Local events planned to commemorate MLK Weekend
Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast
The 11th annual Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast was held Jan. 16, 2012, at St. Mark United Methodist Church as part of the official Martin Luther King Jr. march's events. More than 250 people attended the breakfast with the theme "Setting Our Agenda for Justice" and included food as well as discussion surrounding such issues as reproductive rights, gender equality, HIV stigma and economic disparity.
Founded by Craig Washington and Darlene Hudson, the breakfast is a way for black LGBT people "to take the lead in bringing all groups to remember the contributions of lesbian poet activist Audre Lorde and civil rights activist and aide to Dr. King, Bayard Rustin," says Hudson. (Photos by Dyana Bagby)
Paulina Helm-Hernandez, co-director of Southerners on New Ground (SONG), is the 2012 honorary grand marshal and speaker for the Martin Luther King rally following the annual MLK March on Monday, Jan. 16.
The selection of Helm-Hernandez was announced by the Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast planning group. The breakfast, founded in 2002 by LGBT activists Craig Washington and Darlene Hudson, takes place this year at St. Mark United Methodist Church at 10 a.m.; the march begins at 1:30 p.m. with the rally following the march.
Helm-Hernandez was chosen because of her "commitment to community building with marginalized populations. She has a background in farm worker and immigrant/refugee rights organizing, cultural work, youth organizing, anti-violence work and liberation work that centers people most affected by violence, poverty, war and racism," the planning committee said in a statement.
The 10th annual Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast brought more than 200 people to St. Mark United Methodist Church this morning, uniting a diverse group of young people and elders alike from Atlanta’s LGBT community to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Rustin, a gay mentor to MLK who organized the renowned 1963 March on Washington and brought Ghandi’s teachings of non-violence into the Civil Rights Movement, suffered greatly as an openly gay man in such homophobic times, including being fired from leadership positions. He died in 1987 at the age of 75.
Lorde, a lesbian author and poet, was also an activist who wrote “Zami: A New Spelling of My Name," which she described as not an autobiography, but a "biomythography." ZAMI, Atlanta’s own organization for black lesbians of African descent, takes its name from Lorde's book. Lorde battled cancer in her later years and died in 1992 at the age of 58.
The organizers of Queer Spirit Day ask us to wear purple in honor of the young gay people who recently committed suicide.