Black LGBTQ Georgia officials join new ‘Good Trouble’ coalition

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Four Georgia leaders are among roughly 40 others invited to the first national coalition of Black LGBTQ elected officials.

The Good Trouble Network seeks to advance policies and practices that benefit Black LGBTQ people across the U.S. The National Black Justice Coalition launched the network in September.

State Rep. Renitta Shannon, a Democrat from Decatur, is excited to be a part of the endeavor. She kicked off her campaign for Georgia lieutenant governor last week.

“This group is being convened to meet the unique needs of serving in public office while living at the intersection of being Black and LGBTQ+,” Shannon told Project Q Atlanta. “Together, we will be able to advance our collective fight for equity and justice for our communities.”

In the next year, the Good Trouble Network looks to reduce violence against transgender people, lower the Black LGBTQ poverty rate and pass nondiscrimination laws including the federal Equality Act.

State Rep. Park Cannon accepted an invitation to join the Good Trouble Network of Black LGBTQ elected officials. (Photo by James L. Hicks)

An iconic legacy

Late U.S. Rep. John Lewis coined the phrase “good trouble” to describe his lifelong work. The new network name honors the Atlanta civil rights icon and equality advocate, who died in 2020.

State Rep. Park Cannon, a Democrat from Atlanta, was one of five finalists considered to replace Lewis on the ballot for the 5th Congressional District election that year. Cannon is also no stranger to “good trouble.” She joined the Good Trouble Network and attended its inaugural meeting last month.

“I am honored to join a dynamic group of Black LGBTQ+ elected officials as we work to create a nation where Black LGBTQ+/SGL people are embraced and able to thrive,” Cannon said in a press release.

Black LGBTQ people experience significantly higher rates of poverty, food insecurity and violence than other queer people, she added.

“I look forward to learning how members of the network are solving these issues in their home states and help bring solutions to these crucial issues back to Georgia,” Cannon said.

Coalitions like the Good Trouble Network offer leaders a unique chance to “lift up” issues that often go unaddressed, said Gwinnett County School Board Chair Everton Blair. He is the first Black and first LGBTQ person to lead that five-person panel.

“I’m confident this network will help us take experiences among Black LGBTQ communities and provide us the thought partnership to be stronger advocates in Black spaces, LGBTQ spaces and all spaces generally,” Blair said.

The Good Trouble Network also invited state Sen. Kim Jackson, a Democrat from Atlanta. She is Georgia’s first openly LGBTQ state senator.

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