Tuesday, November 26, 2013



GET DOWN Campaign, Maysles Cinema, and Global Network of Black Pride

Invite You To An Evening of Film and Fellowship
In partnership with BE Life Media and Until There's A Cure

and DBGM, Inc.
You Are Not Alone
the film by Antoine Craigwell

Sunday, December 1st, 2013
World Aids Day

5:00pm Meet and Greet Reception
6:00pm Screening
7:30pm - 9:30pm Holiday Fellowship Potluck Mixer


Maysles Cinema
343 Lenox Avenue, Harlem, NY
Between 128th and 129th Streets

$25 GET DOWN/Until There’s A Cure Ticket Includes
Screening, Until There's A Cure fundraising red bracelet, potluck dinner mixer and beverages
$10 Regular Donation Admission
Screening, dinner mixer and beverages



Thursday, November 14, 2013

Many Faces, One Dream: The Conference

As you know, GET DOWN is a supporter of the LGBT Community.  In addition, we often talk about how lower socio-economic status is a barrier, not only to good health care, but oftentimes education as well.  When an opportunity arises to spread the word about economic empowerment in the LGBT Community, especially communities of color, we could not resist sharing with everyone who reads this. Many Faces. One Dream. LGBT Economic Empowerment Tour for Communities of Color will be taking place in New York City on Novmeber 20-21st, 2013.  Because upliftment of a community is the upliftment of the ENTIRE community as a whole.  So, no matter how you GET DOWN, be economically empowered also! And, as always, GET TESTED and KNOW YOUR STATUS.


You've asked for it, and it's finally here! The Many Faces. One Dream. LGBT Economic Empowerment Tour for Communities of Color is pulling up to the Big Apple next week, November 20-21, at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge. In addition to making our way to NYC, we're proud to announce our premiere collaboration with TD Bank, our newest national partner!

"TD Bank is committed to helping LGBT small business owners grow and prosper. Their success is our success. That's why we work hard for all business owners in providing them with the support and features they need to achieve their financial goals. Valuing diversity is not only the right thing to do, but it's critical to achieving our mission to Build the Better Bank. At TD, diversity and inclusion are strategic business priorities. We are proud to work with the National Black Justice Coalition and U.S. Small Business Administration on the Many Faces. One Dream. tour, which is an exciting platform to bring the bank to this group of entrepreneurs in a safe and affirming environment."

Robert Pompey, Senior Vice President, TD Bank



MUST SEE VIDEO: Many Faces. One Dream.
LGBT Economic Empowerment Tour

Space is limited, and you don't want to miss out. 
GO TO:  http://manyfacesonedream.us/event-registration/

WHO:  National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), in partnership with the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

WHAT: New York City Many Faces. One Dream. Tour, a 2-day economic empowerment conference for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people of color. 
WHEN:  Wednesday, November 20 & Thursday, November 21  

WHERE:  New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge
333 Adams Street | Brooklyn, NY

WHY:  Many Faces. One Dream. (MFOD) LGBT Economic Empowerment Tour for Communities of Color seeks to bring focus on the communities' economic power, innovation and creativity in the small business sphere by providing expert training and counseling from industry professionals. Whether you are a potential sponsor, participant, or just an ally in the fight for racial equality and social justice, MFOD is here to encourage and promote entrepreneurial success in LGBT communities of color.

Capacity for the event is limited, so secure your registration today for a deeply-discounted $25.00. For more information, visit http://manyfacesonedream.us/event-registration/

"Small business represents the engine of commercial innovation, employment opportunities, and economic development. As the state of the economy gives birth to a virtual nation of entrepreneurs, we will benefit immensely from a transformative development inclusive of LGBT business owners of color."

Derek T. Dingle, Editor-in-Chief, Black Enterprise
National Partner, Many Faces. One Dream. Tour 

Become a part of the nation's only initiative dedicated to the building of financial wealth within LGBT communities of color. Register TODAY, and tell your friends to do the same!  Use #MFODNYC to spread the news on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Celebrating Ballroom History With Harlem Pride!

On Thursday, June 27th, the GET DOWN Campaign’s No More Stigma Film Series kicked off NY Pride with Global Network of Black Pride at Maysles Cinema, Harlem, NY.  In conjunction with partner organizations GMAD, SWERV Magazine, Harlem Pride, Anti Violence Project and Until There's A Cure, there was a special Harlem Pride and NYC Pride Week screening of the feature documentary film T.V. Transvestite. The film was preceded by the short "The Show Must Go On: The Story Of Snookie Lanore".

