LGBTQ News, Politics, LGBTQ Rights, Gay News

By Peter Rosenstein - September 14, 2021 3:06 pm

 

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: comingsandgoings@washblade.com.

Congratulations to Gary D. Espinas on his new position as Adjunct Instructor, Security Policy Studies Program teaching “Russia and International Security” in the Security Policy Studies (SPS) Program, Elliott School of International Affairs. Upon accepting the position, he said, “I have a passion for teaching and am thrilled to bring my professional experience working on Russia issues to the students at The George Washington University.”

Gary D. Espinas

Espinas has worked as an Adjunct Instructor of Political Science at the United States Naval Academy and as a Senior Lecturer and Regional Program Lead for Europe Institute for Security Governance, Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Washington, D.C.

Prior to that he worked as a Security Cooperation Expert with Booz Allen Hamilton; with JLO Consulting in D.C.; and as an independent consultant providing subject matter expertise in the areas of national security and military strategy, Russia and the former Soviet Union, and defense and military reform. Additional roles he has held include Regional Director for Russia, Caucasus, and Black Sea Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense; Political-Military Officer for Conventional Arms Control, U.S. Department of State; and Political-Military Officer, Embassy of the United States of America, Moscow.

Espinas received many awards including: Support to the Armed Services of Ukraine Medal (awarded by the Minister of Defense of Ukraine); Legion of Merit (U.S. Army); Excellence in Joint Service Warfare Faculty Award (Naval Postgraduate School); Defense Superior Service Medal (Office of the Secretary of Defense); and Superior Honor Award (Department of State).

Espinas has his bachelor’s in Political Science from University of California Berkeley; his master’s in Security Studies from the U.S. Army War College, and master’s in Regional Studies (Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia), from Harvard University. He is a doctoral candidate in Liberal Studies at Georgetown University.

Congratulations also to Chryssa Zizos on the launch of her new company Live Wire Sports & Entertainment (Live Wire S&E). Zizos said the motivation for starting this new company was representing her wife, former USWNT goalkeeper Briana Scurry, for the past eight years, managing her PR needs and establishing her career as a keynote speaker.

Chryssa Zizos

Zizos founded Live Wire Strategic Communications in 1998 to serve clientele in a rapidly changing communications industry. For more than a decade, Live Wire has been ranked among Washington’s Top 25 PR firms by the Washington Business Journal. Supporting small businesses, nonprofit organizations, elected officials, and Fortune 100 companies alike, her expertise in branding, business development, media outreach, persuasive selling, presentation training, and digital content campaigns has accelerated the success of clients across diverse industries.

Zizos said, “Live Wire S&E was founded because I wanted to work with retired U.S. Women’s National Team players because despite being some of the world’s most decorated athletes, they are often overlooked and underserved. These athletes have remarkable stories to share and we aim to enact positive change both in their lives and the lives of their audiences. The tremendous success we have achieved with Briana has given us the skill set to raise the visibility and truly enhance the careers of all our athletes.”

Zizos earned her undergraduate degree from Eastern Kentucky University, where she studied Journalism and Business; and her master’s in Public Communication with an emphasis in Crisis Communications from American University.

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Texas is our Afghanistan

Thu, 09 Sep 2021 11:17:32 +0000

Texas is our Afghanistan

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And Republican lawmakers are our Taliban

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Texas is our Afghanistan and the Republicans in control of their legislature are our Taliban. They are passing laws controlling the lives of women and allowing their citizens to be randomly armed. They are trying to pass laws repressive to the LGBTQ community and one anti-trans bill only missed passing because it didn’t get a vote in this session before it came to a close. Wait until next year.

The people of Texas have yet to rise up and say “no more.” Their governor, Greg Abbott, says you can’t mandate people to wear a mask to protect themselves, their children and the community at-large from COVID, but it’s just fine to tell a woman the government will now control and tell her what she can do with her body.

