Atlanta Pride names 2017 grand marshals
The Georgia LGBT community mourned the loss of 17-year-old Ava Le’Ray Barrin of Atlanta, who was shot and killed on June 25 in Athens.
Barrin was murdered by an acquaintance named Jalen Breon Brown, but police did not know what led to the shooting.
According to Human Rights Campaign, Barrin is the 14th known death of a transwoman due to violence this year. Nearly all of the women, including Barrin, were black.
Barrin, who was mis-gendered and identified as Rayquann Deonte Jernigan in early media reports, was shot once in the chest at about 11:45 a.m. during a fight with Brown in the Riverview Apartments complex on College Avenue. Brown, who is also a transwoman, was quickly arrested and faces murder and aggravated assault charges. She claims she shot Barrin in self-defense.
Epifanio Rodriguez, spokesman for the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, told the Athens Banner-Herald the shooting occurred as an argument escalated, and police “do not believe Brown’s self-defense claim based on witness interviews and evidence collected at the scene.” Rodriguez would not comment further.
In an online obituary, Barrin was described as a “young, full of life, beautiful soul” who “feared nothing, nobody and especially not being herself.”
On June 23, Atlanta Pride announced the grand marshals that will helm the Pride Parade this October.
The eight individuals and organizations represent HIV/AIDS activists, Black Lives Matter, the Latinx and trans communities, family advocates and more.
“We are excited to introduce this year’s slate of grand marshals,” Atlanta Pride Executive Director Jamie Fergerson said in a news release. “The Atlanta Pride Committee has a mandate to capture and compliment the wide range of diverse activists among us. We strongly believe that we have done that again this year.”
The three organizations selected are VOX Teen Communications, a youth-driven media outlet for uncensored publishing and self-expression; Planned Parenthood Southeast, which provides low-cost family planning services, education and health care; and Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition, which works to reduce the number of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, sexually transmitted disease and substance abuse cases in the metro area.
Freelance deaf interpreter David Cowan, who interpreted at a number of protests and marches, including the Women’s March and Black Lives Matter, was selected, as was Holiday Simmons of Lambda Legal. Simmons describes himself as a “black Cherokee transmasculine two-spirit activist,” and his work with Lambda focuses on transgender rights, police violence, black resiliency and LGBT Native Americans.
East Lake resident and attorney Jamie Roberts will join them, as will Jerry Gonzalez, founder and executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials. Sandy Lane rounds out the group, representing PFLAG. Lane was recently awarded the Georgia Mountains Unitarian Church’s Courageous Love award.