The event was hosted by Tamara Williams who plays Danielle from the hit Youtube web series, No Shade and Destiny DuMure Pucci (Nashid Corbin), and Executive member of Gay Men of African Descent Youth Advisory Board.  The feature was preceded by the short film The Show Must Go On: The Story Of Snookie Lanore by director Zachary Kussin, who was in attendance for the post-screening Q&A.  The guests were then treated to a Mini-Ball (three categories) featuring The Paragon House of GianMarco Lorenzi and hosted by Iconic Father Kamari Lorenzi – Miyake Mugler

To see more images, check out our Facebook album here:  https://www.facebook.com/getdownpsa/media_set?set=a.10200135801268706.1073741826.1561001943&type=1

Friday, June 14, 2013

No More Stigma Film Series screens T.V. Transvestite on June 27th!!!

GET DOWN Campaign, Maysles Cinema, and Global Network of Black Pride

Invite You To An Evening of Pushing The Conversation Forward
In partnership with GMAD, SWERV, Harlem Pride, Anti Violence Project and Until There's A Cure



T.V. Transvestite
the first-ever feature ballroom scene documentary film by
Simone di Bagno and Michele Capozzi
Before Paris is Burning, there was T.V. Transvestite.
A rare glimpse into Harlem’s Ballroom Community in 1982.

preceded by
The Show Must Go On: The Story of Snookie Lanore
a documentary short directed by Zachary Kussin

Thursday, June 27th 2013
6:30pm Meet and Greet Reception
7:30pm Screening

Poetry By Sephology The Lyrical Prodigy
In person Q&A with filmmakers immediately following the screening

Post-Screening Mini-Ball featuring The Paragon House of GianMarco Lorenzi
Commentator & Host
Iconic Father Kamari Lorenzi – Miyake Mugler

Private HIV Testing by GMAD available


Maysles Cinema
343 Lenox Avenue, Harlem, NY
Between 128th and 129th Streets

$10 General Admission
$25 GET DOWN/Until There’s A Cure Fundraising Ticket
Includes UTAC Red Bead Bracelet and UTAC and Celebrity Poster

SPACE IS LIMITED. GET ADVANCED TICKETS HEREhttp://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/403827

Special fundraising partnership with Until There’s A Cure®
Get Down is partnered with Until There’s A Cure®.  Until There’s A Cure® is a national organization dedicated to eradicating HIV/AIDS by raising awareness and funds to combat this pandemic. Fueled by concerns about the effects of HIV/AIDS on the lives of their children, two California mothers were inspired to create the non-profit organization Until There’s A Cure® Foundation in 1993.  The Foundation was the first non-profit organization to create and sell a bracelet to raise funds for a cause.

Friday, May 24, 2013

On Safety In The LGBT Community In New York, Glennda Testone's Open Letter

An open letter from Glennda Testone, Executive Director of New York's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center on safety.

May 23 - June 6, 2013

Dear Friends,
As many of you know, the LGBT community has faced a recent string of hate crimes, including the horrific murder of a young man in the West Village and three more possible incidences just this week. We at the Center joined many of you to respond with sadness and outrage this past Monday for a March and Rally Against Hate Violence. Whether you were here in person or in spirit, you were a crucial part of spreading the message that the LGBT community is strong, united and unwilling to accept this senseless hatred and violence.

To help us all feel safer in these troubling times, the New York City Anti-Violence Project will launch the Friday Community Safety Nights initiative, beginning this Friday, May 24. Every Friday night through the end of June, AVP will be doing outreach in neighborhoods affected by anti-LGBTQ violence to raise awareness and provide people with information and safety tips. They will work to bring community members together to talk about what we can do to address and prevent this violence – and you can help! AVP needs dedicated volunteers and concerned community members to join them in bringing the message of safety to the streets.

To join AVP for the first Friday Community Safety Night, please contact Tasha Amezcua at tamezcua@avp.org. Please also know that AVP offers support and assistance via their free and confidential 24-hour bilingual (English/Spanish) hotline at 212.714.1141, where you can speak with a trained counselor and seek support. You can also report violence anonymously online to www.avp.org.

