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ManDate Health and Wellness Conference Comes to DC

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Thursday Nov 7, 2013

Project Health Living welcomes African-American men who have sex with men (MSM) to their second annual ManDate Health and Wellness Conference, held in Washington, DC, Nov. 8-10. The event will provide a forum for more than 100 MSM to discuss strategies for keeping healthy.

"I Am a Man" is the theme for the conference, which will look at issues such as HIV/AIDS, holistic health, physical fitness, mental health, legal and financial Issues, and faith initiatives, among others.

"The theme 'I Am A Man' is a declarative statement as much as it is an affirmation, and an invitation to re-imagine what it means to be black gay and/or same gender-loving men," said Rev. Macarthur Flournoy, director for Faith Partnerships & Mobilization with the HRC Foundation and media representative for The Mandate Conference.

Conference participants will be welcomed on Friday evening by a reception at the Human Rights Campaign Equality Center followed by a performance of Alan Sharpe's "Aural Sex," a compilation of readings from a number of his short plays.

Saturday morning will feature a keynote address by clinician/researcher David Malebranche, MD, MPH, a noted expert in HIV and behavioral HIV research with black men in the United States. Following this are various workshops and panels on health and wellness, credit management and financial literacy, home ownership and family building options for same-sex couples, including fostering and adoption.

Highlights of Saturday evening’s list of events include sessions on dating and relationships including, "Now What?!: Moving Past the Pain and Living Again" presented by author/counselor Kevin Taylor. Members can also enjoy the workshop, "Put a Ring on It" with Aunsha Hall-Everett and Michael Everett, and an intergenerational dialogue moderated by Venton Jones.

Sunday’s keynote speaker is Rev. Dr. Kenneth Samuel. Sunday’s sessions will cover topics like home ownership, anal sex, fitness, entrepreneurship and financial planning. The conference wraps up with a screening of "You Are Not Alone" followed by a Q&A with Antoine Craigwell.

Sponsors include the DC Department of Health, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration (HAHSTA), the Human Rights Campaign, DC CARE, BMX National, Us Helping Us, People Into Living, Inc., Gilead Sciences, Octane and Whitman Walker Health. Throughout the entire conference, both HIV and STD testing will be provided for all participants at no charge.

"Authenticity, deep listening, decisive action, personal growth: These are the values that we aspire to embrace in hosting Project Healthy Living’s 2nd Annual conference," said Flournoy. "With workshops that cover a plethora of interests, this year’s conference will celebrate our magnanimous strengths and unique gifts while considering our growing edges. We anticipate a dynamic time of reflection, self-discovery, learning and most importantly, time to ignite old friendships and meet those we have not crossed paths with yet in our distinct community"

The ManDate "Health and Wellness" Conference will be held Nov. 8-10 at the Human Rights Campaign Equality Center, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036. Registration for the conference, including meals, is $40 in advance and $50 on-site. For more information, visit

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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