforequality.org, you’ll see Mitt Romney featured among several prominent Scouts, Scout leaders, politicians, and celebrities who support allowing gays to participate in the Boy Scouts,” said Wahls. “Jennifer Tyrrell’s petition started the conversation. Through our new website, Scouts for Equality will continue to expand on this important dialogue and connect supporters from across the country.”
Wahls’ efforts come after the Boy Scouts of America announced in July that they were reaffirming their policy to ban gay scouts and leaders one day before Jennifer Tyrrell, a gay mother who was ousted as den leader from her 7-year-old son’s Cub Scout pack, delivered more than 300,000 signatures from her Change.org petition.
Tyrrell was also encouraged by Romney’s confirmed commitment, but questioned why President Obama, who is the honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America, hasn’t spoken out on the issue.
“I’m happy to hear that Mitt Romney’s campaign confirmed his support for the participation of my family, and families like mine, in the Boy Scouts of America,” said Tyrrell, who resides in Ohio, one of the critical electoral battlegrounds in the November election. “I think President Obama should also let the public know what he thinks about a cultural institution like the Boy Scouts banning gay Americans.”
Hamlisch was 68.
His other films also included The Sting and Sophie's Choice. He won three Academy Awards, four Emmys and a Tony.
I spoke with Hamlisch three years ago before his appearances at the Adrienne Arsht Center. Click here to read the 2009 interview.
BY JOSH LEDERMAN, ASSOCIATED PRESS
A long-term campaign featuring television, print and web ads was unveiled Monday and will start running in October. The campaign is a joint effort by the Ad Council, a nonprofit that distributes public service announcements, and the Free to Be Foundation, a group that includes entertainers Marlo Thomas, Alan Alda and Mel Brooks.
In one television ad, two girls are seen bullying a schoolmate, mocking her appearance and telling her that nobody likes her. A fourth girl looks on but doesn't intervene.
"Every day, kids witness bullying," says a narrator. "They want to help, but don't know how. Teach your kids how to be more than a bystander."
Online and print ads will warn parents that their kids regularly encounter negative messages such as "you're worthless" and "everybody hates you."
The ads were unveiled Monday at an annual anti-bullying summit hosted by the Department of Education in Washington, where lawmakers, educators and government officials convened to develop a national strategy aimed at ensuring a safe, healthy learning environment for students. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius addressed the summit Monday, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan will deliver a keynote speech on Tuesday.