LGBT events on equality and faith were held in Columbus throughout last week.
Equality Town Hall
In addition to a PFLAG Columbus meeting on Wednesday, the “Equality Town Hall” on Thursday at the Citizens Service Center was a success, with a turnout of 30-40 people from all walks of life in Columbus.
- Jeremy Hobbs, representing Colgay Pride
- Patricia Lassiter, representing the Democratic Party of Georgia LGBT Caucus
- David Smith, a senior at Columbus High School
- Rob Woods, senior field organizer for Georgia Equality
- Rev. Emily Bel, representing Forgiving Heart Church in Columbus
In addition, other organizations were represented, including the Southern Anti-Racism Network, the Democratic Socialists of America, PFLAG Columbus, CV Pride Community Center, NAACP Columbus GA, and yours truly. The event was moderated by Cheryl Renee of WTVM News 9.
Discussions were held on LGBT equality, the current state of affairs in the LGBT community, the relation of faith and spirituality to LGBT issues and the lack of access to socioeconomic stability for the LGBT community in Columbus. Particular attention was paid at times to the RFRA bill put forward by State Senator Josh McKoon of Columbus, which was criticized and protested to a standstill across Georgia in March.
Faith and Equality Forum
On Saturday morning, a Faith and Equality Town Hall was held at the Columbus Public Library Auditorium to screen “The New Black“, a documentary about the fight for marriage equality and struggle for acceptance in the African-American community of Maryland. The event was co-organized and moderated by Shankeia Pollard of EITA Inc., Rob Woods of Georgia Equality and Chris Smith of Promised Land Films, the studio behind “The New Black”.
Attendees included several leaders of predominately-African American Christian congregations, as well as LGBT organizations in the local region. Following the film, the discussions covered concerns and objections regarding the relationship of African-American LGBT people and their struggle for civil rights to the realm of religion.
Later, at 7pm, a re-showing of the film was held at the Community Building of Grove Park Apartments, this time in front of a predominately African-American young LGBT adult viewership of 15-20 people from around the area, organized by Pollard, Woods and Lassiter. Following the film, a passionate 2-hour discussion was held covering similar ground as what was discussed by the earlier showing, but from a younger perspective.