Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Happy Birthday Louis Turner

I would like to take a moment to wish a happy birthday to one of my best friends.  Mr. Louis Turner is one of those rare individuals.  He is successful.  He gives back to his community.  He is always there to support his friends in their time of need.  And no matter what, he does it all with a smile on his face. 

He is a man that wears too many hats to try to mention them all, so we will only focus on a few of them.  The two roles I am most impressed by are facilitator of UGIMA (United Gay Informed Men of African-desscent) and member of the Arizona Black AIDS Task Force.

There is only one organization in Phoenix currently serving the African-American LGBT community.  UGIMA is an acronym which stands for United Gay Informed Men of African-descent.  The group was formed in August of 2008 to fill what many considered a void in the Valley.  Speaking as a black gay man living in Arizona I can personally attest to the fact that prior to UGIMA there was no place where African-American same-gender loving men could go to be around men like themselves, to voice their concerns on issues affecting their community, and to  organize collectively to support those events and institutions that support them.  Louis Turner found a meeting space (Mt of Olives Lutheran Church - a place where he served as a board member), and gathered his friends and associates that he thought would be interested, and proceeded with weekly meetings.

The Arizona Black AIDS Task Force is a collection of individuals and organizations working toward reducing the number of African-Americans infected with HIV/AIDS.  When we look at the rate of infections among the black community, Arizona parallels the rest of the country.  Black folks have become the new face of this disease.  Almost half of all new infections are black folks.  The Black AIDS Task force came into being to try and and impact these nunmbers through outreach and education.

Louis' voluntary commitment to these organizations goes above and beyond.  But his community involvement is not limited to just these organizations.  As mentioned before, he has served on the board of directors for his church.  He has worked with HEAL, Arizona One Voice Community Center, and the Southwest Center for HIV/ AIDS.  He does all of these things in addition to his demanding job at the Arizona State Hospital. 

Fifty-two years ago today the world was introduced to a remarkable man.  Happy birthday Louis Turner.  Your friends love you.  Your family loves you.  And I love you.  I hope today is very special for you.  

No comments: