Not only does the Atlanta Pride Committee (APC) work hard throughout the entire year to “keep Pride free” (a popular chant from those with buckets for donations in the park), they also work hard to ensure that some of the money they gather — from sponsorships and said donations — goes back into the community. Nearly $200,000 has gone into reinvestment via organizations that strive to keep the LGBTQ spirit alive here in Georgia. More than 50 different groups have seen direct results of their efforts in many forms including more than $40,000 in “cash, event sponsorship, and festival assets in the last year including the recipients of the 2017 Election rapid response grants,” according to their website. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Charis Circle has been the the 501(c)(3) non-profit programming arm of Charis Books since 1996. Charis, in Little Five Points, is America’s oldest independent feminist bookstore, and they work with Southern authors, artists, and activists to provide the city with top-notch and enlightening events and programming. Much like Waffle House, the place is open to the public dang-near everyday — that’s 7 days a week, 360 days a year, to be precise. Is it a poetry open-mic you want? They got it. How about a story hour for the kids? On deck. Yoga? Pfff. Been had it. As a matter of fact, there are more than 270 events per year hosted by this beloved education resource. And don’t get it twisted: Though it’s a feminist bookstore, men and women of all types and stripes are welcome.
Black Lives Matter Atlanta
Black Lives Matter Atlanta has a huge mic and they’re using it to demand — not ask — that certain needs and desires be met. Key among them, per their website:
End the war on black people. Named and unnamed, they want the wars on their community to stop, and that means ending mass incarceration, criminalization, and the killing of their people.
Reparations. From colonialization and housing redlining to surveillance and mass incarceration, the group wants a fix and some backpay for the oppression. Not soon, not slow and systemic — now.
Political Power. BLMA demands “full and independent Black political power and Black self-determination in all areas of society.”
While BLMA recognizes not all of their needs and visions can be placed into policy immediately, they’re fully aware that “policy change is one of many tactics necessary to move us towards the world we envision.” They’ve come together because now is the the time to forge a new bond of dreamers and does, and feel this platform is precisely the way to get this done.
Trans Housing Atlanta Program
Trans Housing Atlanta is on a mission to provide safe shelter and supportive services to trans and gender-nonconforming folks who are experiencing homelessness. They want to help these individuals find independent living and secure jobs, while helping stamp out the unfortunate reality of risky behaviors in their community.
How? For starters, job training and referrals; access to mental-health services; an actual space that provides beds, a communal kitchen and dining facilities; a recreation and library/media space; and a welcoming spot for trans and gender non-conforming people to hang out and feel safe. Is that really too much to ask? APC doesn’t think so, which is why it’s doing its part to help make this a reality.
Outlantacon is a queer, geek-centered, Atlanta-based event. The festival features gaming, costuming, shows, fashion shows, and discussions. The event’s been running for ten years, but their focus on fandom and nerd culture — with concern for the LGBTQ community — is going strong. And there’s an added feature: This year, Outlantacon hosted Gaylaxicon, a national gaming-geek group which travels from Con to Con every year. Will the successful team-up happen next year? We nerdly types most certainly hope so.
Southern Fried Queer Pride
Southern Fried Queer Pride is held in the latter parts of May and is a homegrown version of Pride that puts the spotlight on queer and trans Southerners, offering an inclusive atmosphere at each of its parties, potlucks, pop-ups, and workshops. Atlanta-based, it features arts advocacy and celebrates the happenin’ LGBTQ scene from all the Southern states. As their site puts it, “[Southern Fried Queer Pride] is arts and politically based and serves to provide an annual intersectional and radically inclusive festival, along with monthly programming.”
Now in its fourteenth year of existence, WonderRoot, a 501(c)(3) arts and services organization with a mission to unite artists and community to inspire positive social change, is stronger than ever and on the verge of a major expansion. The organization was founded in 2004 by Chris Appleton, Alex West, and Witt Wisebram as a way to bring people together people who were disaffected by the atmosphere during the presidency of George W. Bush (a feeling shared by many in this current regime). They set out to leverage the power of public participation in art to amplify the demands made by the community. So far, so good.