According to The Agenda published by the Victory Fund “On September 1st a barrage of legislation (666 pieces in all) went into effect in Texas. Among the new laws is the horrific bill that aims to overturn Roe v. Wade in the state and offers financial incentives for citizens to police their neighbors seeking reproductive healthcare. There’s a new law that allows anyone to carry a gun in public without training or a permit.” Another bill passed by the legislature but not yet signed by the governor, though he has committed to signing it, will make it much more difficult to vote in Texas. The bill is directed at the poor and minorities to keep them from the polls. That is the bill that had Democrats in the legislature leave the state in an unsuccessful effort to keep it from passing.

So like the people of Afghanistan who will have to fight if they want to take back their country from the Taliban, it will be up to Texans themselves to fight to stop this attack on the decent people of their state. In Texas they should do it not with guns but with their vote. Many believe this latest attack on a woman’s right to control her own body may just have gone too far and could be the impetus for people to finally stand up and say ‘enough.’ The only way Democrats can win in Texas, even with the new bill making it more difficult to vote, is if Democrats get people out to vote in huge numbers. Texas Democrats need to follow the lead of Stacey Abrams in Georgia. It isn’t just about money and we saw that in a number of races in 2020. One example was Jamie Harrison’s race in South Carolina against Ms. Lindsay Graham. Yes, those of us who care must help and can invest money, provide data and talent; but we don’t vote in Texas and it is the voters there who will win or lose this fight.

We are seeing with unfortunate clarity what voting means and the repercussions when people in a state don’t vote. Democrats and Democratic leaning independents are a majority in this country and we saw it with the election of President Joe Biden.

The three Supreme Court Justices President Trump was able to get confirmed all refused to stop the Texas anti-abortion law, which in essence strips all the rights women have under Roe v. Wade. Saying you can’t have an abortion after six weeks in most cases means you can’t have an abortion as many women don’t even know they are pregnant by six weeks. Prevaricating by the court majority saying they were not deciding the constitutionality of the bill, simply not enjoining it from going into effect, really means they allowed a clearly unconstitutional bill to go into effect as if Roe v. Wade was no longer the law of the land.

Without Democratic senators from states like Texas we will not be able to pass legislation on a national level to deal with a host of issues from LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, voting rights, climate change, healthcare, and civil rights.

So yes, Texas is our Afghanistan, and there are other states we can say the same thing. The Republican Taliban are taking over other states where treatment of women will become more like Sharia law and where people have a convoluted sense of what is appropriate for government to do. Where it is acceptable to force a woman to bring a child into the world and yet when that child is born they won’t allow it to be protected from illness with a simple vaccination or wearing of a mask.

Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

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Opinion | War, COVID, voting rights, Ida: What’s a gurl to do?

Thu, 02 Sep 2021 10:16:46 +0000

Opinion | War, COVID, voting rights, Ida: What’s a gurl to do?

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Biden doing tremendous job in the face of many challenges

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War, COVID, voting rights, LGBTQ rights, Hurricane Ida — these are only some of the issues facing the Biden administration this week. We live in a troubled world and sometimes it’s hard for those of us not in direct danger from any of these situations to comprehend them or know how to react.

Fires consuming thousands of acres in California and Gov. Gavin Newsom facing a recall. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott putting their residents at greater risk of COVID.

Why anyone would want to be president and deal with all this I don’t know but am glad President Biden is there doing a good job. He faces attacks by Republicans and even his own party and add to that the media attacks each day on everything he does. It must be horrendous to listen to the hours of pontificators on cable news, or as I call it cable entertainment, by people speaking without all the facts.

CNN reports his polls are going down but Americans still agree with President Biden it’s time to end our involvement in Afghanistan. Twenty years is more than enough to know we will never succeed there. The Afghan people will never replicate our democracy. The president is right though we must continue to help with humanitarian aid, and help get Afghans whose lives are threatened, including the Afghan LGBTQ community, out. That doesn’t mean having troops on the ground. That was brought home as we watched the scene at Dover airbase when 13 young heroes’ caskets came home.

