An award-winning writer and a policy, youth, HIV/AIDS, and public health advocate, L. Michael Gipson, MS has worked on nonprofit and community development programming on the local, state, and national level for 23 years. Throughout those years, Gipson 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, Gipson designed and facilitated over 100 public health skills building and community mobilization training for over 60 state and local health departments, education agencies, and grassroots community-based organizations. While in Cleveland, Gipson 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 3000 minority and sexual minority youth since 2004. Using his grassroots and national experience, Gipson 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. As a senior consultant on that Department’s Effi Barry Initiative, he also helped refine 10 emerging nonprofits in maximizing their potential through training and technical assistance.
Mr. Gipson’s most recent venture is Faithwalk Enterprises, LLC. Faithwalk is a training, writing, and organizational development firm. Through Faithwalk, Gipson 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: Altarum Institute, MetroTeen AIDS, Children’s National Medical Center, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Black AIDS Institute, National Minority AIDS Council, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Community Education Group, and the Dr. Lonnie E. Mitchell Behavioral Academy. Sub-contracting relationships have also resulted in report writing for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As an author, his short stories, essays, and speeches have also been published in several anthologies, including: Poverty & Race in America: The Emerging Agendas (Lexington Books), Health Issues Confronting Minority Men Who Have Sex with Men (Springer) and Mighty Real: An Anthology of African American Same Gender Loving Writing (LuLu), For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Still Not Enough (Magnus Books), and 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 will be published by Red Dirt Publishing in autumn 2017. Gipson also wrote and co-produced the documentary film short, Indie Soul Journeys, which debuted at the 7th Annual Metropolitan Film Festival of New York City in December 2016.
As a journalist and cultural critic, his work has appeared in Clik, Pulse, Arise, Pride, Amplify, Swerv, Urban Dialect, Port of Harlem, Gay People’s Chronicle, Lambda Literary, and Creative Loafing Atlanta. After serving as the Music Editor for 10 years, Gipson is now Editor-At-Large of SoulTracks.com. Gipson also premiered as the first Soul Sessions Blog Leader at BET/Centric for a year. 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. Gipson has also managed the Baltimore-based soul act, Marcell & The Truth, and the Berkeley hip-hop artist/academic, rep life. For several years, Gipson was heard as a weekly guest commentator on the UK-based Dave Brown Radio Show on Solar/Sky Network Digital Radio and on the weekly syndicated JL Jamz. Currently, he is a frequent guest commentator on the weekly socio-political podcast Leading Questions with Calvin Moore.
As a creative entrepreneur, Gipson is the co-founder of the Black Alphabet Film Festival in Chicago (the city’s first Black LGBTQ film fest), Co-producer and Lead Writer for the 3919 Filmworks documentary film production team, and founder of Urban (W)rites, a partnership with the University of Michigan Prison Creative Arts Project.
Most recently, Mr. Gipson served as the Deputy Director of the statewide LGBTQ political agency, Equality Michigan, in Detroit, MI. Prior to that, Gipson served for five years as the Executive Director of the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts, a D.C. arts advocacy and pro-bono legal services non-profit for creative entrepreneurs.
Michael holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College and an MS in Education Media Design and Technology (Instructional Design) from Full Sail University. He works and resides in Detroit, MI and also works in Washington, DC.