On the evening of September 2nd, over 250 people poured into The National Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta for the premiere of a new exhibit. The LGBT Institute at the Center was launched during the premiere of this exhibit, “Forward Together: A Look at Atlanta’s LGBT History Since Stonewall.”
The mission of The National Center for Civil and Human Rights is “to empower people to take the protection of every human’s rights personally.
Through sharing stories of courage and struggle around the world. The Center encourages visitors to gain a deeper understanding of the role they play in helping to protect the rights of all people.” The Center seeks to harness Atlanta’s legacy of civil rights to strengthen the worldwide movement for human rights.
The LGBT Institute is an essential part of The Center’s global civil and human rights platform and programming. The Global Faith and Justice Project is one of the LGBT Institute Partners. Michael J. Adee, Director of the Global Faith and Justice Project, serves on the LGBT Institute’s Programming Board.
The evening of September 2nd was a watershed moment for The Center and the community of Atlanta with the launch of the LGBT Institute and the premiere of “Forward Together: A Look at Atlanta’s LGBT History Since Stonewall.” The New York Times featured the launch of the institute in an article that magnified the unique contribution of connecting the issues and history of the LGBT movement with the civil rights movement.
The very existence of the LGBT Institute at a civil rights center illustrates a new day of approaching civil rights and social justice from an intersectional lens and trajectory. In the past, too often the African-American Civil Rights Movement was seen and experienced as a separate one from the LGBT equal rights movement.
As I looked around the Center’s lobby the evening of the premiere, I saw God’s wonderfully diverse rainbow people who were happily there together to celebrate Atlanta’s LGBT history and the launch of this new LGBT Institute.
The artificial divisions had fallen away as we came together as one community, one people committed to civil and human rights for all.
The mission and vision of The Center came alive that evening within that gathering. And, this is just the beginning of the LGBT Institute’s work to advance civil and human rights for all.