Category Archives: Local

Allegation of Violent Intimidation by Herndon Construction Against Local LGBT Tenant

In the midst of the Trump victory on Election Day, it’s important to stay vigilant against anti-LGBT discrimination in the local area. From activist Jeremy Hobbs:

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RIP Dustyn Archer (1991-2016)

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Dustyn Archer. Photo by Jessica Whitley.

I’m breaking a long silence I’ve had on this blog to report that a colleague of mine (and former student at Macon State College, now Middle Georgia State University) has died.

From The Telegraph:

Dustyn James Archer
Macon, GA- Dustyn James Archer, 25, of Macon, Georgia, died October 12, 2016. He was born May 12, 1991 in Galveston, TX and lived in Macon, Georgia for the majority of his life.
He graduated from Middle Georgia State University with an associates degree in music. He had a passion and natural talent for music; loved to travel, experience and spread the love and healing of music. He was an advocate for equality, and helped many organizations attempting to achieve a better way of life for all. He was very loved and survived by his parents Randy Archer and Tracy Bridgeman-Archer and his siblings Kristyn, Michael, and Dana Archer. A memorial will be held at The Cox Capital Theatre, one of Dustyn’s most loved venues, at 382 2nd St in the historical downtown Macon, GA; on October 20, 2016 at 3:30 pm. All of Dustyn’s friends and family are invited. The family asks in lieu of flowers, for donations to be made to New Town Macon to continue the efforts of building the music and preserving the history of Macon.

I was made aware of Dustyn’s death by a member of his family, but waited to confirm this news.

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Photo by James GF Stair. Dustyn Archer, left, is holding the Georgia Equality logo.

If you remember, Dustyn was in the news earlier this year when an anti-HB 757 rally was held in Macon with the support of the Middle Georgia State GSA and Georgia Equality. He helped lead the rally and spoke to local news media.

Dustyn also helped in the Macon local effort to promote Bernie Sanders’ run for the Democratic nomination. Google searches show that he led the “Middle GA Students for Bernie 2016,” hosting voter registration drives and phone banks.

Sadly, things went south for Dustyn after the primary season was over. He had apparently developed an addiction to heroin and had entered rehab in Arizona.

I am greatly disturbed by Dustyn’s passing. He had his life ahead of him, and was heartfelt about progressive politics in Middle Georgia. I met him several times in college, and remember that he was an avid fan of music. Maybe I don’t remember too much about him from my time there, but I am glad that he was an activist on progressive issues in Macon.

To reiterate, Dustyn Archer’s memorial service will be held at the Cox Capitol Theatre, 382 2nd St in Macon at 3:30pm on Thursday, October 20, 2016.

Please stop by and support the Archer family, who are reeling from this tragedy.

LGBT Movie Night: Astro Boy

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From Candy Ohara:

THIS FRIDAY!!! The Third “Month of AniMAYtion” Feature is…-=ASTRO BOY=-! ***Everyone Is Different…Everyone Wants To Belong*** Join YOUR Friends @ LGBT Movie Night!!! Fridays…at 7PM!

As noted before, LGBT Movie Nights are now held Fridays at 7:00pm at Forgiving Heart Church, 2946 Grant Road. Hopefully, we won’t have a movie-killing glitch like last Friday. Argh!

EVENT April 28: Equality For All Candidate Forum

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Colgay Pride

Via Press Release:

YOU ARE HEREBY INVITED TO JOIN US FOR THE FIRST ANNUAL COLGAY PRIDE EQUALITY FOR ALL CANDIDATE FORUM on APRIL 28th at the Columbus Public Library (Auditorium) on Macon Road from 6 pm to 8 pm

This past year COLGAY Pride helped stopped SB 129 RFRA; Worked Non Stop to oppose and Garner a Veto from Republican Governor Nathan Deal on HB 757; Advocated and celebrated Nation Wide Marriage Equality, Created LGBT, Family & Friends Support Groups, Created Columbus first LGBT Prom, worked to Have June declared Columbus Georgia LGBT Pride Month through Proclamation from Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, hosted and organized Columbus Georgia LGBT Pride Festival and Columbus Equality for All Town Hall meetings and we are only just getting started.    We marched with Dothan.  We are fighting nonstop to oppose any legislation that is created to discriminate specifically towards our tax paying, hardworking, family building LGBT Citizens as well as others.  In just one year Colgay Pride took Columbus Georgia’s HRC Equality Index Score from a 20% to a 40% score.  That’s double improvement in just one years’ time.  But we know Columbus Georgia can and will do better.  The road to TOTAL EQUALITY is long and arduous but we are pushing forward and making real change happen here in Columbus and abroad.  However, we are only as strong as the leaders we elect to serve all of Columbus. It’s time for Columbus to Overcome Adversity, Fight to end Discrimination in any form and Say in One Voice We Shall Overcome Inequality.  The only way this can be possible is if we elect leaders who show true vision and give a clear and loud message that promotes diversity and service for All.   

