We had no idea what to expect as far as turnout to We Still Have a Dream, but at the peak there were a little over 100 of us standing on the southwest corner of Auburn and Jackson to convey our protest message. Unfortunately we were cordoned off well away from where most of the general public was entering Ebenezer, which we found a bit concerning from a free assembly perspective, but it wasn't a loss, as the most important audience (the media) took notice.
As an organization, we'd like to thank the Atlanta Black LGBT Coalition for their hard work and dedication in planning this event. While many people came into this with different views and ideas, the Coalition showed strong leadership. Without them, the event would not have been as successful as it was.
We have to take a moment to clarify one point of information glossed over by the news media. GLBT|ATL and the Atlanta Black LGBT Coalition did not participate in the in-church protest action conducted by another organization. We certainly appreciate the great diversity of thought in this country that makes it possible for us to express our disagreements in a public forum, and the many methods by which points like these can be expressed. And admittedly, there was probably a little part in each of us, nagging us to confront Rick Warren directly too. However, for the Coalition and GLBT|ATL, we decided in the end to confine our protest action to the outside grounds, to keep our demonstration closely in line with Dr. King's own vision and nonviolent methods.
Tonight we've started to post the news video we've accumulated onto our YouTube channel, and the clips should start showing up a little while after this post. For the moment, here's a sampling of the print news and blog coverage we've found since the demonstration:
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Outside Ebenezer Church, gay rights activists protest
- Southern Voice: Gay protest greets Rick Warren at Atlanta MLK service (with videos)
- Project Q Atlanta: Gay protest targets Rick Warren’s stop in Atlanta
- Atlanta Progressive News: Rick Warren Protesters Diverge over Tactics at Ebenezer
- Rod 2.0:Beta: Atlanta Gays Protest Rick Warren at Ebenezer MLK Day Service (with many links to a lot of good background information)
- Orange County Register: [Gay activists protest as Saddleback Church pastor speaks in Atlanta] (Warren's home newspaper)
- The Telegraph (UK): Protests held over Rick Warren's role in ceremony
...So, you ask, where are we going from here? "That's a good question."
GLBT|ATL is going to be taking a well-needed breather from protest actions for a while, and take this time to refocus on our original purpose: raising awareness. The gay community and our friends and allies have been somewhat dormant for about eight years (must be a coincidence...) and it's time for us to get out there, have fun, and be ourselves again. We have some possible event ideas in the planning stages; though it's a little too early to go into details yet, we'll be putting together some methods of outreach intended to get the LGBT community and the rest of Atlanta talking once again.
We're also looking to connect with you, those who have reawakened from political hibernation to the possibility of a brighter future for all of us. While this blog and the announcement list have been somewhat one-sided, we're going to open up some online discussion forums shortly, and are looking into ways to bring a more social aspect back to social networking. If you're particularly motivated or just have a good idea for an interesting event, please don't hesitate to contact us directly. Our small handful of people may be able to put together small activities today, but we really want to get people together again, to help to put the community back into Atlanta's GLBT community.