Favorite

Halt, says Hutchinson 

Unhappy with HIV grant for blacks.

For the second year in a row, Rep. Donna Hutchinson, R-Bella Vista, has tried (but failed) to stop a state grant for an organization that disseminates information about HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment to African-American homosexuals.

Hutchinson put a hold on Arkansas Legislative Council Review Committee reviews on $50,000 grants to Brothas and Sistas Inc. in the most recent effort on Feb. 4.

The state Department of Health joined with the Arkansas Minority Health Commission to do outreach to the African American community, and is the grantor of the 2010 grant, made with federal funds. The AMHC was the grantor in 2009, using tobacco lawsuit settlement funds.

In an e-mail to the Times, Hutchinson said Brothas and Sistas was “going beyond the perimeters of their grant and using rather sloppy bookkeeping. … I would ask the same questions if the group wanted to help White Baptist Virgins.” Hutchinson withdrew her request for the grant to be held after representatives from the state Health Department told the review committee it did not have a problem with the grantee.

Hutchinson did not return several requests for an interview by a Times reporter, so it's unknown why she asked to put a hold on the same grant in March 2009, the first year Brothas and Sistas received it and before it had a track record for
Hutchinson to examine.

Idonia Trotter, Minority Health Commission director, said the state agency provided Hutchinson with information on Brothas and Sistas' progress at the end of 2009 as requested, and provided more information, also at the legislator's request, to the commission and the Health Department in January. Trotter said she believed Hutchinson was bothered by the community the grant was to address and how she could justify it to her constituents.

Trotter also said Hutchinson took issue with the fact that Brothas and Sistas showed the film “For the Bible Tells Me So: Homosexuality Versus the Bible” at an event last summer with the gay community. Trotter said the organization's decision to show the film, made in response to requests for a discussion of spirituality and homosexuality, may have been a naive one.
Trotter said she has asked the attorney general's office for an opinion on whether showing the film violated strictures against using state funds for religious activity.

Hutchinson also suggested that the Health Department audit the Minority Health Commission records, Trotter said, something both agencies objected to. “I don't know of any state agency required to do an audit of another state agency,” she said, with the exception of the division of legislative audit. The commission provided Hutchinson with an audit of the HIV programs in November. She said Hutchinson is welcome to review the commission's files and “work through her concerns.”

Kevin Dedner of the Department of Health, who met with Hutchinson, said he believes Hutchinson is now comfortable with the decision to award the grant to Brothas and Sistas.

Trotter said Brothas and Sistas is doing “an amazing job” putting out information about HIV and AIDS in the black gay community, where the disease is on the increase. “What the epidemiology shows is this is exactly the type of community that should be reached out to,” Trotter said, one that has lacked “networks of education and awareness.”

According to the Health Department, nearly half (49 percent) of the new diagnoses of HIV infection in 2009 were in minorities, 42 percent African American and 7 percent Hispanic, though those groups make up only 21 percent of the Arkansas population.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Arkansas Arts Council names artist fellowship winners

    Painters Dustyn John Bork of Batesville, Heidi Carlsen-Rogers of Bella Vista and Steve Spencer of Little Rock have been awarded Individual Artist Fellowships in the visual arts category from the Arkansas Arts Council and will be recognized at a reception 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, at the Historic Arkansas Museum.
    • Sep 21, 2016
  • Crystal Bridges awards first Tyson Prize to Smithsonian archives

    The Tyson Scholars of American Art program, established at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art with a $5 million endowment from the Tyson family and Tyson Foods, has made its first Don Tyson Prize Award, to the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution.
    • Sep 21, 2016
  • Prospect for success looks good for new Chi venture

    It appears the Chi family of restaurateurs has landed a winner with the latest incarnation of its space at 5501 Kavanaugh Blvd., the Prospect Sports Bar.
    • Sep 21, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Arkansas's new anti-gay law forgets history

    It turns back the clock on civil rights.
    • Feb 26, 2015
  • A child left unprotected

    State Rep. Justin Harris and his wife adopted a young girl through the state Department of Human Services. How did she, six months later, end up in the care of a man who sexually abused her?
    • Mar 5, 2015
  • The hart

    It is hard for a straight person, The Observer included, to imagine what it would be like to be born gay — to be shipwrecked here on this space-going clod, where nearly every textbook, novel, film and television show, nearly every blaring screen or billboard or magazine ad, reinforces the idea that "normal" means "heterosexual."
    • Feb 26, 2015

Most Shared

  • George H.W. Bush will vote for Hillary. Or will he?

    Politico reports that Kathleen Harrington Kennedy Townsend says former Republican President George H.W. Bush is voting for Hillary Clinton for president. The article quotes a Bush spokesman as declining to confirm or deny.
  • Who's harming women?

    Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is an Arkansas Republican. Thus, like the governor and the Republican-majority legislature, she intends to do everything she can to deny women comprehensive medical care, particularly abortion.
  • New normal

    No two presidential candidates since polling began have run up negatives as massive as those of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, who yet won their parties' nominations easily. "What gives?" may be the biggest political mystery in history.
  • Additional rape charges filed against Conway doctor

    Special Prosecutor Jason Barrett has added 11 more victims to two others alleging rape by Dr. Robert Rook of Conway.
  • Big Dam Bridge 100 brings big damn complaint about celebrity rider Hincapie

    The Big Dam Bridge 100 is this weekend and one dedicated biker isn't happy about a celebrity rider, admitted doper George Hincapie.

Latest in Arkansas Reporter

Event Calendar

« »

September

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation