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|Gay Atlantan heads up Coffee Party political movement|
|by Ryan Watkins|
|October 15, 2010 00:00|
Born out of the frustration felt during the height of the Tea Party movement this summer, Coffee Party USA members are fighting to bring meaningful dialogue back to politics.
Jens Palsgaard, co-coordinator for the Atlanta chapter, decided to become more politically active after coming out a few years ago and has since found a home with the Coffee Party USA.
“Right now we’re gearing up to educate people as to how the political system works. We want to empower them,” says Palsgaard, a 29-year old student who lives in Dunwoody.
The Coffee Party USA doesn’t align itself with any political party, but Palsgaard says he leans toward a liberal ideology. According to the organization’s website, the group doesn’t require any preexisting political beliefs.
“We’re sick of fear mongering. It’s just stupid and it detracts from the things that matter like education and the economy. How about we actually address these issues?”
The Atlanta chapter kicked off in March and has held meetings every few weeks since. The local group has more than 1,500 members listed on its Facebook page.
“We want people to talk. Every Tuesday — we call it Super Tuesday — we encourage people to call their state and national representatives. There has to be a two-way dialogue,” he says.
Palsgaard says that people who attend meetings are often frustrated by the system and the inaction on the local and national levels.
“People come in and just rant. We want to do more than make noise. We really want to educate people. We can always use more people, especially active people.”
Though not specifically an LGBT political group, Palsgaard says that there are gay and lesbian members of the organization and that all people are welcome, regardless of sexual orientation.
“I’m out,” he says. “LGBT people can participate and feel comfortable.”
Top photo: Jens Palsgaard of Atlanta, who is openly gay, hopes local residents will become more involved in the political process. (by Ryan Watkins)
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