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|More LGBT businesses, organizations sign on to be 'safe zones' to protest Georgia immigration law|
|Written by Dyana Bagby|
|Tuesday, 17 May 2011 11:27|
Radial Cafe, owned by gay businessman Frank Bragg, and the annual alternative queer arts fest Mondo Homo have signed on to be Buy Spots and provide Sanctuary Zones to protest Gov. Nathan Deal's signing of the state's controversial immigration bill.
Lesbian-owned Charis Books & More was the first business to sign on in early May. Deal signed HB 87 into law on May 13.
A complete list of businesses and organizations that have signed on to be Buy Spots and Sanctuary Zones can be found here.
As Buy Spots and Sanctuary Zones, Charis Books & More in Little 5 Points, Radial Cafe and Mondo Homo will offer a safe haven to people who need a place to go and will offer their space for organizers who are working to overturn the law. They will also urge their customers to not shop at stores that are not Buy Spot and Sanctuary Zones.
"I think HB 87 borders on being racist," said Bragg. "There could easily be laws against gay people or any groups of people. I definitely think our community should take a stand against this. In this economic climate, we should all work together — this law divides us."
Charis Books & More co-owner Angela Gabriel said the feminist bookstore wanted to speak out against the law.
"We want people to know that Charis is a safe haven for all folks and that we do not agree with HB 87," Gabriel said.
Paris Hatcher, a black queer woman who is executive director of SPARK!, a reproductive justice organization, is also a board member of Southerners on New Ground, an activist group supporting rural Southern LGBT people that opposes HB 87.
"I'm really excited about LGBTQ organizations and businesses taking the lead and creating safe spaces," Hatcher said. "It makes sense because those of us who have experienced oppression and legislation based on our identity need to stand in solidarity.
"As queer people we know what it's like for legislation to be used to try to break up our families. And there are queer immigrants who are also trying to navigate through this. If we put power and faith in the community, change will happen," she said.
Southerners on New Ground and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force joined Latino and labor organizations as well as other human rights groups in calling for a national boycott of Georgia if Deal signed the bill into law.
“I applaud Governor Deal’s signing of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011, which includes numerous common-sense reforms aimed at addressing the social and economic consequences in Georgia resulting from the federal government’s inability to secure our nation’s borders.
Top photo: Radial Cafe (via Facebook)
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