Joan Garner dies af­ter can­cer bat­tle

GA Voice - - Georgianews -

Ful­ton County Com­mis­sion Vice Chair Joan Garner died April 18 af­ter a bat­tle with breast can­cer. Garner was the first openly gay Ful­ton County Com­mis­sioner, rep­re­sent­ing Dis­trict 4, which in­cludes Mid­town and neigh­bor­hoods west of down­town At­lanta to Ful­ton In­dus­trial Boule­vard. Her wife was Ful­ton County State Court Judge Jane Mor­ri­son.

Trib­utes be­gan to pour in from around the city as news of her death spread, with politi­cians, ac­tivists and other com­mu­nity mem­bers mourning her pass­ing.

Garner, a Wash­ing­ton, DC na­tive, moved to At­lanta in 1978. She was the co-founder in 1993 of South­ern­ers On New Ground, a grass­roots or­ga­ni­za­tion that works at the in­ter­sec­tions of race, class, sex­u­al­ity and gen­der. She also served on the boards of Lambda Le­gal and the At­lanta Belt­Line, among many oth­ers.

Upon tak­ing of­fice in 2011, Garner called the in­au­gu­ra­tion “a re­al­iza­tion of a life­long quest for in­clu­sion.”

She also re­called the as­sas­si­na­tion of Martin Luther King Jr., say­ing she re­mem­bered an­gry, griev­ing peo­ple tak­ing to the streets in protest.

“From that day for­ward I took up the man­tle of so­cial jus­tice as my own,” she said. “Those days shaped me, they in­spired me to pur­sue a life of so­cial jus­tice. It is what drives me and my de­ci­sions ev­ery day. My ca­reer choice in non­profit phi­lan­thropy, my ac­tivist work in the civil rights move­ment, the move­ments of women’s equal­ity and for gay rights.”

A me­mo­rial ser­vice for Garner will take place May 6 at 3 p.m. at Ebenezer Bap­tist Church in Sweet Auburn, with a re­cep­tion to fol­low at a lo­ca­tion to be de­ter­mined.

In lieu of flow­ers, the fam­ily re­quests do­na­tions be made to the Joan P. Garner Health & Hu­man Ser­vices In­tern­ship. Do­na­tions may be sent to ACCG Civic Af­fairs Foun­da­tion, 191 Peachtree St. N.E., Suite 700, At­lanta, GA 30303. They ask that peo­ple write “Joan Garner In­tern­ship” in the memo line.

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