Allow me to introduce myself…
L. Michael Gipson
An award-winning writer, public health and youth advocate, L. Michael Gipson has worked on HIV/AIDS, youth and community development programming on the local, state and national level for 20 years. Throughout those years, Michael has conducted research and written articles, fact sheets, and issue briefs for local and national non-profits such as Advocates for Youth, the National Youth Advocacy Coalition and The AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland (ATGC). At national non-profits, Michael designed and facilitated over 100 public health skills building and community mobilization trainings for over 60 state and local health departments, education agencies, and grassroots community based organizations. While in Cleveland, Michael co-founded the Beyond Identities Community Center, a multi-focused youth drop-in center that has served the developmental, social service, and sexual health education needs of over 1500 minority and sexual minority youth since 2004. Using his grassroots and national experience, Michael went to work for the DC Department of Health HIV/AIDS Administration as a senior administrator where he developed a multi-year strategic plan to reduce HIV among District youth by 30% over three-years.
Mr. Gipson’s most recent venture is Faithwalk Enterprises, LLC. Faithwalk is a training, writing, curriculum and organizational development firm. Through Faithwalk, Michael and his team has instituted research projects resulting in two Faithwalk generated manuals for clients, including Transitioning HIV Positive Youth Into Adult Care and HIV/AIDS: What You and Your Community Can Do (A Guide to Building HIV/AIDS Services), the latter developed for the federal Office of HIV/AIDS Policy. Faithwalk clients have included the Altarum Institute, PennGood & Assoc., Black AIDS Institute, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Children’s National Medical Center, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and the Dr. Lonnie E. Mitchell Behavioral Academy.
As an author, his short stories, speeches, public health and socio-political essays have also been published in three recent anthologies: Poverty & Race in America: The Emerging Agendas (Lexington Books), Health Issues Confronting Minority Men Who Have Sex with Men (Springer) and Mighty Real: Anthological Works By African American SGLBT People. Two future anthologies will also boast his personal narrative essay contributions, including Keith Boykin’s For Colored Boys and Kevin Harewood’s From Us To You With Love: Black Men Writing About The Black Women They Love. His own debut short-story collection, Collisions: a Collection of Intersections is set to be published by Red Dirt Publishing in 2014.
As an essayist and cultural critic, his work has appeared in Clik, Pulse, Arise, Pride, Amplify, Swerve, Urban Dialect, Port of Harlem, Gay People’s Chronicle, Lambda Literary, and Creative Loafing Atlanta. He is the Music Editor of http://www.SoulTracks.com and was the Soul Sessions Blog Leader at BET/Centric. He has written album liner notes and artists bios for E1 Entertainment, Kedar Entertainment, Soulspazm Records, Big Break Records, and Purpose Music Group, among others. Michael has also managed the Baltimore-based soul act, Marcell & The Truth, and the Berkeley hip-hop artist/academic, rep life. For two years, Michael was heard as a weekly guest commentator on the UK-based Dave Brown Radio Show on Solar/Sky Network Digital Radio and the syndicated JL Jamz. He can now be heard internationally as a DJ on SoulInterviews.
In the summer of 2010, Mr. Gipson became the Executive Director of the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts (WALA). There, he presided over a 25-year institution supported by a small but dedicated staff and a virtual army of artists and legal services volunteers. WALA’s program portfolio includes: pro bono legal services, arts-based legal education clinics and workshops, and arts policy advocacy serving artists and small non-profits in the Greater Metropolitan Washington, DC area. At WALA, Michael brought his diverse experiences as an artist, critic, advocate, artist manager, communicator, and non-profit administrator to support the needs and concerns of local DMV artists and non-profits, while also working to address those policies that seriously impact the lives and resources of artists across the US.
Michael holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Writing degree from Goddard College and a Master of Science in Education Media Design & Technology (Instructional Design & Technology) degree from Full Sail University. He works and resides in Chicago, IL while also managing clients in Washington, DC; Cleveland, OH; and Detroit, MI.