Wel­come to a week­end that could only hap­pen in At­lanta

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psaun­ders@the­gavoice.com

La­bor Day week­end is one of my fa­vorite week­ends to be in At­lanta. There’s this odd mix of ma­jor events that take place through­out the Mid­town and down­town ar­eas, the three big­gest of which are a pair of ma­jor col­lege foot­ball games kick­ing off the sea­son (we won’t men­tion the lo­cal fast food chicken pur­veyor that’s spon­sor­ing them), the glo­ri­ous geek­fest that is Dragon Con and, to top it off, the largest black LGBT cel­e­bra­tion in the coun­try – At­lanta Black Gay Pride.

It can make for a fas­ci­nat­ing mix of folks cross­ing each other’s paths, as hap­pened when I was at a lo­cal cof­fee shop one morn­ing on La­bor Day week­end a cou­ple of years ago. The place was packed, both full of peo­ple and quizzi­cal ex­pres­sions. You’d have a beer-bel­lied bro in a foot­ball jersey next to a J-set­ter next to a Wookie. It was bizarre. It was At­lanta.

It makes sense that Black Gay Pride is such a ma­jor event in this city, see­ing as we have the largest black LGBT pop­u­la­tion in the na­tion. But it also speaks to the city’s his­tory with so­cial jus­tice and oft-men­tioned ti­tle of “the cra­dle of the civil rights move­ment.”

If you’re a vis­i­tor to At­lanta this week­end, know that we haven’t lost a step when it comes to tak­ing to the streets to fight op­pres­sion in its many forms. Just a cou­ple of week­ends ago, thou­sands marched through down­town to speak out against white supremacy and the vi­o­lence that oc­curred in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, the pre­vi­ous week­end.

I was at that march, cov­er­ing it for Ge­or­gia Voice, and it couldn’t have made me more proud of my city. The march went through dif­fer­ent ar­eas of sig­nif­i­cance to the civil rights move­ment, with peo­ple stream­ing out of busi­nesses and churches to watch, post about it on so­cial me­dia or join. And an anti-Trump an­them was born – a re-pur­posed ver­sion of na­tive son Lu­dacris’ “Move,” with thou­sands of voices echo­ing off build­ings as they shouted “Move, Trump, get out the way, get out the way, Trump, get out the way.”

As hap­pens more and more of­ten th­ese days, LGBT or­ga­ni­za­tions were a wel­come part of the event. This hasn’t al­ways been the case in years past, but at­ti­tudes con­tinue to change and it’s be­com­ing more and more clear to marginal­ized groups that we need to sup­port each other in or­der to get through times like th­ese.

With that said, en­joy your­self this week­end. And take a look in­side the is­sue for a primer on what to do. We’ve got some facts and fig­ures about Black Gay Pride that might sur­prise you, a full run­down of all the par­ties, com­edy shows, mu­sic and spo­ken word per­for­mances, panel dis­cus­sions and more, a think piece on the “stud for stud” move­ment among black les­bians and a fea­ture on the inau­gu­ral Queer Black Film Fes­ti­val.

So there’s more than enough to fill up your cal­en­dar with an un­for­get­table week­end. But if you could, do one thing for us and take a mo­ment to re­mem­ber a woman named Tee Tee Danger­field. She was a lo­cal trans­gen­der woman who was mur­dered re­cently, mak­ing her the 16th trans per­son killed in the US so far this year, and yet an­other transwoman of color lost to vi­o­lence.

She might have been there right along­side you tak­ing a stroll through Pied­mont Park on Sun­day, check­ing out a panel dis­cus­sion or danc­ing it up at one of the par­ties. Let’s honor her mem­ory by con­tin­u­ing to live life to the fullest, and fight­ing op­pres­sion and ha­tred when­ever it should ap­pear.

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