In an effort to give you gay Pride all year long, and not just by collecting national accolades for its namesake festival and parade, Atlanta Pride announces a new Valentine event to honor local pioneers in LGBT rights.

Just in time for the season of love, Pride hopes that “Our Founding Valentines: Celebrating Our Pioneers” becomes an annual reception. Its first honorees are Franklin Abbott, Berl Boykin, Mary Louise Covington, Diamond Lil (photo), Maria Helena Dolan, and Reverend Erin Swenson. We owe today’s gay Atlanta to them, says Buck Cooke, executive director of Atlanta Pride, in a prepared statement.

“These folks were organizing marches, participating in demonstrations, and creating LGBTQ culture in our city when it was truly radical and revolutionary and, in many ways, unsafe because of the opposition they faced from the establishment,” Cooke continues.

The free event remembers that historical time (photo) with munchies and a cash bar on Feb. 12 at No Mas! Cantina. It’s thrown in partnership with the Touching Up Our Roots gay Atlanta history group, which will provide displays for guests to learn about each honoree. While you clear your schedule, here’s the full announcement from Atlanta Pride.

2015 ATLANTA PRIDE COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES NEW ANNUAL EVENT

Atlanta, Georgia. – Today The Atlanta Pride Committee (APC) announced the details for a brand new annual tradition in partnership with Touching Up Our Roots, designed to recognize Atlanta’s LGBTQ trailblazers.  The event is titled:  Our Founding Valentines:  Celebrating Our Pioneers.

2015 marks the 45th anniversary of Pride in Atlanta.  Throughout the year, the Atlanta Pride Committee will be looking back on the rich history of Atlanta’s LGBT Community.  This program is one such way that we can remember those who came before us and recognize community icons upon whose shoulders we stand.

Elders to be recognized at this inaugural event are:  Franklin Abbott; Berl Boykin; Mary Louise Covington; Diamond Lil; Maria Helena Dolan; and Reverend Erin Swenson.  Informational panels will be on display during the event so that attendees can learn more about each of these pioneers and their work in our community.

Atlanta Pride Committee Executive Director, Buck Cooke, said of the program, “We wanted to honor the people who came before us to help create such a vibrant, thriving and diverse community in Atlanta.  These folks were organizing marches, participating in demonstrations, and creating LGBTQ culture in our city when it was truly radical and revolutionary and, in many ways, unsafe because of the opposition they faced from the establishment.”

The event will be held on Thursday, February 12, 2015, from 7p-9p at No Mas! Cantina at 180 Walker St., in Atlanta. Atlanta Pride will graciously accept donations to help defray event costs.

Cooke added, “We are extremely grateful for the support of our small business partner, No Mas! Cantina and Hacienda and we thank them for hosing this event.  Having an event in their space is a great way to get people to visit a faithful supporter of the local LGBTQ community and, hopefully, make No Mas! a part of their routine when they dine out or shop for art and furniture.”

For the most up-to-date schedule visit our website or download our Official Mobile Application for Android and iOS users.

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About Atlanta Pride: The main purpose of the Atlanta Pride Committee (APC,) a 501 (c) 3 organization, is to promote unity, visibility and self-esteem among lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender and queer persons and to promote a positive image in the Atlanta area and throughout the Southeastern United States through community activities and services.

The main mission of the APC is to provide lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender and queer persons with cultural and educational programs and activities which enhance mental and physical health, provide social support, and foster an awareness of the past and present contributions of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender and queer persons, through community activities and services, including an annual Pride event.