Friday, October 20th, 2006
This evening, courtesy of MVFHC, I went to the Dayton Branch of the NAACP's annual Freedom Fund Banquet, the 55th year the dinner was held but the first time I'd ever attended.
The event was held downtown at the Convention Center, and so I can't help comparing the NAACP banquet to the Pride Dinner, which was held several years at the Convention Center and was the last dinner-style event I'd attended there.
frowny face
The first comparison is that at Pride Dinners there were several cash bars set up around the periphery, but at the NAACP banquet there are none. Apparently the NAACP membership, made up of lots of African American pastors and their congregations, want attendees to be sober, although when it comes to fundraising, I'm not sure that's necessarily a wise tactic.
smiley face
The food was better than I remember from years past. The menu featured chicken, of course, but instead of being bland institutional chicken it was actually pretty good and was served in combination with pork in a sweet sauce.
frowny face
The NAACP entertainment in general paled in comparison to that of a typical Pride Dinner. Bless the little ACT-SO performers' hearts, but they weren't exactly enthralling. (And a lip-synching drag queen is? Point taken, but again, alcohol helps loosen an audience up).

Corrine Brown as seen from my distant seat
neutral face
People certainly have no qualms about leaving the NAACP dinner early. NAACP Dayton Branch president the Rev. Dr. Robert E. Baines Jr. bragged about there being two tables for members of his congregation, Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, but after his part in the program, a bunch of Macedonians got up and left, obviously not caring to wait to hear the keynote speaker.
smiley face
The NAACP pulls in higher powered politicians. You can count on local Democrats to attend Pride Dinners, but the NAACP banquet gets Republicans too, and not just local ones. Ohio's beloved Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell made a surprise appearance, I guess hoping to shore up what he considers a key constituency, but I was pleased to hear only lukewarm applause for him (Update 10/23: A friend who attended with me disagrees and thinks that most people in attendance probably will vote for Blackwell). And then there was the evening's keynote speaker, Congresswoman Corrine Brown of Florida.

Corrine Brown
in pink
Brown was fun, and though she was politic enough not to mention Blackwell by name, she didn't spare him any punches, exhorting the audience to vote for people not just cause they "bought a ticket to the NAACP barbeque" but instead because of their stand on the issues and their voting records and reminding us that we need to be vigilant to make sure this year's election is a fair one, unlike the 2000 election in Florida, in which 27,000 voters in her district had their ballots tossed out, and the 2004 election in Ohio, for whose handling Blackwell has been so widely praised (not).
I couldn't see Brown so well from my distant seat on the edge, but she stood out since she was pretty in pink, a color I guess she likes to wear other places too. Now Brown is prettier than a drag queen, but, bless her heart, I have to admit the comparison did cross my mind. I looked for a pic of Ms. Demure (of Harper's Bizzaroworld fame) in pink but couldn't find one.
Looking for websites tonight while writing this, I see that people are just plagued by expiring domain names. The Dayton Branch of the NAACP is one of only a few in Ohio listed on the NAACP website as having its own website (the big three, Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati don't have websites), but daytonnaacp.org expired in June this year and was snatched up by a domain name prospector. Ms. Demure used to have a domain name for her show at bazzaroworld.com, but that expired and has been taken over too. Google lists an article about Ms. Demure on queerohio.com, but that just expired this month, though its proprietors may yet reclaim it. How difficult is it to keep track of your domain names, people?
Stupid idea: NAACP is commonly pronounced as N double-A CP. I think it'd be cool if they updated their name to American Association for the Advancement of African Americans, cause then they'd be the quintuple-A.
Tuesday, May 16th, 2006
Today my friend Melissa wore the stylish sandals she chose to highlight her best feature, namely her big toe. If you have a big toe fetish, e-mail me, and I'll put you in touch.
Tuesday, February 14th, 2006
Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

Today was a unusual Valentine's Day for me. It was Predatory Lending Lobbying Day in Columbus. Though I do work on a contract basis for the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center (MVFHC), which through its Predatory Lending Solutions Project helps victims of predatory lending, my job is web design and database development, not fair housing. My boss (and friend) wanted me to come along anyway, and it was certainly an interesting educational experience for me.

All the MVFHC staff plus some of the MVFHC board plus some MVFHC clients went to Columbus along with people from across the state to lobby state representatives to support Senate Bill 185 which would extend the Consumer Sales Protection Act to the mortgage industry and establish a fiduciary responsibility for mortgage brokers to act in the best interests of their clients (the day was organized in part by COHHIO). I got to meet one of

Rep. Dixie Allen
Rep. Dixie Allen's staffers (Rep. Allen, who was out of the office, covers the district in which I used to live),

Rep. John White
Rep. John White (who covers part of Dayton's south suburbs) and Speaker Jon Husted, in whose district I live now.

Allen was already on board to support the bill, but it looks like White and Husted will both support the bill too. Husted was interesting though because he explained that although he supports the bill, that it'll be difficult to get Republican representatives from suburban and especially rural districts to support it since they don't see predatory lending as a problem affecting their constituents.

What was even more interesting for me, though, were brief conversations I got to have with White and Husted about House Bill 515, a bill that would ban gay people from being foster or adoptive parents in Ohio and would also ban heterosexuals whose households included gay members from fostering or adopting. One of the co-sponsors of the bill is

I guess Seaver
hadn't taken enough
English classes yet
at Wright State
to be able
to write his
autobiography himself
Rep. Derrick Seaver, who is a student at Wright State. Apparently Seaver thinks people such as my pastor and his partner shouldn't offer homes to unwanted babies.

I hadn't planned on mentioning HB515 to White, but we actually met with White in Seaver's office, which White pointed out as we were leaving (the office features pictures of Seaver's "as told to" autobiography Kid in the House, which tells how he ran for office at age 17), and I couldn't resist saying that, yes, I knew who Seaver was, a co-sponsor of HB515, which White should oppose, and White actually said that he did oppose that bill, that it was a hate bill. Interesting coming from him since he touts his religious background and many religious people from his background would say this bill wasn't hateful but necessary.


Speaker Husted
Husted I had intended to say something to about the bill since I live in his district and had brought a letter to him about the bill. I stayed behind as people left his office so I could tell him that I hoped he would oppose the bill, and he actually had quite a bit to say about it, including that he wouldn't let the bill even get to committee to be considered and that he thought such bills were divisive and turned focus away from the real issues facing Ohio. Apparently Husted is himself adopted and knows that many kids in Ohio still need homes.

So that was a little encouraging, that there are Republicans willing to oppose such hateful nonsense. Of course I doubt that the proponents of HB515 see the legislature as their only avenue. They'd love to put a gay adoption ban on the ballot to get conservatives to come out to the polls in November and vote Republican. But we'll know by May if they plan to do that since they'll have to get their ballot measure language approved.
 
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