Colgay Pride appreciates and applauds all our candidates for their courage and perseverance to become a leader of tomorrow for Columbus Georgia.  We humbly request your media presence at this Equality for All Candidate Forum.  Each candidate for City Council, School Board, Sheriff, Judges and Clerks will be allowed to speak and answer questions.  Each Candidate who confirms will be given the questions ahead of time so they can prepare their statement to each question.  Colgay Pride is working to show our leaders will work for ALL our citizens and work in solidarity to Strengthen Diversity and Equality in Columbus. 

MEDIA WELCOME AND WE HUMBLY REQUEST INTERVIEWS BEFORE EVENT TO PROMOTE IT TO PUBLIC AND ENSURE THEIR MESSAGES ARE HEARD BY OUR CITIZENS.  Please feel free to call me 706-580-6239 for more information. 

Thank You!

Jeremy Scott Hobbs

COLGAY PRIDE Director

CONFIRMED PARTICIPANTS AS OF 04/26/2016

  • SYLVIA HUDSON – CLERK MUNICIPAL COURT
  • ANN HARDMAN & LINDA PIERCE – CLERK OF SUPERIOR COURT
  • TEDDY REESE – CITY COUNCIL AT LARGE
  • MARQUESE AVERETT – CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 4
  • WALKER GARRETT & JONATHAN DAVIS – CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 8
  • STEVEN SMITH & CYNTHIA MAISANO – JUDGE MUNICIPAL COURT
  • JOANN THOMAS BROWN – SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 1
  • ATHAVIA SENIOR – SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 3
  • NORENE MARVETS & CATHY WILLIAMS – SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 7
  • MARK LAJOYE, JOHN DARR & DONNA TOMPKINS – SHERIFF
  • BERNARD SPICER CANDIDATE FOR MARSHALL

Candidates Unable to Attend: Robert Wadkins Jr. School Board 5, Vivian Creighton Bishop Clerk Municipal Court, Pat Hugley-Green School Board 3, Todd Robinson & Laurie McRae School Board 5, Greg Countryman Marshall.

Colgay Pride Director Jeremy Hobbs said… 
“I personally want to thank all the candidates who have confirmed. It truly shows times are changing for our great city. In order for our city to become a true destination for ALL and be looked at as a great place to live, work, play and raise a family we need better leadership who truly serves all Columbus citizens.
I think this forum shows that the LGBT community and its allies are growing their political sophistication and abilities. The fact that these candidates chose to participate shows a great deal about the strength of our community. It shows that candidates take our community and our issues seriously. Whether they are incumbents or challengers, it is important that we come to talk and allow the GSBA and the LGBT constituents they represent to get answers to the questions that matter most in our never ending quest for True Diversity and live in a city that works nonstop to ensure Equality is for All.”
Join us April 28th (Thursday) Columbus Public Library Macon Road Auditorium from 6 pm to 8 pm

Project Q Atlanta: Gay Atlanta rallies to thank Deal for anti-gay bill veto

Gay Atlanta rallied at the State Capitol on Tuesday to deliver a resounding “thank you” to Gov. Nathan Deal for vetoing an anti-gay “religious freedom” bill.

“Today is a good day for all communities that worry about discrimination in our state and today is especially a good day for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender,” said Jeff Graham (second photo), executive director of Georgia Equality and Georgians United Against Discrimination.

“It is a good day because thankfully Gov. Deal showed the leadership and conviction to say no to harmful legislation that would have opened the doors and could have been used as a license to discriminate against many Georgians but specifically those of us in the LGBT community,” he added.

via Gay Atlanta rallies to thank Deal for anti-gay bill veto — Project Q Atlanta

EVENT: “Netflix and Chill” Night Out in Atlanta

atlnetflixFrom the event page:

Come join us for our first event of the year!!!

