Pet of the week • Ramona

Ramona is a 4-month-old, white/black domestic long-haired kitten. She is the last of her litter waiting to find a family to call her own. She is extremely sweet and loves to crawl up on your shoulder and meow in your ear. Please come and meet Ramona at Operation Kindness.
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Many other great dogs and cats are available for adoption from Operation Kindness, located at 3201 Earhart Drive, 1 street south of Keller Springs and 2 blocks west of Midway Road, in Carrollton. The no-kill shelter is open 6 days a week: Monday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Tuesday; Wednesday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday, noon to 8 p.m.; Friday, noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The cost is $110 for cats, $135 for kittens, $150 dogs over 1 year, and $175 for puppies. The adoption cost includes the spay/neuter surgery, microchipping, vaccinations, heartworm test for dogs, leukemia and FIV test for cats, and more. Those who adopt two pets at the same time receive a $20 discount. For more information, call 972-418-PAWS, or visit OperationKindness.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 2, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

LOCAL BRIEFS: AIN poker tourney at the Brick; Bates set for Dallas Black Pride

AIN poker tourney set at the Brick

A charity poker tournament is set for Saturday, Aug. 27, at the Brick, 2525 Wycliff, to benefit AIDS Interfaith Network.

The Dallas Bears and the LGBT poker league Pocket Rockets will co-host the event with the Brick. Miller Lite is the sponsor and play begins at 3 p.m.

It’s free to play but AIN will benefit in a number of ways. The agency will receive a portion of the drink specials sold. Players may buy additional chips, and the Bears will hold a 50/50 raffle.

A cash prize pool of $500 will be awarded and all levels of players are welcome.

Bates set for Dallas Black Pride

Christopher H. Bates will speak at the Dallas Black LGBT Community Summit on Friday, Sept. 30 at the Dallas Marriott City Center Hotel. He is the director of Health and Human Service’s Office of HIV/AIDS Policy.

Bates will discuss the federal government’s response to the high infection rate among young gay African-American men. He has 20 years experience in public health policy and has been with OHAP for more than a decade.

Bates administers funds for the Minority AIDS Initiative and advises the Undersecretary of Health on education, prevention, testing, research, care and treatment strategies. Information is available at DFWPrideMovement.org.

Martin offers program for couples

Randy Martin, LPC, will facilitate an eight-session program for couples, Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. throughout September and October.

The program is based on the theory and practice of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT). The first session focuses on the new science of love and what it teaches us. The next seven sessions focus on helping couples shape and use the seven conversations laid out in the book Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson, the developer of EFT.

Couples interested in participating should contact Martin at 214-520-7575. The cost of the program is $500 per couple and includes a copy of the book Hold Me Tight and other necessary materials.

NGPA seeks donations

The National Gay Pilots Association recently awarded $22,000 in scholarships and is seeking donations for future awards to aspiring LGBT aviators.

Since its founding in 1998, the NGPA Education Fund has given 46 awards totaling $139,000. Donations can be made on the group’s website, NGPA.org.

—  John Wright

PET OF THE WEEK: Abbey

Abbey is a pretty 2 ½-year-old German Shepherd/Lab mix who was rescued from a city shelter and taken to Camp Wolfgang, a sanctuary for dogs. Unfortunately, Camp Wolfgang was closed down when the owner and founder died. All the remaining dogs had to be relocated. Abbey shared a run with another dog who has now been adopted, so we know that she gets along with other dogs. Abbey has had a hard life, and she is looking to meet a family to call her own.

Many other great dogs and cats are available for adoption from Operation Kindness, located at 3201 Earhart Drive, one street south of Keller Springs and 2 blocks west of Midway Road, in Carrollton. The no-kill shelter is open 6 days a week: Monday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Tuesday; Wednesday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday, noon to 8 p.m.; Friday, noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The cost is $110 for cats, $135 for kittens, $150 dogs over 1 year, and $175 for puppies. The adoption cost includes the spay/neuter surgery, microchipping, vaccinations, heartworm test for dogs, leukemia and FIV test for cats, and more. Those who adopt two pets at the same time receive a $20 discount. For more information, call 972-418-PAWS, or visit www.operationkindness.org.

—  John Wright

PET OF THE WEEK: Maggie

Maggie is a pretty, 10-month-old black/tan shepherd mix that was adopted as a puppy but returned because she was not a good fit for the family. She likes other dogs and adores people. She also has a lot of energy that she would love to share with an active family.

Many other great dogs and cats are available for adoption from Operation Kindness, located at 3201 Earhart Drive, 1 street south of Keller Springs and 2 blocks west of Midway Road, in Carrollton. The no-kill shelter is open 6 days a week: Monday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Tuesday; Wednesday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday, noon to 8 p.m.; Friday, noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The cost is $110 for cats, $135 for kittens, $150 dogs over 1 year, and $175 for puppies. The adoption cost includes the spay/neuter surgery, microchipping, vaccinations, heartworm test for dogs, leukemia and FIV test for cats, and more. Those who adopt two pets at the same time receive a $20 discount. For more information, call 972-418-PAWS, or visit www.operationkindness.org.

