Summit at Melia Hotel to focus on 'collective change'

State of Black Gay America today

The State of Black Gay America Summit, set for Saturday, Sept. 1, at the Melia Hotel, aims to come up with answers rather than focus on questions, according to co-founder Darlene

Hudson. The event is put on in conjunction with Xtreme Entertainment, which also promotes nightlife events.


State of Black Gay America Summit
Saturday, Sept. 1
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The Melia Hotel
590 W. Peachtree St.
Atlanta, GA 30308

“We try to bring solutions and not just highlight problems in our community,” Hudson says. “We will also talk about the power of the people and talk about resilience and how we deal with oppression and how it helps us find our voice.”

This year, past panelist Je-Shawna C. Wholley, a Spelman alumna who has been recognized for her work on behalf of LGBT people by the Human Rights Campaign and the National Black Justice Coalition, will be the keynote speaker at the summit. Wholley is a senior fellow with the NBJC and while at Spelman she was the president of Afrekete, the LGBT student group.

A special guest appearance will be made by Keith Boykin, a New York Times best selling author, BET columnist, contributor to CNBC, MSNBC and CNN, and former White House aide to President Bill Clinton. He is also editor of the anthology, “For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Still Not Enough.”

The theme for this year’s summit is “Embracing Our Collective Power to Influence Change. It will include five “power panel” discussions on the Affordable Care Act, how to fund progressive organizations and support political allies, faith, prevention and research and also resilience in the black gay communities.

The summit will include a special tribute to Rudolph P. Byrd of the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University, a gay scholar who studied modern day civil rights and died in 2011.

Panel discussions are free. A lunch special is available for purchase to include keynote speakers. The summit takes place from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.