De­tails

GA Voice - - Georgianews -

In The Life At­lanta, the of­fi­cial or­ga­nizer of At­lanta Black Gay Pride, is turn­ing 20 this year and or­ga­niz­ers have changes in store to shake things up for the over 85,000 peo­ple ex­pected to at­tend this La­bor Day Week­end. Those changes in­clude drop­ping host ho­tel the Ge­or­gian Ter­race Ho­tel, spread­ing the events out around the city and adding more ed­u­ca­tional com­po­nents.

This year’s theme is “20 Years Strong,” and lo­cals and vis­i­tors alike can ex­pect a ro­bust lineup of ac­tiv­i­ties, sym­po­siums, sem­i­nars, so­cial events, en­ter­tain­ment, and ITLA’s sig­na­ture events.

“We wanted to kind of move in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion be­cause there’s been a lot of changes in the world with the Pulse night­club tragedy, mar­riage equal­ity is the law of the land, and the ‘re­li­gious free­dom’ act I have a feel­ing is on its way back,” In The Life At­lanta pres­i­dent Rickie Smith tells Ge­or­gia Voice. “So the po­lit­i­cal cli­mate in Ge­or­gia is re­ally chang­ing and we in the LGBTQIA com­mu­nity need to be aware of these changes and how it’s go­ing to af­fect us down the line.”

One of the big­gest changes was mov­ing away from hav­ing a host ho­tel, which is a role the Ge­or­gian Ter­race has played for years. Smith says there’s a stigma at­tached to hav­ing a host ho­tel.

“Peo­ple come to town but don’t want to go to the ho­tel. All of a sud­den it feels like that’s where all the gay folks are and ‘I don’t want to be seen com­ing out of there,’” he ex­plains. “We’ve got a big city which peo­ple need to be able to ex­plore and know that there’s a lot of stuff go­ing on in our city and we’re just not crammed up in the ho­tel so let’s get out and en­joy some of the beauty of our city. Let’s go into our neigh­bor­hood a lit­tle bit and sup­port some of our busi­nesses in our neigh­bor­hood.”

All of the work­shops, which were pre­vi­ously held at the ho­tel, will now be held “It’s about ed­u­cat­ing our peo­ple, get­ting our peo­ple reg­is­tered to vote and re­mem­ber­ing the com­mu­nity where you live. Once the mu­sic stops in the club, we’ve still gotta live in this com­mu­nity. This is not so much about the nightlife, it’s about our life in gen­eral. Some­body needs to stop and take a look at what’s go­ing on around us and how we can shape the land­scape of what’s go­ing on around us.”

At­lanta Black Gay Pride

down­town at the Cen­ter for Civil and Hu­man Rights. Smith says the work­shops will have a po­lit­i­cal tone, an ad­vo­cacy tone and an em­pow­er­ment tone.

“Be­ing in a his­tor­i­cal place like that one for our twen­ti­eth year speaks vol­umes about un­der­stand­ing where we came from and where we’re go­ing,” he says.

There are sev­eral sig­na­ture events planned as well in­clud­ing:

By PA­TRICK SAUN­DERS

VIP Re­cep­tion and Silent Auc­tion Char­ity Fundrais­ers in­clud­ing a Pur­ple Tie Awards Cer­e­mony and Rustin/Lorde Schol­ar­ship pre­sen­ta­tion

Town Hall called “A More Per­fect Union: The Need for Com­pre­hen­sive Civil Rights,” which will ex­am­ine ways in which re­cent events have al­tered the nar­ra­tive of the LGBT com­mu­nity

Cof­fee and Chat Break­fast with city of­fi­cials in­clud­ing Mayor Kasim Reed

Women’s Em­pow­er­ment Sym­po­sium Lun­cheon where com­mu­nity lead­ers will be rec­og­nized for their work, and guests will hear from lo­cal and na­tional speak­ers on is­sues af­fect­ing black women in the LGBT com­mu­nity

Faith & Equal­ity Lun­cheon to dis­cuss the ne­ces­sity for LGBT-af­firm­ing faith com­mu­ni­ties in a chang­ing so­cial-po­lit­i­cal land­scape Smith says it’s a con­certed ef­fort by ITLA to make At­lanta Black Gay Pride week­end about more than just the par­ties.

“It’s about ed­u­cat­ing our peo­ple, get­ting our peo­ple reg­is­tered to vote and re­mem­ber­ing the com­mu­nity where you live,” he says. “Once the mu­sic stops in the club, we’ve still gotta live in this com­mu­nity. This is not so much about the nightlife, it’s about our life in gen­eral. Some­body needs to stop and take a look at what’s go­ing on around us and how we can shape the land­scape of what’s go­ing on around us.”

He men­tions the on­go­ing gen­tri­fi­ca­tion of the Mid­town area as an ex­am­ple, say­ing, “The cul­tural pieces are slowly dis­ap­pear­ing and if we’re not care­ful the whole land­scape will change and we’ll be stand­ing there go­ing ‘Well, where are we sup­posed to go?’”

“It’s im­por­tant to re­al­ize you need a rea­son to cel­e­brate Pride. Find out what you need to be proud about in­stead of just danc­ing in the street,” Smith says laugh­ing.

Au­gust 19, 2016

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