Category Archives: chapter

Update on NA’s Stop African Homophobia

In a previous blog* the NA has denounced the rampant homophobia
and formed an adhoc committee to follow this. Meanwhile, in the New York Times there has been numerous letters** expanding support for this, and noting some backlash.

All very well, but actions speak louuder than words as the Southern California Chapter of the NA has shown recently. They have invited a gay man from Nigeria to stay and share his experiences with us. His anticipated arrival will be heralded in the noted “Gabfest” series of multimedia events (see http://bwmtsc.org). We anticipate a great attendance and will keep you all posted.

Meanwhile, some history of this issue.

It is a repeating concern that many African countries have an overt or covert attidude towards LGBTQ relationships and rights. in Uganda, the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014 (previously called the “Kill the Gays bill” in the western mainstream media due to death penalty clauses proposed in the original version) was passed by the Parliament of Uganda with life in prison substituted for the death penalty. The bill was signed into law by the President of Uganda, however, the Constitutional Court of Uganda ruled the Act invalid on procedural grounds.

The US has spent more than $700 million to support “gay rights groups and causes” globally. That figure mostly encompasses public health programs that aid a broad range of individuals, including but not limited to L.G.B.T.I. persons.

It has been conjectured that the discriminatory laws adopted in recent years are a reaction to American government pressure. However, since these attitudes existed prior to that, it is unlikely. We wish that all countries assert that people should not be subject to violence or discrimination simply because of who they are. At the same time we must be aware that we should not implement policies that cas harm, directly or indirectly.

It is also true that our interest in this was heightened when American evangelicals like Scott Lively, Rick Warren and Lou Engle preached vitriol against gays, so we must be vigilent in monitoring world wide events and domestic events in LGBTQ atrocities. And the NABWMT should be well equipped to do this based on over 30 years fighting racism and homophobia.
There will always be backlash to activism and we should always be there to counter this.

Sources:
*http://www.nabwmt.org/na-denounces-african-homophobia/

**http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/12/29/opinion/support-for-gay-rights-in-africa.html?ref=topics&_r=0&referer=http://topics.nytimes.com/top/opinion/editorialsandoped/letters/index.html
***https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uganda_Anti-Homosexuality_Act,_2014

Cultural Update from Jeff

(This is a contribution from the BWMTSC Co Chair, an opera buff)
opera

I just want to share a bit about the wonderful music I heard this weekend (even though I have a mountain of papers to grade by Thursday). It started off with an encore presentation of Mozart’s Magic Flute, the Met Live in HD first broadcast 10 years ago. This is the abbreviated English language production by Julie Taymore of Lion King fame. It is fabulous! Mozart’s sublime music and masonic tinged plot is filled out with extravagant puppets, masks, and many other brilliant stage effects. We all loved it!

Then Saturday night I went to a concert at the opera house by the Uruguayan baritone Erwin Schrott. He was backed up by 9 Latin jazz musicians for a selection of Latin American music including tangos, sambas, and others. Schrott was fantastic: a beautiful, sensuous voice and a charming manner with the audience. The back up musicians were all very hot and the whole concert was irresistible. Then the icing on the cake was his special guest, Jose Feliciano! He sang a couple of songs in a strong voice, played incredible guitar riffs, talked charmingly about the past, and closed with Feliz Navidad! The whole concert was a new revelation about Schrott and Latin music and a great memory of an artist we all loved years ago.

Then today I saw the opera Norma again. I had seen the opening night on my birthday and loved it. Today was if anything even better after a few performances to mellow everything. This is one of my favorite operas and I’ve heard many singers essay the very demanding title role. Angela Meade in this production was splendid with a strong, expressive voice that commanded the stage without belting. She was joined by an equally impressive soprano as Adalgisa, a very good tenor as Pollione and bass as Oroveso (both Black by the way, surely a first!). It was bel canto singing of the highest order cascading from the stage in wave after wave as Bellini’s ravishing score unfolded the tragic story. I was speechless with delight by the end and so glad I heard it twice. Good Norma’s are rare because it’s such difficult part emotionally and vocally. It was Callas’s most often performed role; other notable Norma’s were Rosa Ponselle, Joan Sutherland, and Montserrat Caballe. Today Sandra Radvanovsky sings Norma. She and Angela Meade from this production are almost the only two successfully performing this masterpiece. And I heard her twice!

So, cari amici, that was my excellent operaful weekend! Now for those papers….
Jeff Horton

Podcast Friendships-a theme for the new Denver chapter and the NA?

The new Denver chapter founder Robert brought to my attention a good blog (the Mustard Seed) which talked about a great concept that “..friends cultivate creativity, compassion and a sense of belonging. Studies indicate that if you have a best friend at work, you are seven times more likely to thrive in your job. Conversely, a lack of deep lasting friendships has shown negative effects on your health and well-being”.

 

Podcast on lack of Minority Science Students

Podcast on the Lack of Minority Students in Science

science

Few women and minorities are getting STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) degrees, although STEM jobs are multiplying and pay more than many other careers.

This raises the question: Will our future be highly delineated by who does and who doesn’t have a science education (and the resulting higher salary), making for even more entrenched economic inequality by race and gender?