Los Angeles, Calif. -- The Black Gay Men's Network, a professional network committed to creating soulful, loving connections among Black gay men, will host its seventh annual retreat Thursday, October 1 - Sunday, October 4, 2009 at the Eden Roc Renaissance Beach Resort, in Miami, FL. Under the banner The Stimulus Package, this year's retreat is geared to equip Black gay men with the tools necessary to stimulate their lives and the lives of others, as well as help them build bonds of friendship and expand their social and professional networks.
The four-day event will focus on some of main struggles confronting today's Black gay men, including such themes as Self Discovery, Relationships & Dating, Sexuality, Health & Wellness, Politics, Spirituality and Finances. These issues will be addressed via a series of classes, workshops and Q&A panels conducted by a variety of noted experts in their respective fields.
Additionally, openings for qualified speakers/presenters are still available; contact information for interested persons is provided below.
"We are extremely excited about this year's retreat," says Phill Wilson, Founder and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute. "While this is a great opportunity for social bonding and fellowship, it also provides a unique setting for Black Gay men to collectively address some of the major issues affecting our community, and the greater Black community as a whole."
The Black Gay Men's Network is a product of the Black AIDS Institute, the nations first and only HIV/AIDS policy center dedicated to reducing HIV/AIDS health disparities by mobilizing Black institutions and individuals in efforts to confront the epidemic in their communities. The Stimulus Package retreat is a manifestation of the Networks mission of empowering Black gay men to develop strong alliances, improve their health status and help affect social change.
For more information about the The Stimulus Package retreat, and/or to inquire about participating as a presenter, please contact Charlie Baran at 213-353-2610 or visit thebgmnetwork.com/Home_Page.html.
Breakdown of Retreat Themes
Self Discovery will place Black Gay men on the road to being more effective for themselves and others through self-recognition and introspection.
Relationships & Dating will give brothers perspective and clarity on dealing with their own relationships and dating habits; this will be broken into three sessions: Love, Broken Hearts and Fight or Flight?.
Sexuality will be a free-flowing, lunchtime discussion about sex, open to everyone.
Health & Wellness will give the Black Gay man insight and information about health issues in the Black Gay community.
Spirituality will discuss the following questions: How do I live a full life and reconcile my religion & sexuality? and How do we address the stigma and shame of homosexuality in the Black community?.
Politics will address the questions of Are We Equal? and Is Obama Doing Enough?.
Finances will discuss such topics as Budgeting & Planning, Donations & Volunteering and Succession Planning, among other vital financial issues.
Black Gay Men's Network
The Black Gay Men's Network Mission Statement
The Black Gay Men's Network draws its strength from Black gay men around the world who are committed to creating soulful, loving connections with other Black gay men to transform our society, improve our health status, and make the social change we seek. The Network is a community of successful black gay men who unite their collective expertise, vision and creativity to provide leadership within the Black gay community and society at large. Our goals are ambitious, but attainable, and worthy of our ancestors' sacrifice.
Who are we?
The Black Gay Men's Network is a product of the Black AIDS Institute's Gay Men's Retreat originated by its founder Phill Wilson and other Black gay men close to the Institute who saw the need to build the individual and collective power of Black gay men as resources to ensure the survival of the Black community. The Network is committed to promoting the active participation of self-actualized Black Gay Men in all aspects of community life. To accomplish this, the Network is made up of brothers supporting brothers coming together to create opportunities for career development, social connection, loving relationships, and educational outreach. The Network provides skills-building in leadership development, financial wealth, physical and mental health, and spiritual wellness.
Why we exist?
For many of our brothers, living and thriving as a black gay man can be a challenging endeavor when stigma and discrimination continue to affect our reality. Arguably, the relative invisibility of successful, healthy, black gay men available to young brothers struggling with their identity exacerbates the problems of integration, and visibility that we face. The Network provides professional, social and educational resources to men at various stages of life who are seeking a healthy community, peers and role models for success. The Network offers an environment of acceptance, professional development, social engagement, accessible information and training tools for black men to enhance their lives and enrich their spirits.
How will we accomplish this?
Each man in The Network comes to self-acceptance and empowerment in his own way and in his own time. But each of us is invested in ensuring that the next generation of black gay men has the benefit of our wisdom, experiences and judgment to use for their benefit. The Network creates social, business and educational environments for Black gay men that engender pride and wellness instead of reinforcing clichés of objectification and dysfunction. The Network seeks to bridge relationships between private industry, public and private philanthropy and our black, grassroots, not-for-profit, community-based organizations committed to enhancing our civil rights, social justice, physical, social, and professional well-being. Accordingly, members are expected to add to the synergy of The Network by offering their unique perspectives, personal talents and professional skills in creating our new paradigm: gay black men supporting gay black men.