We are sincerely grateful to AVP for all that they do, and to you for being part of what makes our community so special. Stay strong, and don’t hesitate to reach out to the Center if you need help by calling 212.620.7310 or emailing info@gaycenter.org.

Yours in Service,

Glennda Testone

Executive Director
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center

Monday, May 20, 2013

Beach Freak Fests: The New Sexual Tourism Breeding Ground?

With Memorial Day weekend fast approaching in the United States, the flyers start to appear.  Some read “Beach Fest”, “Freak Fest”, and “Urban Paradise”.  They all advertise some kind of Caribbean get away and most of them feature an overtly sexual image of a bikini clad Latina, who is meant to represent the island where the weekend fantasy escape is being held.  Set against a backdrop of pristine blue waters, white sand and upscale resorts, she has a “come hither” look in her eye that promises, for your weekend package of less than $1,000 all inclusive, a non-stop roller coaster of freaky beach fun.  Throw in some urban, rap or Latin music celebrity involvement and a good time will be had by all, right? 
Source:  www.urbanparadise2013.com

In the February 2010 issue of Essence Magazine, writer Keith Murphy blew up the spot with an article “Fools Paradise” which detailed that men, and especially African American men, are traveling to the Dominican Republic for “sexual vacations”.   As a young Dominicana, who grew up in the neighborhoods with some of the very girls and young ladies who are exploiting themselves (and being exploited) for sexual gain of tourists, I thought I take a closer look at the link between prostitution among school aged youth and the “new” sexual tourism these weekends promote and how the two contribute to the spread of HIV and other STDs among the diaspora in the Dominican Republic and neighboring United States.

I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic.  Growing up I would witness a lot of women from my small neighborhood standing outside, into the wee hours of the night.  I grew very curious about why these young women would wore exotic clothes with heels and stood to wait for cars driven by men to pick them up.  I never understood the reason behind this till I asked my mother one day.  I was 11 at the time, still hitting puberty and very curious just about anything.   When I have asked my mother about it, my mother said, “that is the work place for most of those women”.  I didn’t understand why someone would go to work dressed in such manner and have pickups from different men at different times of the night.  I guess at that time I was young to understand prostitution so my mother kept it from me. 

Prostitution has always existed in every corner of the globe, and goes as far back as time itself.  While in many countries, including the United States, prostitution is illegal, in the Dominican Republic, it is legal, as long as a third-party does not benefit (e.g. a pimp, brothels, etc.).  No go betweens.   In some countries, it is usually not viewed as a “serious crime”.  This is seen as a morality issue instead.  Every country has their specific respective view of prostitution and the Dominican Republic is no exception.

Source:  http://dominicanamor.wordpress.com/2011/05/12/dominican-prostitution

 In general, prostitutes are depicted on American television and in Hollywood films in a wide range of ways from drug addicted homeless women lurking in the shadows of urban city streets to high priced escorts who cater to some of the richest men in the world.   Growing up I had no idea the pretty faces with great bodies and provocative clothes were simply doing their job, selling their bodies.  Since I lived in middle class neighborhood prostitution was common for both sex.  More often young girls, more so than young boys, were seen being escorted by “johns” who will go to get a pickup in exchange for money.  Quickly rumors spread about girls my age and especially the ones infected with HIV/AIDS.

My mother offered no help.  Sex was – and still in – a touchy subject in my household.  My parents were very private when it came to this subject.  When I came across my menstrual cycle my mother was the only one who opened the subject but wasn’t entirely open to it either.  I completed elementary grades first through fourth grade in the Dominican Republic.  In my opinion, public education in Dominican Republic is not that great, as compared to United States.  I was attending public school in my neighborhood of Santiago in Dominican Republic, when sex education was introduced to me.  Typically, in DR, when it comes to boys, typically families they never speak about the subject.  Men just grow up with the influence of what is around them in typical neighborhoods.  Parents don’t talk to boys about sex the same way they talk to girls.  Girls are handled in a more protective, strict and prudish fashion.  They are not aware or taught proper sex education.  Most families in Dominican Republic are either Christian, catholic or Jehovah Witness.  Religion and cultural mores play a huge role in how a child is raised and educated about sex.

