"A lot of criminalization is being driven by stigma"
Maggie Lopez, 51, moved to the U.S. as a child with her family as political refugees on one of the Pan Am freedom flights during the Castro revolution. She now has a successful art business in Atlanta and likes to pay it forward through many charity works. She recently underwent surgery for breast cancer and is continuing her recovery process.
GA Voice: What’s Atlanta best nightspot — past or present?
Maggie Lopez: Atlanta’s best nightspot is and has always been... Atlanta itself. Our people create the vibe. It’s really not about light fixtures or banquettes. Certain house parties here are more legendary than any nightclub.
You are involved in many nonprofits, especially For the Kid In All of Us. Why is this organization so important to you?
I first learned that I had the power to become, to define myself beyond the circumstance of my birth, through the cultural pride my parents instilled in me and my brother. Our home was enriched with artifacts of black genius. There were books and albums of art titans such as Lorraine Hansberry, James Baldwin, the Temptations, Coltrane and Labelle. There was the framed “Free Angela Davis” portrait posted so high her regal afro nearly touched our living room ceiling.
Through the acknowledgment of record, this little black boy was shown his past and thus felt assured a place in the world. “When I speak of home, I mean not only the familial constellation from which I grew, but the entire black community: the black press, the black church, black academicians, the black literati, and the black left.”
The continued legacy of Joseph Beam's “In the Life: A Black Gay Anthology”
Auburn Avenue Research Library celebrates donation of gay activist's papers with reception
Over the years, Duncan Teague has kept journals, notes, photographs, programs, poetry and other writings in boxes stored in his garage, snapshots of his life growing up as a black gay activist.
"I was going to go back and read them," he said about keeping the boxes of papers.
But he knew the documents, whether notes from a gay activist group he belonged to or a program from ADODI Muse: A Gay Negro Ensemble, a poetry collective he helped found, were important to recording the experiences of black gay people. He also kept the poetry, journals and other writings of noted black gay poet Tony Daniels, who died in 1998.
"I knew they were important and as I traveled in gay activism and AIDS activism, I knew one thing was not happening, and that was the accounts of black gay life," he said.
‘Speaking to ourselves’ is great if it empowers us to then tell our stories to others
"True Blood" star's announcement causes website crash.