The sixth annual State of Black Gay America Summit over Labor Day weekend covered a broad range of topics over the course of the day on Sept. 1 — from HIV prevention medicines and the need for volunteers in vaccine research to the specifics of the Affordable Care Act to how much money does it cost to run an effective campaign in Atlanta and Georgia.
Keynote speaker Je-Shawna Wholley, a recent Spelman graduate who now lives in Washington, D.C., and is a senior fellow at the National Black Justice Coalition, tackled the subject of this year's theme at the summit at the Melia Hotel. "Embracing Our Collective Power to Influence Change" must be made by building coalitions and being sincere in the work people do, Wholley said.
Je-Shawna C. Wholley, a Spelman alum who has been recognized for her works on behalf of LGBT people by the Human Rights Campaign and the National Black Justice Coalition, will be the keynote speaker at the State of Black Gay America on Sept. 1 as part of Atlanta's Black Gay Pride's community events over Labor Day weekend.
A special guest appearance will be made by Keith Boykin, a New York Times best selling author, BET columnist, contributor to CNBC, MSNBC and CNN, and former White House aide to President Bill Clinton. He is also editor of the anthology, "For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Still Not Enough."
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.