Call and Response: Atlanta Pride’s Post-Election Community Reinvestment Plan

Dear Beloved Community,

Just a few short weeks ago, many of us gathered together to observe the 46th annual Atlanta Pride event. This year’s event was a great success. We had record attendance and a more diverse crowd than ever before. We held our biggest Trans March, welcomed a beautiful array of performers, created our inaugural healing space, and provided intentional spaces for youth and elders. Many of us were energized about the impending election and all of the things we hoped it would bring.

For many, the Pride Festival serves as respite from a world that does not love and value us because of who we love, the color of our skin, where we come from, or our gender expression. For some of us, even the Pride Festival is not respite enough from these things, and for those people, we continue to work on ourselves as well as the world around us. This year’s celebration happened against a backdrop of violence and resistance to violence, hope and a pressing need for change, excitement and exhaustion. And, just a few short weeks later, we are left with even more uncertainty about what the future holds for LGBTQ and allied people in our state and our country.

Since the recent presidential election, I have had many personal conversations with individuals I love and respect about where we go from here, but I have been quiet as the Executive Director of Atlanta Pride. It’s been clear to me that we have a renewed responsibility to each other and our community to push forward, but I’ve been searching for exactly what that commitment looks like for a Pride organization. In recent years, Atlanta Pride has more than doubled our non-festival programming. In the last year, we have facilitated queer history events, events to highlight intimate partner violence in our community, racial justice talks, and interfaith dialogue. These events have been well attended and full of energy. We’ve invested in intentional partnerships with other queer and progressive organizations, and we’ve taken the opportunities to learn from other leaders in the movements for equality and freedom.

In 2016, we also recommitted our efforts to community reinvestment, allocating more than $35,000 to supporting other LGBTQ and allied organizations in the region. Atlanta Pride’s commitment to giving back financially is long standing with the organization giving back more than $138,000 since 2005. Even in the financially difficult years after we were compelled to move from our June date, we continued to give because that giving is important to who we are.

And so, in response to these uncertain times, we see no other way but to redouble our efforts for justice. Atlanta Pride commits to further expanding our educational and social justice programming in 2017, shining our light on and offering support to those most vulnerable members of our community. We commit to continue doing the hard work of liberation and calling each other up with love inside our organization and across Pride organizations. We also commit to putting more of our resources on the line in a tangible way. As such, we are committing an additional $10,000 to community reinvestment before the year’s end. We’ll be giving these grants to organizations that are supporting those most affected by the results of the recent presidential election in our region. We seek applications from organizations led by queer people of color, immigrants, Muslims, transgender individuals, women, youth, and others on the margins. If you are a part of an organization or know of one that fits the bill, please fill out our application by December 5.

If there is anything about which I can be certain about right now, it’s that we need each other. We need to call upon each other to be our own best selves, to care for ourselves and our community, and to support each other in that work. Our people have always been resilient, and we can use these hard times that we did not ask for to fuel our movement towards justice. We have a hope and a vision that will not be silenced. I cannot say that it will be easy, but I believe that we were made for this work in this time. I am grateful to be in the work with each one of you.

In love and Pride,

Jamie Fergerson
Executive Director
Atlanta Pride Committee