THE LIVING & AFFECTED CORPORATION (LACorp) is a charitable, tax-exempt, 501(c) (3) grass root organization founded in 2008 to promote empowerment and inclusion while decreasing health disparities through education and advocacy in marginalized communities. LACorp will address but is not limited to general, mental health, reproductive justice, homelessness, poverty reduction, and the pursuit of justice and equality among the LGBTQ community, its organizations and allies.
The new Vision Statement reads: “We are the statewide organization that is informed and connected to change the social construct of the community we serve by improving basic human rights.” Developed through strategic development exercises, The Living Affected organization also believes that its Mission Statement of “Transforming communities to holistic health by providing education, prevention and advocacy,” will be vital in its efforts – ultimately culminating in creating a Well-Being Institute that will effectively increase wellness in our lives and community.
The group wishes to intensify its stance that the “human condition” must become paramount with the paradigm of linking or retaining individuals in HIV and AIDS care. The basic human rights framed by the groups “HEFTE” (Housing, Employment, Food, Treatment and Education”) concept has become the unifying element that will be instrumental in the health care continuum.
Today we are the only organization supplying the much needed preventive education and tools to the LGBTQ community. This community goes unnoticed in Arkansas and has the highest HIV infection and death rates.
LACorp presently has 8 staff members located in Pulaski, Sebastian, and Chicot Counties, 5 board members, and approximately 20 regular volunteers.
Our Primary Objectives are to:
• Develop a community coalition to address the growing needs of the community and further the mission of LACorp
• Develop and conduct appropriate educational outreach to not only include HIV prevention and advocacy, but also to encompass the social ills affecting all marginalized or oppressed people.
• To conduct empowering sessions which promote social justice for all.
LACorp believes the HIV/AIDS epidemic is the apex of all other social ills not addressed. HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects members of groups who experience marginalization associated with race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic status, and other sources of prejudice and discrimination. Housing, education, food, treatment and employment (HEFTE) are the fundamental tools to give every unique individual a reason to live (Rzn2Lv). This theme and structure diminishes the barriers to better understand, address, and prevent all health disparities.
HIV Stigma and Discrimination
LACorp examines the effects of stigma and discrimination on the lives of people in the LGBTQ community and its effects on HIV prevention and linkage to care. We search for innovative ways to combat these effects of HIV stigma and discrimination.
LACorp also facilitates, provides space for or host support and advocacy groups designed to address human rights and well being:
- Bridging the Gap is a social support group for vulnerable individuals in the LGBTQ community.
- Strilite is a support group for Black gay men.
- Positive Outlook is an opportunity for individuals who are HIV+ to openly discuss their stories or current events.
- Southern Wow (Southern Women on Women) Is a weekly meeting of women who love women.
- Southern Gender Outlaws is a newly formed support group for people in transition.
- Arkansas Trans Equality Coalition advances equality, justice and inclusiveness for transgender and gender non-conforming Arkansans
Social and Structural Factors
To date, there is very little empirical data on the LGBT communities and individuals in Arkansas. The bulk of prevention efforts have focused on individual risk behavior and are predominately heterosexual oriented although male to male sex is the number one transmission mode. LACorp finds that individual risk is often facilitated or constrained by influences in the social environment, as well as structural factors, such as the availability of prevention tools and information, and laws and policies. Institutional homophobia and racism are the dominating factors counteracting high impact HIV prevention and treatment in Arkansas. The conservative political climate stymies budgets of state agencies with the abilities or wherewithal to provide the needed services.
The need for activism and community mobilization remains critical. Presently, LACorp’s programs are highlighted in current HIV prevention efforts. LACorp’s Reason to Live (Rzn2Lv) campaign provides motivational messaging to counteract the negative-reinforced conditioning of oppression.
LACorp will also serve as a guiding entity to help the LGBTQ community to attain health insurance as provided by the Affordable Care Act.
Our Services Include but are not limited to:
- HIV Community Outreach Worker Training Certification
- Educational and Awareness Material Dissemination
- HIV Testing & Counseling
- Community Building Activities
- Free Condoms & Lube,
- New Media/Internet Outreach
- Youth Program Development
- Safe Mentors
- Advocacy that provides logical solutions for the LGBTQ inclusion and HIV decriminalization
- Speakers Bureau
- The HELP Fair
- Strengthening Gay Arkansas
- HIV Advocacy Conference
- Bridging the Gap
- LGBTQ Peer Leadership Workshop
- Deeper Love
- Omnibus (Publication)
- Holistic Health Arkansas (Publication)
University of Central Arkansas
University of Texas Southwest Medical Center
Philander Smith College
Southern AIDS Coalition
Jefferson Comprehensive Care Systems Inc.
Better Community Developers
The Latino Commission of AIDS
Health for Life Clinic
Arkansas Department of Health
Arkansas Insurance Department
University of Arkansas Little Rock
AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Be the Generation
Sassin & Associates
My Brother’s Keeper
Ms. Levi has demonstrated her passionate expertise on health disparities within marginalized communities with an emphasis on LGBTQ People of Color. A graduate of Langston University and Alpha Kappa Mu Scholar, Levi has been awarded the National Positive Leadership Award by the National Association of People of With AIDS ( NAPWA), The Flamethrower’s Award from the Red Door Foundation, cited as one of the top 20 minority health advocate by the Arkansas Minority Health Commission, authored a sexual health professional development module which was used by the Little Rock School District’s Health Teachers, led the Arkansas HIV Community Advocates Coalition, is the former C0-Chair of the Arkansas HIV Planning Group, authored the 2012 Arkansas Comprehensive HIV Prevention Plan which was the foundation for Arkansas’ Jurisdictional Plan. Diedra spearheaded the founding and organizing of The Living Affected Corporation of which she currently serves as its Chief Executive Officer. During her tenure she has been a noted collaborator and outreach force within the LGBTQ community and its numerous allies, supporters and contributors.
Cornelius Mabin, Jr.
Cornelius Mabin is a native Arkansan. He attended Arkansas State University and Philander Smith College with majors in Broadcasting and Political Science. Mr. Mabin now serves as the Community Co-Chair of the Arkansas HIV Prevention Group, which is a collaborative entity with the Arkansas Department of Health concerning funding distribution and sub-grantee high impact programming. Prior to this post Mabin has been instrumental in over 20 years of social justice advocacy while networking with a cadre of organizations ranging from Planned Parenthood to his board of director tenure of The National Association of Black and White Men Together. Mabin has served as a program manager of the STRILITE program which is designated to address the disproportionate impact of HIV and AIDS among black gay males ages 18-24. This was accomplished using evidenced-based intervention tactics, ongoing reporting and outcomes. In 2013, Mabin added the Dr. Quimosing Leadership Award to his host of other honors and recognitions for his work in the health disparities field.
Tonya Estell – Communications Director, Senior IPA, Peer Specialist & former Board Member
Keith Jones – Outreach Coordinator, IPA, Peer Specialist
Kayron Fortenberry – Development & Administration