As Atlanta embraces its cornerstone status in the civil rights movement over MLK Weekend, a dedicated group of LGBT Atlantans honors its experience by breaking bread en mass on Martin Luther King Day for the 14th year.

What started as 20 people in a private affair organized by Darlene Hudson and Craig Washington (photo) in 2002, swelled in recent years to more than 250 people. This year’s Bayard Rustin Audre Lorde Atlanta Breakfast moves to the Loudermilk Center on Monday, Jan. 19 to accommodate an expected crowd of hundreds.

As has become tradition in gay Atlanta, volunteers will whip up a hearty breakfast buffet that’s free to all comers from all walks of life. Volunteers include HRC Atlanta as part of its HRC MLK Weekend Days of Service helping set up, serve and clean up the breakfast. Their service also includes hours at the Lost N Found Youth Thrift Store on Saturday, Jan. 17.

The event attracts a crowd and calls attention to the contributions of Rustin—a gay man, civil rights activist and top lieutenant to Martin Luther King, Jr.—and lesbian poet, author and activist Lorde. The diverse attendance is sure to again include the smiles of regular folks mixing with the famous faces of politicians, high-profile local LGBT activists and entertainers. Speakers, entertainers and a moderated discussion of issues are all on tap.

Washington and Hudson continue to lead the committee responsible for the breakfast. They outline their vision for this year’s theme “Justice, Freedom, and Desire: A Homecoming Pt II” in a prepared statement.

We proudly celebrate the theme Justice, Freedom, and Desire: A Homecoming Pt II because in doing so we assert the values of the crucial words and actions of our fellow leaders and activists, such as this call to action by Bayard Rustin - “When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.”

The planning group for the Rustin/Lorde Breakfast upholds our shared legacy by standing in solidarity with individuals who have protested against police brutality targeting people of color, and have worked to create safety and freedom of expression towards building a “beloved community” as expressed by the late Dr. King. This work as demonstrated by LGBTQ people of color involved in liberation movements must be intersectional and not single issue focused. 

“We each as individuals, groups, and organizations have an important role in determining our future and we are strengthened when we do the work collectively,” said co-founder Darlene Hudson.

As in every year, an LGBT contingent from the breakfast will make its way to the corner of Peachtree and Ellis Streets for the 2 p.m. citywide Martin Luther King Junior March and Rally. The march winds its way to Auburn Avenue near the King Center for the annual rally for social justice. This year’s honorary LGBT grand marshal who will speak at the rally is performing artist, activist and GreaterThanAIDS #SpeakOut organizer Mickyel Bradford.

The 14th Annual Rustin-Lorde Breakfast takes place Monday, Jan, 19 at the Loudermilk Center, 9:30 a.m. View photos from the event in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009.