[Video] Atlanta Pride recap: bigger than last year, some $30 million to the city



Preliminary estimates are in and this year's Atlanta Pride was one of the biggest, say organizers.

Atlanta Pride Executive Director Buck Cooke was on ATL & Co. on WXIA along with APC Board Chair Glen Paul Freedman and one of the parade's grand marshals, Evelyn Mims, an employee of WXIA and longtime ally, to give a post-Pride recap.

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PETA announces full protest of upcoming Atlanta Pride kickoff party

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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals today announced plans to protest Friday's Atlanta Pride Kickoff Party at the Georgia Aquarium over concerns the event is harmful to the animals inside the aquarium.

Dan Matthews, a PETA senior vice president, sent a letter to acting Atlanta Pride Executive Director Buck Cooke, again urging Cooke and the Atlanta Pride Committee to move the annual event to a venue that does not hold animals captive.

Matthews, who is gay, holds no punches in the latest letter to the APC, including accusing Atlanta Pride of misogyny, after Cooke and members of the APC have failed to directly respond to PETA's communications written by women.

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Does Atlanta Pride party hurt animals at Georgia Aquarium?

Georgia Aquarium during Atlanta Pride Kickoff Party

In an era of growing LGBT acceptance, perhaps the only thing controversial about Atlanta’s upcoming Pride festival is the now-annual Kickoff Bash at the Georgia Aquarium.

Animal rights activists, led by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, are protesting the event and out actress Jane Lynch even weighed in by sending a letter to the Atlanta Pride Committee’s Buck Cooke, urging Cooke to relocate the annual party over concerns for the animals’ well-being.

“Many of the marine mammals at the aquarium are extremely sensitive to sound, and large parties create an even more stressful environment than they already endure in captivity. … Since the kickoff party sets the tone for all of Pride, will you please consider moving it to one of the many alternative venues that Atlanta has to offer?” Lynch wrote.

Lynch’s letter followed a flurry of attention the party received last year over similar concerns over noise and how it affects the animals. PETA, at the time, called the event “a celebration of freedom in a building that celebrates captivity.”

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Atlanta Pride announces pre-festival lineup

The Atlanta Pride festival and parade

The Atlanta Pride Committee has released the Stride into Pride schedule of events. The events will lead into the 2012 Atlanta Pride Weekend (Oct. 13-14) and kick off this weekend.

"We are excited that there are so many events surrounding the Pride Festival,” said Glen Paul Freedman, Atlanta Pride Committee board char. “These activities offer a wide range of options for anyone who may build their vacation around the Pride Festival, or for those local residents looking to get involved in a community activity prior the festival weekend."

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Atlanta police, LGBT activists react to anti-gay beating posted online; victim urged to come forward

Atlanta police are urging the victim of an anti-gay beating posted on the Internet to come forward and are seeking citizen help to identify both the victim and the attackers in the brutal crime, which was posted online at WorldStarHipHop.com today. Federal authorities are now investigating the crime to see if it is indeed considered a hate crime under federal statutes.

“The Atlanta Police Department is working to determine more about the attack depicted on this video, including attempting to identify the victim and the perpetrators. We are also working to determine if the victim filed a police report, or if police were called to the scene," Atlanta Police Department spokesperson Carlos Campos said this afternoon, in response to media questions about the incident.

WorldStarHipHop.com posted the video to its website with the headline, "Dead Wrong: Man Wearing Skinny Jeans Gets Sucker Attacked & G'z Throw a Tire On Him for Being Gay."

“Jack City, no faggots,” a man says at the start of the video. “Jack City” is an apparent reference to a street gang.

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LGBT forum with Atlanta mayor, police chief rescheduled for November

Nov. 1 is the new date for a town hall forum hosted by the Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory Board with Mayor Kasim Reed and Atlanta Police Chief George Turner. The meeting will take place from 7-8:30 p.m. at Saint Mark United Methodist Church.

Originally scheduled for Sept. 28, the meeting was moved after leaders of Congregation Bet Haverim, Atlanta's gay-founded Reconstructionist synagogue, objected that it conflicted with the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, which begins that night.

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Gay-led Atlanta synagogue wants LGBT town hall slated for Jewish holiday to be rescheduled

Congregation Bet Haverim, Atlanta's gay-founded Reconstructionist synagogue, released an open letter today expressing disappointment that an LGBT town hall forum with Mayor Kasim Reed is scheduled for Sept. 28, the start of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

The letter, signed by Congregation Bet Haverim President Jeri L. Kagel and Rabbi Joshua Lesser, asks that the "problematic" meeting date be rescheduled out of "communal respect." It is addressed to the Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory Committee and copied to the mayor's office.

The public forum is a project of the mayor and the advisory board, a citizen panel founded in the wake of the botched 2009 police raid on the Atlanta Eagle gay bar.

"There are Rosh Hashanah services in synagogues of all denominations across Atlanta and it is one of the few times during the year when Jews of all degrees of observance attend services," the letter stated. "If the meeting remains on this date our congregants, other LGBT Jews and straight allies, will not have the opportunity to hear two of our city’s leaders address important issues about police interaction within the LGBT community."