Atlanta LGBT pioneers to be honored at Our Founding Valentines event

Atlanta’s LGBT pioneers will be honored at the 2nd Annual Our Founding Valentines event, taking place Tuesday evening at the Lenox location of Bantam + Biddy.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is hosted by Atlanta Pride and Touching Up Our Roots and will honor Mona Bennett, Charlie Brown, Dee Dee Chamblee, Judy Colbs. Dr. Jesse Peel and Rev. Duncan Teague, with Ray Kluka being honored posthumously.

“Here we want to give props to people whom some of us have never heard of, and their courage and conviction and sheer stubbornness in standing up for themselves and for all of us, when being LGBT could be both dangerous and unpopular,” Touching Up Our Roots founder Dave Hayward tells Georgia Voice.

More info on this year’s honorees below via Atlanta Pride:

Mona Bennett

Mona Bennett first made waves locally when she joined Atlanta Act Up in 1989, cutting her teeth on grassroots activism with Act Up’s protests at the Centers for Disease Control. From there Mona followed her zeal for service and care to the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition, Inc., where she is Associate Director.

Charlie Brown

Lovingly referred to as the “mouth of the South”, Charlie Brown reigns supreme as Atlanta’s drag diva. Currently emcee at Lips Drag Diva showcase, Charlie has performed all over Atlanta and was one of the first entertainers to perform for people living with AIDS and for AID Atlanta.

Dee Dee Chamblee

Dee Dee Chamblee is the founder and Executive Director of LaGender, Inc., serves on the Programming Board of the LGBT Institute at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and co-founded the Solutions, Not Punishment Coalition (SNAPCO).

Judy Colbs

Judy Colbs led PFLAG from 1986-2006 and forged alliances among the lgbt community as well as with Congregation Bet Haverim, a synagogue founded by Gay and Lesbian Jews.

Jesse Peel

Psychiatrist Dr. Jesse Peel lobbied for a midtown psychiatric practice counseling lgbt people. He consults and collaborates with Emory University’s AIDS Legacy Project.

Duncan Teague

Reverend Duncan Teague is a longtime HIV educator and researcher, who coordinated the tenofovir (PREP) study at the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta. An ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, Teague is Georgia Equality’s first Faith Outreach Coordinator.

Posthumous Award: Ray Kluka

Ray Kluka was co-chair of the Southeast region committee for the first National March on Washington in 1979, director of the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Center, president of the Midtown Neighbor Association, and editor of the gay magazine ETC. In 1987, he received the Martha Gaines Award from the lesbian and gay chapter of the ACLU.

Our Founding Valentines
Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Bantam + Biddy
3393 Peachtree Rd., Unit 3065-B
Atlanta, GA 30326
More info