With co-founder Chris Cash and support from investors, staff and the community, I launched GA Voice because I believe that we need an independent newspaper and website focused on LGBT issues — a place where readers can turn not only for fun stuff (although that is important too), but for information about our ongoing civil rights movement and the many individuals and organizations working so hard for our equality.

As I wrote in our mission statement, “The Georgia Voice seeks to be the news outlet of record for the state’s LGBT communities and their allies. Through ethical, professional reporting, we aim to educate and empower our readers to become informed advocates for the rights that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people continue to be denied in the 21st century.”

Almost 3 1/2 years after our first print issue hit the stands, our foundation is strong to continue fulfilling that mission for years to come. It is so strong, in fact, that I feel comfortable stepping away to focus on my own career growth and needs.

Some of you may know that the first anniversary of GA Voice coincided with my mother’s diagnosis with pancreatic cancer. For most of the next 18 months, I took calls from her doctors at my desk at work (we hadn’t transitioned to a virtual office yet) and made newspapers at all hours from the side of her hospital bed (thank goodness for patient wifi). I sang my children their bedtime songs over the phone from both.

If I gained anything from her death a year ago at age 63, it is a deeper understanding of what is most important to me, as well as the courage to move forward — knowing that there is no point in waiting, as our time may be shorter than we think.

I can honestly say that I enjoy all aspects of GA Voice’s coverage, from news to features. But as our mission statement suggests, it is the world of activism, nonprofits and the broad struggle for human rights that most inspires me. That is where I want to focus my energy now, either professionally or in a career that gives me the freedom to volunteer for the issues that mean so much to me.

I’m not sure what my next job will be, as the timeline of my departure from GA Voice has been accelerated thanks to the availability of David Aaron Moore, the seasoned gay journalist who will replace me. (Read more about his background here).

I had originally made a decision to leave GA Voice later this year, after Atlanta Pride and the busy fall season were over. But when David, who is moving back to Atlanta after several years in Charlotte, contacted us about available jobs at GA Voice, we jumped at the chance to bring him aboard.

As of Sept. 3, David will be the paper’s editor, and I will remain a co-owner, adviser and something akin to a proud mommy.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your stories with me.

(Photo: I’m the one on the far left, holding the GA Voice banner and smiling because I am about to march in the Atlanta Pride parade with some of the best, most dedicated people in the world.)

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