The Atlanta LGBT Film and Music Festival Presents:
“Netflix and Chill” Night Out

We will be screening 2 LGBT films from our 2016 Festival Programming.

  • Wedlocked, Directed by Puppett, a short film that highlights gay marriage equality and yes that also means divorce.
  • Swirl, Directed by Lance Mcdaniel, a short film about acceptance among high school youth as told through dance.

@ Urban Cannibals
368 5th St NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
Monday, March 7th, 2016
Doors open at 7:00pm, Showings start at 8:00pm
Event is FREE for ALL ALFF members, please RSVP
Arrive ON TIME! There is street parking. Uber, Lyft, or carpooling is suggested if you know you will be late.

via The Atlanta LGBT Film .

PHOTOS: 31st Annual Black History Month Breakfast

I took several photos from the 31st Annual Black History Month Breakfast at the Columbus Trade & Convention Center, Monday February 15, 2015. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas was the guest speaker, and the event had luminaries from all over the city, representing different sectors of society from fraternities to AFLAC to politics to Columbus Regional Health.

Several individuals were given awards for their years of community involvement: City Manager Isaiah and State Rep. Carolyn Hugley were jointly offered the “Legacy of Leadership” Award, Muscogee County Democrats Chair Saundra Ellison was offered the “Unsung Hero” award, and both Brandon Hicks and Gwenetta Wright were both offered the “Emerging Leader” award.

DISCLOSURE: My thanks to Rep. Sanford Bishop of Georgia who offered up to 8 free seats at the breakfast to Muscogee County Young Democrats, of which I am a part. I am also paid by the Muscogee County Democrats to maintain their official website and social media.

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PHOTOS: Macon Rally Against #HB757

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Photo by Jessica Whitley.

A rally protesting against HB 757 was held from 12pm to 6pm in downtown Macon on Thursday, February 25, 2016. It started at the Macon-Bibb Government Center (formerly known as City Hall), and later moved to the Macon-Bibb County Courthouse. It was organized by local activist Dustyn Archer, with the help of Georgia Equality/Georgia Unites Against Discrimination. Various organizations represented at the rally, including Georgia Equality, GLBAL, the Gay-Straight Alliance of Wesleyan College, and the Middle Georgia State University Gay-Straight Alliance (MGA-GSA). Nearly 200 people RSVP’ed to come to the event.

Local media varied in its coverage of the event. 13 WMAZ ran a story on it which included protesters at the event and a Catholic clerical supporter of the bill, and so did 41 NBC WMGT and the Telegraph. Meanwhile, according to Archer, 41 NBC got it wrong on the scope of the bill:

If anyone saw the story on the protest from WMGT (originally mistakenly said WGXA), they made it seem like the bill’s purpose is to make it so that pastors aren’t legally required to provide marriages to gay couples. The ORIGINAL bill was three basic points, of which the Pastor Protection Act was the main deal. THIS IS NO LONGER THE CASE.

Essentially, the bill, as amended by the senate, tacked on what amounts to a whole new bill that eliminates the government’s ability to prosecute or punish organizations, both public and private, that discriminate… It directly protects discriminatory businesses that discriminate by denying goods and services AND protects any speech conducted by these organizations as long as it’s based on the idea that marriage is between a man and a woman (meaning that hate speech is protected). Another big kicker is that the government must continue providing grants and other public funding in spite of any discriminatory language or practice. If these businesses wish to deny rights or discriminate in the name of religion, then they should not receive public funding support of any sort, as they are not in support many of those who pay their taxes, which is where public funding comes from.

If this were just about pastors not having to marry gay couples, there wouldn’t be businesses leaving the state, there wouldn’t be thousands of people against this bill — this is NO LONGER about religious freedom. This is about state-sanctioned fear and hate being laid down as the law of the land; this is about tying the government’s hands behind its back and blindfolding it against the criminal actions of those who wish to perpetuate hate.

Our Civil Rights are still under assault. Let us never forget that we must continue to fight for the rights of every man, woman, and child from the fears of a few zealots in the name of religion. If your religion brings the people of this world into discord and battle with one another, your religion belongs in the dark ages. The Jesus I knew wills for love to trump hate.

No Hate in Our State! Solidarity to all of you.

