We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams … We are the movers and shakers of the world forever, it seems.
This was the line from English poet Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s publication from 1873, Ode, creating notoriety for the phrase “movers and shakers.”
Today when we refer to someone as a ‘mover and a shaker,’ what we may really be saying is he or she is accomplished. Worldly. Powerful.
Enter LGBTQ advocate and visionary Malik Brown, a perfect example of someone who fits this description in our metro area. Brown was appointed as Atlanta’s first full-time LGBTQ Affairs Coordinator in early 2018. While that role alone is worthy of the ultimate recognition among local pioneers today, he’s becoming well-known for the bright trail he’s been blazing through Hotlanta in other ways.
As the son of immigrants from Trinidad and Barbados, Malik is a proud, lifelong resident of the City-of-71-Peachtree-Streets and has always been active in his community.
Malik joined the National Board of Governors Human Rights Campaign in 2014, and quickly gained involvement in Southeast Prides & Festivals (Savannah, Athens, Augusta, Charleston, Atlanta Black Pride, and Atlanta Pride). It was then that Brown realized his true passion was in advocacy, and that he was capable of doing much more for the LGBTQ population in Georgia.
Malik got his official start in advocacy in 2015, with Atlanta’s AIDS Walk & 5K Run. He credits the organization for teaching him the ins and outs of creating campaigns, recruiting participants, and soliciting donations so well that he was more than prepared for the days ahead of him in the political arena.
In 2016, Brown continued on his journey in politics as the Special Events Manager for Mayoral candidate Cathy Woolard. It was with Cathy’s team that Malik learned the logistics of fundraisers and how to coordinate successful events.
Malik’s contributions to Woolard’s campaign became so valuable that just one year later, he was brought on board by Keisha Lance Bottoms as LGBTQ Outreach Coordinator during her Atlanta runoff campaign in 2017.
In 2018, this familiar face among Georgia’s Democratic political scene made history. The City of Atlanta and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced Malik Brown as the first-ever, full-time LGBTQ Coordinator – A new position in the City of Atlanta created to focus solely on liaising between the LGBTQ community and Atlanta City Hall.
“We have made significant gains towards the protection and advancement of Atlanta’s LGBTQ community, and strive to uphold our commitment to equality every day,” Lance Bottoms says. “I hope that our continued commitment to Atlanta’s LGBTQ community, alongside our work to better our city for all people, will move us closer to truly becoming One Atlanta.”
Brown hit the ground running with his new title and responsibilities, and has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
Since his appointment as LGBTQ Coordinator, Malik has dedicated much of his time to address many of the current issues the LGBTQ community is facing today, from marriage equality to discrimination in the workplace to conversion therapy.
“Georgia has the second-highest number of reported cases of discrimination, and unfortunately it’s still legal to fire an employee in our state because of their LGBTQ status,” Brown explains. “My mission is to significantly reduce that statistic in the coming years, which is a completely attainable goal in my eyes.”
Another development in the works for Brown is to generate more exposure for LGBTQ businesses across Atlanta. Brown reminds us, “Our city is flourishing with LGBTQ entrepreneurs and their businesses are thriving, so it’s important to draw attention to that. All the restaurants around the Rainbow Crosswalk are something to take note of, as well as so many LGBTQ owned businesses across the metro area.”
In addition to raising more awareness about concerns and generating more visibility within the LGBTQ community, Brown has also had a hand in producing the City of Atlanta Biennial Report on LGBTQ Affairs. He’s also been active behind closed doors, working on a “big employment push” as well as Transgender Day of Visibility, an upcoming event scheduled to take place at City Hall. The Mayor’s Pride Reception and Mayor’s Black Pride Reception are also on Brown’s project list to tackle in the coming months.
Before he discovered his affinity for advocacy, Malik Brown was (and continues to be) an enormous fan of comic books. He spent his childhood and adolescent years reading about superheroes, but now in his adulthood, he’s a superhero of his own.
Brown continues to be an active member of the Human Rights Campaign and is also an integral part of the DNC’s LGBTQ Advisory Board.