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|Atlanta gay leaders speak at citywide MLK march|
|Written by Matt Schafer|
|Tuesday, 18 January 2011 18:09|
Rain could not diminish the words of gay leaders who took to the stage at the end of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations in Atlanta.
A variety of speakers addressed the crowd Jan. 17 at the conclusion of the city’s annual MLK March & Rally. The march, which took place on Auburn Avenue from Peachtree Street to Jackson Street, finished at the King national historic site.
Two openly gay leaders were invited to participate as speakers. Tracy Elliott, the executive director of AID Atlanta, and Anneliese Singh, co-founder of the Georgia Safe Schools Coalition, spoke of the need for gays to be included in the fight for civil rights and for gays to participate in the fight for others.
“Dr. King told us that we are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable web mutuality, but for some in the civil rights movement that has not included lesbian, gays, transgender and bisexual individuals in a single garment,” Elliott said. “We want in the LGBT community to be part of the beloved community, and we stand with you. We stand with Dr. King in trying to build the beloved community here in Atlanta.”
Elliott also said that gays must be more involved in the plights of others.
“I call upon my LGBT brothers and sisters here to understand that we have to care about all civil rights, not just our own, to be part of the beloved community,” he said.
Singh referenced Jaheem Herrera, the DeKalb County fifth grader who killed himself in 2009. The Georgia General Assembly passed a new anti-bullying law last year, but Singh said there is more work to be done.
“Coretta Scott King said that homophobia is as bad as racism, and while that is very true that’s only part of the story that she didn’t get to tell,” she said. “The other part is that when we go in with Georgia Safe Schools to do work around, let’s not say ‘you’re a dyke,’ let’s not say ‘gay’ to mean ‘you’re stupid,’ let’s not call someone a fag when they’re just trying to be who they are.”
Top photo: Anneliese Singh (right), co-founder of the Georgia Safe Schools Coalition, addresses the crowd at the MLK March / Rally (by Matt Schafer)
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