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|State of Black Gay America Summit announces keynote speakers|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|August 21, 2012 12:12|
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."
Contributors to the anthology include Atlanta's own Darian Aaron, an award winning-blogger and author of "When Loves Takes Over: A Celebration of SGL Couples of Color"; and David Malebranche, an associate professor of medicine at Emory University's School of Medicine.
Wholley is a senior fellow with the NBJC and while at Spelman she was the president of Afrekete, the LGBT student group, In 2009 she helped organize the university's first LGBT Pride Week with the help and support of Morehouse College's Safe Space organization. For her work, she was invited to the White House and met with President Barack Obama. Wholley is also included in the movie "Legalize Gay" with honorary Atlantan Ben Cohen about activists, gay and straight, combating homophobia.
“We try to bring solutions and not just highlight problems in our community,” says SBGA co-founder Darlene Hudson in an interview with GA Voice. “We will also talk about the power of the people and talk about resilience and how we deal with oppression and how it helps us find our voice.”
The theme for this year's summit is “Embracing Our Collective Power to Influence Change,” that will include panel discussions on the Affordable Care Act as well as how to fund progressive organizations and support political allies.
Confirmed panelists include: Sebastian Alvarez; Michael J. Brewer, Policy and Program Manager of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC); Angela Brown, Funds for Southern Communities; Celeste Davis, Senior Fellow, Harvard Law School' Imani Evans, Women Healing Women; Dr. Paula Frew, Emory University School of Medicine /Rollins School of Public Health; Dwight Allen O’Neal, actor/model; Shamani-Jeffrey Shikwambi, Macon State College; Dr. Dawn K. Smith, Centers for Disease control and Prevention; state Rep. Keisha Waites; Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner; Cortez Wright of SPARK; and Jonathan Marshal, pastor, City of Champions and Morehouse graduate.
The summit will include a special tribute to honor to the life and legacy of Rudolph P. Byrd of the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University who contributed to the study of modern day civil rights.
“It is our hope that this year’s Summit will serve as a platform to continue the much needed dialogue around the subject of building coalition and collaboration within the African-American LGBT community," said Gregory Allen, summit co-chair and president of Xtreme Entertainment.
The annual SBGA Summit is set for Sept. 1 this year at the Melia Hotel, the host hotel for Black Gay Pride that takes place over Labor Day weekend. Panel discussions are free. A lunch special is available for purchase. The summit takes place from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Photo: Je-Shawna Wholley. (via Facebook)
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