Election seasons are always energetic times, but this October was truly memorable. With so much at stake on this year’s ballot – from state education initiatives to the highest office in the country – we saw a tremendous outpouring of strength and support from communities, activists, and representatives at all levels. Between marching in the streets at Atlanta Pride, getting out the vote with our registration drives, and discussing national health issues in Washington, D.C., we were constantly reminded of how many passionate, committed, and creative people there are fighting for social justice and representation. Here are just a few highlights of this month’s activity!
The month began with Atlanta PRIDE Week, and we had a blast parading our float down the streets! Events like PRIDE are such valuable opportunities for the LGBTQ+ communities of Atlanta to come together and celebrate our shared – and varied – experiences. After meeting with the Atlanta PRIDE Committee, we relaxed with a Pride Porch Fundraiser in Midtown, where we were treated to guest performances from DJ SED and DJ Visions, and the comedy (and chocolate) of Kia Comedy.
The marching didn’t stop there! In addition to our local voter registration drives, we also hosted an Early Voting March with congressman and civil rights activist John Lewis! Rep. Lewis and I celebrated the occasion by casting our votes together, and you can check out a video of the march here!
Voter enfranchisement has always been a critical civil rights issue, and this year, it was especially important to make sure people were registered, informed, and engaged. We hosted two town halls with Rep. Pat Gardner and Sen. Nan Orrock to discuss local and statewide education and transportation issues, particularly MARTA and Nathan Deal’s Opportunity School District. We’d like to thank the representatives from the Atlanta city government, Atlanta Public Schools, and community members for bringing us their perspectives!
Even with so much activity at the state and national levels, local issues still continue to drive so much of our work. We visited the Office of Economic Adjustment at Fort McPherson, whose generous investment will help us ensure that the area’s development is equitable and sustainable. We attended the Atlanta Regional Commission’s “State of State” breakfast, where we discussed the condition of our region’s transportation infrastructure, and met with the Black Chamber of Commerce to represent local business owners. I also had the honor of moderating the Young Democrats of Atlanta’s awards ceremony, and it was incredible to meet so many future leaders!
One of the best parts about being your representative is getting to talk with so many passionate people across this city. This month, I spoke at one of AFROPUNK Atlanta‘s “Solution Sessions” with attorney and activist Tiffany Williams Roberts, and city councilman Kwanza Hall, about the importance of political participation and power through local collective action . I visited Agnes Scott University for LGBTQ+ History Month, where I spoke about my experiences in activism and politics as a queer black woman.
As the month progressed, and with PRIDE now over, we still found so many reasons to celebrate – like the 100-year anniversary of Planned Parenthood, who continue to inspire and mobilize us through their ongoing commitment to women’s health and reproductive rights! We also attended the 2016 GLAAD Atlanta Gala at the Atlanta History Center, where we celebrated the national movement for better representation of LGBTQ+ people in media. Finally, we joined the Rainbow PUSH Coalition for a policy panel and a celebration of Rev. Jesse Jackson’s 75th birthday!! A big congratulations to Rev. Jackson for another year dedicated to public service and social justice!
And a big congratulations – and THANK YOU – to everyone we worked with this October! This may have been a tumultuous election season, but it’s also been a reminder of how powerful collective action can be, and how important political participation is in the fight for equal justice. As the year draws to a close, I can’t wait to continue working with you.