—  John Wright

PET OF THE WEEK: Dafney

Dafney is an 8-year-old border collie mix who was rescued from a hoarder and brought to Operation Kindness. Like most Border Collies she is very smart and curious and learns things quickly. She is a bit shy at first but once she gets to know you she is very friendly and fun. She is very playful and energetic.

Many other great dogs and cats are available for adoption from Operation Kindness, located at 3201 Earhart Drive, 1 street south of Keller Springs and 2 blocks west of Midway Road, in Carrollton. The no-kill shelter is open 6 days a week: Monday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Tuesday; Wednesday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday, noon to 8 p.m.; Friday, noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The cost is $110 for cats, $135 for kittens, $150 dogs over 1 year, and $175 for puppies. The adoption cost includes the spay/neuter surgery, microchipping, vaccinations, heartworm test for dogs, leukemia and FIV test for cats, and more. Those who adopt two pets at the same time receive a $20 discount. For more information, call 972-418-PAWS, or visit www.operationkindness.org.

—  John Wright

Pet of the Week: Lulu

Lulu is a beautiful domestic long hair white cat that weighs only 8 pounds. She is friendly and gets along with everyone. She loves playing with her toys and will make someone a great companion. Please come to Operation Kindness and visit with this sweet girl.

Many other great dogs and cats are available for adoption from Operation Kindness, located at 3201 Earhart Drive, 1 street south of Keller Springs and 2 blocks west of Midway Road, in Carrollton. The no-kill shelter is open 6 days a week: Monday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Tuesday; Wednesday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday, noon to 8 p.m.; Friday, noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The cost is $110 for cats, $135 for kittens, $150 dogs over 1 year, and $175 for puppies. The adoption cost includes the spay/neuter surgery, microchipping, vaccinations, heartworm test for dogs, leukemia and FIV test for cats, and more. Those who adopt two pets at the same time receive a $20 discount. For more information, call 972-418-PAWS, or visit www.operationkindness.org.

—  John Wright

Pet of the Week: Church

Church

Church is a 1 ½-year-old blue domestic medium hair with a fun-loving personality. He is intelligent and obedient. Enjoys chasing rope and playing with toys. His fur is extremely soft and he likes to be brushed. When not playing, he likes to curl up and watch his surroundings or stretch out on his back for a nap. He enjoys having his chin, cheeks, ears, nose and belly rubbed. He is a very loving cat searching for his forever home.

Many other great dogs and cats are available for adoption from Operation Kindness, located at 3201 Earhart Drive, 1 street south of Keller Springs and 2 blocks west of Midway Road, in Carrollton. The no-kill shelter is open 6 days a week: Monday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Tuesday; Wednesday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday, noon to 8 p.m.; Friday, noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The cost is $110 for cats, $135 for kittens, $150 dogs over 1 year, and $175 for puppies. The adoption cost includes the spay/neuter surgery, microchipping, vaccinations, heartworm test for dogs, leukemia and FIV test for cats, and more. Those who adopt two pets at the same time receive a $20 discount. For more information, call 972-418-PAWS, or visit Operationkindness.org

—  John Wright

Pet of the Week: Nina

Nina was timid and did not want to interact with Operation Kindness staff or volunteers when she was first transferred to our shelter. With enough patience from everyone, she has started to trust humans. She is comfortable around other dogs and has recently started to walk well on a leash. Nina is a 4-month-old Manchester terrier mix that will be 25 to 35 pounds fully grown.

Many other great dogs and cats are available for adoption from Operation Kindness, located at 3201 Earhart Drive, 1 street south of Keller Springs and 2 blocks west of Midway Road, in Carrollton. The no-kill shelter is open 6 days a week: Monday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Tuesday; Wednesday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday, noon to 8 p.m.; Friday, noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The cost is $110 for cats, $135 for kittens, $150 dogs over 1 year, and $175 for puppies. The adoption cost includes the spay/neuter surgery, microchipping, vaccinations, heartworm test for dogs, leukemia and FIV test for cats, and more. Those who adopt two pets at the same time receive a $20 discount. For more information, call 972-418-PAWS, or visit www.operationkindness.org.

—  John Wright

Guest column by NBJC’s Sharon Lettman: ‘Department of Defense, I am Waiting to Receive My Survey’

Named Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition last year, Sharon Lettman-Hicks, is an ally who comes to NBJC after eight years at the People For the American Way (PFAW) Foundation. She has been battling discrimination against LGBTs and bringing allies into the fold by leading the Homophobia in the Black Church program at PFAW through its African American Religious Affairs division.

She recently contacted me to say she was taking a personal step to fight for repeal of DADT by sharing her personal story to relay how it matters that gays and lesbians serving in silence are denied what she and her husband have as a military family.