After leaving the dangerous streets back in my country, we moved to a tiny community of Dominicans in downtown Brooklyn.  Sex education became more clear and respectful to talk about it with my school counselors in public school, where I finished my puberty years.  Now in the United States, I began to see the same pattern - girl friends that would work late hours and miss school because of their alternative way of living.   Now college aged, I am more sexually educated and aware of the sex trade that exploits young girls and women.  Flyers that advertise my favorite artists will appear during Memorial Day Weekend “urban fantasy escapes”, or even during Spring Break vacations, are meant to capture my attention, but I often wonder if the young men, some my peers, who are attracted to the promise of unbridled sex, are thinking about the consequences.  Surely, everyone is not packing condoms in their swim trunks for the nighttime beach bikini affair.  Unfortunately, some of these “urban fantasy escapes” can lead to unwanted HIV, STDs.   Not exactly the music video fantasy advertised on the flyer.

According to statistical data from the Presidential AIDS Council (COPRESIDA), in the Dominican Republic it is estimated that approximately 46,500 people are living with the HIV virus.  Statistical data revealed that 18 % of the AIDS cases reported in the country occur among young people of 15 to 24 years olds.

These are only with the possibility that some may have children infected as well.  The disease has greatly affected the female population, as it has become the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age.  There are currently 23,000 adult women between the ages of 15 and 49 with HIV/AIDS.  COPRESIDA stated in the same article that HIV/AIDS has also greatly affected children in the Dominican Republic.  Estimates indicate that they’re 2,200 children below the age of 15 infected by the disease, and that approximately 58,000 children were either orphans or at risk of becoming orphans because of HIV/AIDS infected parents.   

The especially disturbing news, given the sexual tourism trade that flourishes on the island, is that the main mode of transmission of HIV/AIDS in the Dominican Republic is through heterosexual sex.  According to the article, HIV/AIDS and the Dominican Republic: A look at a Pandemic” (http://dr1.com/articles/hiv.shtml), roughly 1.7% of the Dominican population has been infected with the disease, which translates to an estimated 46,500 people infected in the country.  Of the 46,500 infected with HIV/AIDS, 23,500 are adult men between the ages of 15 and 49.

According to the US National Library of Medicine, the abstract article of “HIV/AIDS and Tourism in the Caribbean” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2791250/), published January 2010, “Studies suggest that tourism areas are epicenters of demographic and social changes linked to HIV risk, such as transactional sex”. It continues that “Despite this, no formative HIV-prevention studies have examined tourism areas as ecologies that heighten HIV vulnerability.” 

While there is still a sexual tourism epidemic, many charities and organizations are collaborating together to stop and limit the spread of HIV (and other STDs) by informing people and creating policies that provide protection.   Some of the local main organizations where you can always find information are the DREAM Project, Outreach 360, Sister Island Project and the Una Vida organization.  Mainly all of these programs share the common mission to spread the awareness of this fast growing epidemic disease that is ending pretty young lives.

Looking at the statistics on HIV/AIDS in the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean can be overwhelming, but it could be said that there is a move towards curbing the rise of the pandemic in the region.  I hope with the help of new volunteers and other organizations we are able to decrease this number of infected people and continue to empower communities with interventional educational programs for the younger crowd who sweeping the streets right now; and also who the highest in risk of being infected.   I hope that other young Dominicans like myself, will stem the cycle of not talking about sex and take time learn more about HIV and other STDs.  We need to collectively talk more openly about sex and break the cycle of silence, for all of our sakes.

Source: www.dr2013.net

I hope that all children born in the Dominican Republic have the opportunity to receive an education and learn to their full potential.  It is my hope that organizational efforts can be multiplied to allow the opportunity for every child and adult sex education be met with support.  We cannot do so unless we break the cycle of poverty and change people’s destinies in alleviating poverty, strengthening education, and enhancing public health.  It is my dream that the world will be a better place for the children and families of the next generation.

We can’t do it alone.  So, before you book that “urban oasis fantasy getaway”, ask yourself, will what happens on vacation, really stay on vacation?  Think about it.

Melissa Rodriguez
GET DOWN Youth Blogger

For HIV information and assistance in the Dominican Republic:

The World Health Organization


United States Peace Corps


Family Health International

For youth and family assistance and empowerment in the Dominican Republic:

The DREAM Project

The Outreach360 Project

The Sister Island Project

Una Vida Project