Of course, you can also send a letter opposing HB 757 to the Governor by Friday at midnight. Much thanks to Jessica Whitley from MGA GSA, Candace Neller-Harper and James GF Stair for allowing me to post the photos here with credit.

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HAPPENING NOW: Macon Rally Against #HB757

A rally is taking place today fro 12pm to 6pm at Macon City Hall against HB 757, the anti-LGBT religious privilege bill passed by the State Senate. From the event page:

Please invite your friends! Let’s get as many people involved as we can, this WILL make headlines if there is enough of us!
♥ Let’s show that love and solidarty triumphs over fear and separation ♥

FAQs
Q: Do we need, or are we encouraged, to bring anything?
A: Bottled water, snacks, rainbow flags, signs, hand drums, rainbow snacks, flag signs, hand snacks, bottled signs, bottled rainbow flag drums, acoustic guitar, megaphone, social justice, leftover holiday candy, tons of friends, and lots of love are always helpful! Solidarity by the bucketful.

Q: Is there a “Best Time” to show up?
A: We’ve made the event last this long so that we can have diffeent peak times, allowing those with busy schedules time to arrive, even multiple times throughout the day. Check the schedule below… we are looking toward expecting peak times of 2pm and 5pm.

=========!*Cosmic Itenerary of Events*!========

12p Welcoming ceremony, initial gathering, and solidarity meetup
1p March to the Bibb County Courthouse, where a Cold Reading will expose the separatist nature of the bill as intended
2p We return to City Hall where we have a public discussion on how we can continue to move this and other issues forward
2.5 Break for food and drinks, this time to be also used to network!
3p Parting and ReWelcoming Ceremony/Youth Appreciation Meetup
4p Next Generation March to the Bibb County Courthouse

===============================================
http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/22/politics/georgia-religious-freedom-bill/

“Georgia Senate passes religious freedom bill!”

A few days ago, the Georgia Senate passed House Bill 757, a bill which gives businesses and government-funded organizations the right to deny services to individuals based on sexual orientation in the name of religious freedom. The bill also forces the government to protect the continued award of public funds regardless of, well, pretty much anything what-so-ever done against an individual who even construes that marriage could be more than between a man and a woman.

Not only is this an egregious attack on the rights of the individual citizen , it also dissuades businesses from setting up shop in Georgia due to an anxiety regarding a persistently discriminatory antiquated view of morality that continues to infect many in the state. In fact, WE HAVE ALREADY HAD A BUSINESS LEAVE before the State Senate even got their chance to pass the bill!
:::
http://www.advocate.com/business/2016/2/21/time-relocate-company-fleeing-georgia-after-passage-antigay-bill
:::

As Georgians in support of individual freedom, we lend our voices to those in opposition to this bill and demand that our representatives do away with this and any bill whose language denies the right of any individual to participate in government and private industry for religious reasons.

Religion is already protected under the first amendment; it does not provide exemptions to providing services or products for religious reasons. This is absurd discrimination that does not belong in 2016. That is why we will use the same amendment to demand that our government not impose more shackles on the actions of the individual.

Lend us your time and your voice on February 25 in front of City Hall, where we will protest and raise our voices in opposition to the bill and for the rights of our brothers and sisters in our community for which we stand in solidarity.

Big thanks to Liv Kledzik-Williams for her insight:
“[Whether you are] attending or not, everyone PLEASE take five minutes to call Gov. Deal’s office and tell his staffer you oppose this bill and why; post on social media and be sure to hashtag #NathanDeal along with anyone else who can aid in this (anything published that tags them WILL be pulled and noted by their staffers), and/or submit letters to the editor of your local paper. Public pressure, attention, and scrutiny are crucial, and grassroots/constituent driven efforts can make a huge difference because they will show we care about this.
*CALL Nathan Deal’s Atlanta office. Phone: 404-656-1776
*Submit LTE, word limit 250. (shorter the better)
http://www.macon.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/submit-letter/

Find your district numbers and legislators using your street address athttp://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/

Representative District Map Overlay: Upper for Senate, Lower for House
http://openstates.org/ga/

GA House of Representatives
http://www.house.ga.gov/Representatives/en-US/HouseMembersList.aspx

GA Senators http://www.senate.ga.gov/senators/en-US/SenateMembersList.aspx

Please write to, call, e-mail, tweet, tag, and otherwise contact your representatives and Governor Nathan Deal and implore them to deny the passage of this discrimination bill, and join us on Thursday to spread the word