Department of Defense, I am Waiting to Receive My Survey



by Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks

Executive Director, NBJC

My husband is a proud member of the United States Air Force. A military career man. While he was stationed in Iraq, the moral support that helped him survive came through our letters, our calls, our communications, our connection. He had something magical to hold onto as he moved through every moment unsure that he would live to see the next. Without our mutual support of one another, the daily uncertainty about his safety and well being would have been more debilitating than any human should have to endure. In all of America’s wars, men and women have relied upon partners back home to keep their spirits up, to keep their sanity intact, to remind them that they are loved dearly, and to inspire them to conquer the inconceivable.

But what if I were a man and we were a gay couple? How could I then reach out across the miles to offer comfort and support? He would have to conceal our correspondence for fear of being outed and then fired. Sometimes we’d be forced to forego speaking to one another for his own security.

This is the reality of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), a U.S. military policy that bars openly gay men and women from serving in the armed forces. The thought of not being able to talk to my husband–or for him not to be able to communicate with me because of an unjust military law–is unconscionable. Brave men and women who are gay and lesbian are being pressured to suppress their identity and to compromise their personal integrity under DADT. They are barred from discussing their family life and their partners.

They are required to lie about who they are everyday in order to protect and serve their country, and this act would take a tremendous toll on anyone. Adding insult to injury, the Department of Defense (DOD) has issued an offensive survey to spouses of servicemembers to determine the impact on our desire to be in social settings with gay men and lesbians serving openly, i.e., honestly, in the military. Personally, I don’t see what all of the excitement and concern is about. I can’t wait to welcome my gay and lesbian servicemembers and their spouses over for dinner.

Seriously, we are all concerned about the mental health of our servicemembers. Too many have returned with post-traumatic stress disorder or worse, resorting to suicide as a means of coping. But what about the traumas that are being inflicted by our own government against people who have boldly chosen to defend this country? For gay and lesbian servicemembers, there is the added stress and psychological damage from living a lie, serving in fear that they will be discovered, outed, and then fired for who they are. And if they tell the truth, there is hell to pay–loss of employment, benefits, career, status, and possibly something even more injurious, loss of faith in America.

More below the fold.

So where is the humanity in DADT? My husband hung on my every word, spent hours in the internet cafe connecting with me, looked at my photo as much as possible just to get through each day. What if I were a man? He would have been forced to duck into corners to talk to me and to sometimes forego any form of communication to protect his job. Isn’t it enough to endure the stress of war? Should our servicemembers also have to endure the stress of government-sanctioned identity suppression?

When the military integrated to include women, they figured out how to accommodate bathrooms for men and women. When the military integrated to include Blacks, they figured out how to house everyone together. Surely, the Department of Defense can find a way to support the integrity of men and women who have already enrolled in the armed forces without sending out offensive surveys.

We worry about terrorists and meanwhile some of us think it’s appropriate to require those who defend this country to suppress and lie about who they really are.

How dare any of us rob our active duty brothers and sisters of mental and emotional support from family, loved ones and spouses, be they gay or straight.

This is about love, integrity, self-respect, self-worth and most importantly, this is about family and support.

As a military spouse, I stand with every servicemember and their loved ones, especially my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, who are putting their lives on the line just like my husband has done for 25 years of active duty.

As the Executive Director and CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition, an organization dedicated to eliminating racism and homophobia in America, I affirm the just cause of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I want to thank all gay and lesbian servicemembers for their fortitude and patriotism. Thank you for remaining faithful to America and the promises of the United States Constitution, despite your lack of freedom to serve openly and honestly.

Secretary Gates, put that on my survey!

Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks is the executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), which is a national civil rights organization dedicated to empowering black LGBT people. NBJC’s mission is to eradicate racism and homophobia. For more information about NBJC, visit www.nbjc.org.

There will be a gathering of black LGBT leaders on the Hill September 15-18 during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 40th Annual Legislative Conference – More information, click the image below (PDF):


Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Rachel Maddow to receive Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award

Kudos to Rachel! News legend Walter Cronkite, who passed away at 92 in July 2009, would be proud of this recipient of the award in his name. Rachel Maddow joins the company of Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, Larry King, and Bill and Judith Moyers.

The Interfaith Alliance announced Monday that it would award its 2010 Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom award to the MSNBC anchor in honor of her work covering religion and politics. Maddow will receive the award alongside Chautaqua Institution Department of Religion Director Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell.

The award, which will be presented at a gala dinner in New York in October, “recognizes individuals who courageously promote democratic values, defend religious freedom and reinvigorate informed civic participation,” according to the announcement.

Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy: “Rachel’s passionate coverage of the intersection of religion and politics exhibits a strong personal intellect coupled with constitutional sensitivity to the proper boundaries between religion and government.”

***

I was always a big fan of Walter Cronkite. I would ask my mom if we could have Walter Cronkite over for dinner because I wanted to ask him about the news. She said that was the only person on TV that I ever asked that about. That never came to pass, of course, but I watched him cover the news of the day with rapt attention.

And there’s probably some little girl out there watching Rachel Maddow each night, dreaming the same dream about having her over to dinner to discuss politics.

Related:

* Missing dinner with Walter Cronkite
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright