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|Black Gay Pride: State of Black Gay America Summit seeks to ‘revitalize’ community|
|by Laura Douglas-Brown|
|September 02, 2011 00:00|
Atlanta’s Black Gay Pride is believed to be the largest such celebration in the country. It is fitting, then, that the weekend is host to the annual State of Black Gay America Summit — an ambitious event that aims to both take stock and inspire change.
“Atlanta sets the tone for the rest of the black gay world. This is the black gay mecca. When Atlanta does something, people watch. We set trends,” said Gregory Allen, the president and CEO of Xtreme Entertainment, Inc., which founded the summit with community advocate Darlene Hudson.
“People have to show up and show out; the only way to move ahead is to move together,” Allen said at a recent Black Gay Pride press conference hoted by Meak Productions. “Black Gay Pride is everyone’s, so it’s our responsibility to see it through.”
The fifth annual summit is set for Saturday, Sept. 3, at the Melia Hotel. This year’s theme is “Revitalizing Our Commitment to Leadership, Diversity, and Community.”
“Black Prides are not intended to continue the de facto segregation that has existed between the black LGBT communities and the white LGBT communities for many years,” Fowlkes noted last year on the blog “In the Mix.”
“Rather, Black Pride events are intended to provide safe spaces where our communities and allies can celebrate being both a person of African descent and LGBT,” he wrote, noting the simultaneous issues of homophobia in the black community and racism in LGBT communities.
“Coming together based on racial and sexual identities can be very reassuring in a hostile world,” Fowlkes continued.
There will be plenty of opportunities for that coming together at the summit. The day begins with a luncheon and speech by Fowlkes from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with tickets set at $35.
Free panel discussions follow from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The first, titled “Community Speaks,” focuses on topics such as bullying and suicide among LGBT youth, aging, and gearing up for the 2012 elections. Georgia state Rep. Simone Bell and ZAMI founder Mary Anne Adams are among the panelists.
The second panel is “Revitalizing Our Commitment to Diversity.” Its “diverse and intergenerational” panel includes Mandy Carter, Pat Hussain, Charles Stevens, Gwen Rogers, Jeshawna Wholley, Holiday Simmons and Paulina Hernandez.
Next up is a panel discussion with Black Gay Pride organizers and producers. Fowlkes, Allen and In the Life Atlanta President Raymond Duke are among the panelists.
Finally, the summit ends with a panel on media visibility. It includes Maurice Jamal, Sean Lamont, Dr. George Smith, Darian Aaron, Gyant and Onyx Keesha.
Top photo: Earl Fowlkes, president/CEO of the International Federation of Black Gay Prides, is the keynote speaker for this year’s State of Black Gay America Summit. (via Facebook)
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