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Cyclists take to the streets to raise funds for AIDS vaccine

I am the Ride

For two days this May, cyclists will ride 200 miles from Emory University to the Oconee National Forest as part of the AIDS Vaccine 200. The event, now in its 11th year, is organized by Action Cycling Atlanta and is a benefit for the Emory Vaccine Center. The AV200 will take place over two days, May 18-19.

The goal of the event, according to organizers, is to raise money while bringing about greater awareness of HIV and AIDS. Last year's fundraiser collected just shy of $300,000, the largest haul in the event's history.

“Using friendship, respect and sportsmanship, the AV200 creates a spirit of hope that shows what can be accomplished when we strive for a common purpose and support each other in doing so,” the ACA website states.

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People of the Year: Atlanta’s Sisters

The Atlanta Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

The white face, the flamboyant nun apparel, the seemingly ceaseless fundraising for various charities, especially for LGBT homeless youth — all of this, plus the outrageous fun they bring to our city, leads us to celebrate the Atlanta Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence as our People of the Year.

Founded in 2009 by Sister Gunza Blazin (many Sisters asked their real names not be used in this story) with just a few marching in the Atlanta Pride parade that year, the chapter has grown to more than a dozen dedicated men in holy drag who seek nothing more than to “promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt.”

For the Sisters, that means to make people feel good while also doing good, whether its handing out condoms at bars or hosting fundraisers for its adopted cause, Lost-N-Found Youth.

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Lost-N-Found Youth marks one year of helping LGBT homeless

 Lost-N-Found Youth

To commemorate the one-year anniversary of Lost-n-Found Youth, the organization’s executive director plans to spend 48 hours on top of a box truck to raise awareness of the plight of LGBT homeless youth in Atlanta.

Rick Westbrook, executive director of Lost-n-Found Youth, plans to stay on top of the truck from the afternoon of Nov.6 until Nov. 8. He will document his experience through Facebook posts, Twitter updates and perhaps a live video stream to give a glimpse of what homeless youth experience when forced to live on the streets.

The truck will be parked next to Brushstrokes in the Ansley Square shopping center. Westbrook said he will climb aboard the truck one hour before the polls close on Election Day. He will come down for a short time to attend a town hall meeting on Nov. 7.

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Health Initiative celebrates ‘Sisters’ at Sunday’s Garden Party

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Inclusiveness is the biggest change in this year’s Garden Party fundraiser, hosted by the Health Initiative on Sunday, Sept. 23. Since changing its name from the Atlanta Lesbian Health initiative to The Health Initiative last year, the focus has also changed. The Initiative is no longer exclusively a lesbian health organization but now address the health needs of all in the LGBT community.

“Since we have broadened our mission to include everyone, we have had some new challenges that we knew we might face when we planned to make these changes almost two years ago. Mainly, we want to ensure that we cover the full continuum of the lives of our clients,” said Jo Giraudo, Health Initiative board co-chair.

That continuum includes a new support group for senior citizens called SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders). 

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Emergency shelter sought for homeless LGBT teens

LGBT activists discuss youth homelessness at Rush Center

There are no hard numbers indicating how many homeless LGBT youth are sleeping on the streets of Atlanta, but something needs to be done immediately to provide 24-hour emergency shelter, according to a group of local activists.

At a town hall forum at the Phillip Rush Center on Nov. 2, Rick Westbrook, a member of the local chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, announced the Sisters have set up a 24-hour hotline for LGBT youth to call when they are seeking shelter.

A “Saint Lost and Found” fund has also been set up by the Sisters to raise funds to pay for rooms at a hotel where teens can get off the streets.