Our Rhythm, Our Power: Wellness Meeting Focuses on Black Gay Men’s Health
Words by Lorenzo Taylor
The Brothers of the Desert know that “wellness” is much more than just taking care of physical health. For the past four years this local Black gay men’s group has organized a one-day meeting with expert presentations on physical, spiritual, and mental health issues of importance to Black gay men. The theme of this year’s Wellness Summit is “Our Rhythm, Our Power: Living Our Best Black Gay Lives” and it will be held on Saturday, November 12 at the Margaritaville Resort. The day-long event features innovative workshops and panel discussions on a diverse range of topics, such as spirituality, relationships, mental health, aging, trauma of racism, prevention, physical health, Black LGBTQ history, healthy sex, creative expression, financial planning, and more.
The event has grown over the years and attracts participants locally and from around the country. Brothers of the Desert board president Tim Vincent says “We are so proud to bring these dynamic speakers together to share their expertise with our community. There will be opportunities to learn, connect and meet new people while attending the workshops.” Participants will get an opportunity to engage with the twenty featured speakers informally at a pre-Summit reception on Friday evening.
Actor Alton Fitzgerald White, who starred in the Lion King on Broadway, will be the keynote speaker and will set an upbeat tone based on his best-selling book My Pride: Mastering Life’s Daily Performance. Medical topics will be covered by four practicing physicians, Dr. Leo Moore, Dr. Alex del Rosario, Dr. Curly L. Bonds, and Dr. Cliff Wynne and there will be blood pressure checks and an onsite pop-up Monkeypox (MPX) vaccination clinic. But the Summit will go far beyond these physical concerns. A favorite Summit speaker, Bishop Yvette Flunder, will return to electrify attendees with her spirit-filled affirmation of LGBTQ+ lives within the Christian faith. There will also be opportunities to choose workshops that explore how touch, music, and writing can heal the wounded spirit. Black gay novelist Larry Duplechan and other published authors will discuss how expressing life experiences through writing has been transformative and healing. Financial health topics will be covered by Chauncey Thompson of Barton CPA, in response to past participants’ desire to reduce stress around having adequate resources for living and retirement.
DAP Health is once again an official sponsor of the Summit. It will have staff at an information table at the meeting and has partnered with Brothers of the Desert to provide a little taste of the Summit in their Palm Springs Pride pavilion on November 6th. Motivational speaker Dr. Stephan Scoggins and spiritual leader Tony Bradford will do mini-presentations to discuss boosting one’s self-esteem and developing one’s own spiritual practice. Tim Vincent says “We appreciate this opportunity to showcase some of the talented speakers who bring a different life experience to their work and to strengthen our enduring collaboration with DAP Health.”
Attendance at the Summit is free and open to all who have an interest in Black gay men’s health. In addition, some of the Summit speakers are offering special live performances to the community during the weekend. On Friday, November 11 comedic actor Ralph Cole Jr. and soul/folk/reggae singer Nhojj will perform at the Palm Springs Cultural Center and on Sunday, November 13 Alton Fitzgerald White will sing Broadway and Disney songs in a concert at the Palm Springs United Methodist Church. Full details, as well as registration for the Summit and for the community events can be found on their website www.brothersofthedesert.org.