The Beginning: California's Prop 8 Backlash
Jeff Schade was the organizer of a rally outside the Georgia Capitol Building on November 15, 2008, in protest of the passage of California's Proposition 8, which stripped thousands of gay couples of their legal marriages. The rally quickly became much larger than Jeff anticipated, spilling off the Capitol grounds into the street, and then filling the entire city block. Those who came to the rally were some of the first to realize that if established legal rights could be taken away in a state like California, it would only be a matter of time before the rest of the country followed suit.
A New Passion for Change
After the Georgia Capitol Rally, Jeff and a few attendees of the rally came together to understand the impact of the massive turnout for a protest of an event not even in Atlanta. Members of the LGBT community, and their friends and family, had built up eight years of frustration and anger over the politics of fear and hate practiced since the elections of 2000.
To test the waters, in what was meant as a fun way to play to holiday shopping crowds, the group (with the name GLBTATL pulled out of a hat) put together a demonstration outside Lenox Square Mall and Phipps Plaza, and sent the word out through the Internet about it. The turnout wasn't huge, but those who did attend were overflowing with passion to get the challenges of the LGBT community back into the public eye.
The Reawakening of the Civil Rights Movement
In what could be considered a divine coincidence, the notoriously anti-gay preacher Rick Warren was invited to be the keynote speaker at a commemorative service honoring the icon of civil rights progress, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Along with activist leaders in the African-American community of Atlanta, the new GLBTATL helped organize "We Still Have a Dream: Equality", a demonstration outside Dr. King's church, to raise public awareness of homophobia and injustive towards the LGBT community.
Though this text was written before We Still have a Dream took place, the buzz surrounding the event may foreshadow a new era in the Civil Rights Movement. Where better than Atlanta, which played a key role in the Movement of the 20th century, to revive it for the 21st?
Who GLBTATL Are Today
GLBTATL is not just a "protest group," and we are not planning to hold regular, recurring demonstrations.
Now that Atlanta's LGBT community has a small bit of visibility again, we will be focused on outreach and community building. We want to create social events that are fun and educational, and show that everyone is a fundamental part of society--that no one is a second-class citizen. We will be sending out information on these events in the future via press releases and our blog at glbtatl.org.
GLBTATL.org consists of a small group of volunteers -- if you'd like to help out, please let us know!
How To Reach Us
Like anyone working to ensure a better future for this generation and the ones which follow, we always keep an open ear for you. To reach GLBTATL, you may e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us directly at 888-GLBT-ATL (888-452-8285). We're waiting to hear from you.