Dozens of supporters braved harsh summer storms on Sunday to join Rev. Josh Noblitt for a picnic in Piedmont Park just two weeks after he was attacked and robbed at gunpoint in the same place.
Noblitt (second photo), the social justice minister at Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Midtown, invited people to join him for “Transform the Park: A Picnic” to reclaim the park and the spot where the attack took place. Storms that hung over Atlanta cleared in time for the event on Sunday afternoon.
“It is a sobering thing to have a loaded gun pressed against your head, and that moment has been branded into my memory forever,” Noblitt wrote in an “An Open Letter to the Beloved Community” after the attack.
“It has reminded me that life is short, tomorrow is not promised, and every moment is a precious gift not to be wasted,” he added.
Noblitt and boyfriend Trent Williams were robbed by a group of young men about 10 p.m. on July 2 as they sat in Piedmont Park. Noblitt and Williams fought their attackers until the teens called for others to join them, when Williams fled. Then one of the men brandished a handgun and robbed Noblitt, who suffered a visible head injury and complained of back pain after being punched and kicked, according to a report about the incident.
Six people, who ranged in age from 13 to 19, were arrested by Atlanta police just minutes after the incident.
Photos by Sher Pruitt