At home we must help California and other states fight forest fires and ensure FEMA is on the ground helping those impacted by Hurricane Ida. We must get our children back in school safely; mandate vaccines wherever we can; and mandate mask wearing until enough people are vaccinated to make it unnecessary. Yes, in a country as great and rich as ours we can walk and chew gum at the same time.

I may live in fantasyland but can envision a speech the president will make on Jan. 20, 2022, one year into the Biden/Harris administration. He will say: “I am proud of what we have accomplished in our first year. It has not been easy and we have lost too many American lives. Lost them to COVID and never forget those young heroes who gave their lives in Afghanistan to help us evacuate 120,00 Americans and Afghans in the world’s biggest airlift. We have ended the war in Afghanistan, America’s longest war. Our military is the greatest in the world and never fails to do what we ask of them. Their initial mission was to ensure there would be no more attacks on American soil from groups harbored in Afghanistan and they accomplished that. We will continue to do that today without troops on the ground as we do all over the world.”

He will go on to say, “I am proud we passed the first hard infrastructure bill in decades committing to rebuilding roads, bridges, railroads and other infrastructure across our great nation. We successfully fought the war against COVID and with continued vigilance will keep it in check. We improved our healthcare system, increased opportunities for a free college education, brought millions of children out of poverty and have a booming economy helping all our citizens, not just the wealthy. We have kept the promises the Democratic Party made to you when I asked for your votes. There is so much more to do and if you help me elect a Democratic Congress, the House and the Senate, I commit to you I will spend every waking hour continuing our fight for working people; continue to fight for civil rights and economic justice; for the LGBTQ+ community and for women’s rights; and ensure corporations and the wealthy will pay their fair share as we build a better, cleaner and safer world for all our children.”

I may be a dreamer but I believe this can happen. Each of us can make a difference if we just care enough to try.

Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

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Comings & Goings

Wed, 25 Aug 2021 15:19:09 +0000

Comings & Goings

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Fowlkes named to D.C. Police Complaints Board

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The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: comingsandgoings@washblade.com

Congratulations to Earl D. Fowlkes, Jr. on his appointment to the D.C. Police Complaints Board by Mayor Muriel Bowser. He said, “It is a privilege to serve on this important board particularly during this time in our District. I will work hard and be fair to ensure justice is being served to everyone who walks into the Office of Police Complaints.”

Fowlkes is president and CEO of the Center for Black Equity, Inc. Prior to that, he served for 15 years as the executive director of the DC CARE Consortium and Damien Ministries, organizations that provided services to Persons Living With HIV/AIDS in D.C. Fowlkes has worked on health, political, and LGBTQ issues in many communities for nearly 30 years. He currently serves on the Damien Ministries Board of Directors. He previously served two terms as chair of the DC Commission on Human Rights; chair of the D.C. Mayor’s GLBTQ Advisory Committee; community co-chair of the D.C. HIV Prevention Community Planning Group; and a member of the D.C. Commission on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday.

Fowlkes is committed to a progressive political agenda for the Black and LGBTQ communities, and currently serves as the Democratic National Committee LGBT Caucus Chair and on the DNC Executive Committee. He has received numerous honors and awards for his community service and was named one of three 2013 grand marshals of the Heritage of Pride (NYC Gay Pride) along with Harry Belafonte and Edith Windsor.

He earned hisbachelor’s degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Kristine Kippins

Congratulations also to Kristine Kippins on her new position as Deputy Legal Director for Policy with Lambda Legal. She said, “I am a fierce supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and have dedicated my life to the collective liberation of marginalized people in this country. Joining the nation’s oldest and largest legal organization advancing the civil rights of LGBTQ people and everyone living with HIV and being part of a large team of more than 30 lawyers and paraprofessionals to help guide its public policy work is a dream come true.”

Prior to this, Kippins was director of policy for the Constitutional Accountability Center, where she helped make more real the promises of the Constitution. Before that she served as a federal policy counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights. She has also worked for the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) and Lowndes, Drosdick, –>


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