Board Member Spotlight

Spotlight

Activism comes in all shapes and sizes. No matter what our backgrounds or temperaments are, we all have something to contribute to our communities in smallish or large ways. Activism can be a petrifying task, but once a cause enters into our heart it's hard to ignore it. Remember, not all activists are the same. We can all do activism in our own way--the important thing to keep in mind is that we do something. 

This month I wanted to take an opportunity to spotlight one of our board members, Eric Roberts. Eric is presently one of the Co-Chairs of FHHRP. Eric was gracious enough to share with me a little about him and his activist efforts.  

A little About Eric

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"I grew up in East Tennessee on a tobacco farm in the Appalachian Mountains 45 minutes from the best place on Earth, Dolly Parton's Dollywood. I love spending time outdoors more about our world. I have a community garden plot here where I grow a variety of vegetables, herbs, and flowers to share with friends. Cooking is also a huge passion of mine. I love to try new recipes and foods. Nothing beats fresh veggies from the garden. My partner, Kent and I moved to Manhattan in 2015 as he is a graduate student getting his PhD in Ecology from K-State. I'm also very passionate about providing people the tools and support to live their best life. I will also never turn down an opportunity to meet and hang out with anyone. I love meeting new people. I believe that each person has such a great story and I love hearing about them."

What advice do you have for loved ones of the LGBTQ+ community?

 "Recognize that no one understands our experiences better than we [members of the queer community] do." 

Activism is daunting for most people. Why did you decide to become involved with Flint Hills Human Rights Projects? What motivated you to be involved? Was there anything holding you back? If so what gave you the extra ounce of courage?

"When we first moved here we had a bit of a bumpy welcome to Manhattan when a landlord tiptoed around the subject of renting to a gay couple and how it wasn't something they were comfortable with. It definitely put some apprehension into our minds about where we had moved. Then we found out about the work that was going on for the Non-Discrimination ordinance that FHHRP was spearheading. We immediately became members and started attending City Commission meetings in support of the ordinance. I think what finally gave me the courage to want to become further involved was just recognizing there was a need for this organization in this community, and no matter what we end up accomplishing it will matter to someone, somewhere."

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What advice do you have for people in the LGBTQ+ community who desire to be involved but aren't sure how? 

"The best way to become involved if you aren't sure how is to follow what's happening with an organization you'd like to be involved with, and show up to their events and talk to people. This was TERRIFYING for me at first, but it definitely helped with meeting people and growing my network of contacts in Manhattan."

Now what?

For ideas on how to get involved click on this link. We're all in this together. Whether our personalities are fierce or gentle, we have much to offer. Feel free to follow us on Facebook to learn of current news and event in Manhattan, Kansas. 

Ally tip of the day...

Believe that issues related to oppression are everyone’s concern, not just the concern of those who are the targets of oppression.


About the Author

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Sarah Bridges is a board member of FHHRP and an ally of the LGBTQ+ community. Sarah has a degree in Health Science with an emphasis in Public Health. She strives to build inclusiveness in her church and community. She is originally from Arizona but calls Manhattan, Kansas her home. In her spare time she enjoys attending Social Justice book clubs with her husband, painting, researching family science issues or playing with play dough with her strong little girl.

 

LGBT Health Awareness

This past week was the 9th Annual National LGBT Health Awareness Week. The National Coalition for LGBT Health highlighted their purpose of bringing “attention to the devastating cycle of discrimination and health disparities that affects the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Because LGBT people are regularly discriminated against in employment, relationship recognition and insurance coverage, they are most likely to get sick and less likely to afford vital health care than their straight and non-transgender neighbors.”

The National Coalition for LGBT Health’s theme this past week was “Come Out For Health.” The theme was created to encourage people in the LGBT community, policy makers and health care professionals to work together to remove all health disparities negatively impacting LGBT people and to provide better health and well-being for all LGBT people and their families.

Dr. Mathilde Krim

                                  Image from Today.com

In honor of National LGBT Health Awareness Week, I wanted to highlight Dr. Mathilde Krim and her amazing work as an activist and scientist who helped remove the stigma of AIDS. Krim was born in Italy in 1926 and in the 1950’s she moved to the United States working as a virologist and geneticist in leukemia research.

In the 1980’s the term “gay plague” referring to a newer disease at the time bothered her deeply. It made Krim cringe when some of her heterosexual friends would talk about gay people with this disease in very dehumanizing tones. Krim noticed parallels of how people used to talk about the Jews as dirty or evil or that they deserved to die. She did not share her friend’s prejudice and decided to use her credentials to work in the lab to help people with what we now know as AIDS and HIV.

During this time she used her network of celebrities, her husband (entertainment lawyer Arthur B. Krim) and national leaders to support her in her research of AIDS. She became co-founder of AIDS Medication Foundation in 1983 and spear-headed legislative leaders to fund AIDS research along with endorsing safe-sex practices and needle exchange programs.

Krim gathered celebrities like Woody Allen, Elizabeth Taylor and Barbara Streisand to help her cause by hosting a Gala for AIDS research fundraiser. In 2000, Krim was honored by President Clinton with the Presidential Medal of Freedom award.

The HIV-positive head of the New York City Counsel, Corey Johnson honored Krim recently by saying, “She has likely literally saved hundreds of thousands if not millions of lives because of what she did during the initial days and years of the epidemic.”

This past January, Dr. Krim passed away. We are grateful for her dedicated life in serving the LGBT community.

 I hope we as allies can all use our professional circles of influence by bringing awareness to our straight neighbors so that our neighbors of the LGBT community have healthier and happier lives.

Ally Tip of the Day

  •  Understand that people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, or asexual are experts on their own experience and that you have much to learn from them.

    About the Author

  About the Author

Sarah Bridges is a board member of FHHRP and although she is originally from Arizona, she calls Manhattan, Kansas her home. She has a degree in Health Science with an emphasis in Public Health. Sarah strives to build inclusiveness in her church and community. In her spare time she enjoys attending Social Justice book clubs with her husband, painting, hiking, researching family science issues or playing with play dough with her strong little girl.