Georgia Equality honors its champions [photos]

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VIEW PHOTOS | Evening for Equality with Georgia Equality @ Ventanas

imageNeed a reminder that this is election season? Just check the roster of elected officials and candidates on hand last week for Georgia Equality’s signature event.

The annual Evening for Equality honors the good work of LGBT activists and allies. But during election season — the primary is July 20 — the evening attracts a Who’s Who of progressive elected officials and candidates. The event on Thursday in downtown Atlanta at Ventanas was no exception.

imageThe honorary host was Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell (top photo left), who took office last year with a heavy dose of gay support.

Gay officials were on hand — including City Council member Alex Wan and state Rep. Simone Bell (second photo right) — as well as LGBT candidates such as Joan Garner. Other elected officials in the crowd included Fulton County Commission Chair John Eaves (top photo center); state Reps. Mike Jacobs, Margaret Kaiser, Kathy Ashe, Rashad Taylor and Alisha Thomas Morgan; and state Sen. Gail Buckner.

“Our city is built on a diversity of voices,” Mitchell said in welcoming attendees.

imageA humorous moment — at least for political wonks who watch this sort of stuff — came during the VIP reception prior to the main event. That’s when Eaves — who’s stumbling over same-sex marriage — turned in the crowd only to face Mary Norwood (third photo), the energetic former mayoral candidate who supports gay marriage and is now running to unseat Eaves. The two exchanged pleasantries and Eaves quickly moved away.

It’s unlikely to be that friendly on Wednesday. That’s when Norwood heads to court for a hearing in her lawsuit against Eaves over access to the ballot this fall.

But beyond politicians stumping for LGBT votes, Evening for Equality also fetes those who work on behalf of gay issues and Georgia Equality handed out four awards. Ken Britt (third photo right), who works with local and national LGBT groups, received the Phillip Rush Community Builder Award; retiring Fulton County Commissioner Nancy Boxill received the Guiding Star Award; leaders of the Georgia Safe Schools Coalition were awarded with the Champions for Equality Award; and Jacobs (bottom photo right) took home the inaugural Allen Thornell Political Advancement Award.

image“Because of the efforts of so many people here, we are able to make strides toward equality,” said Jeff Graham (bottom photo center), Georgia Equality’s executive director. “It is happening. We are on the right side of history. That’s what we are here to honor tonight.”

Photos by Sher Pruitt

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