It’s that time of year when journalists are stuck without actual stories to write, so they focus on rehashing their work and slapping a “Best of the Year” label on it. At least the Sunday Paper’s list includes a gay guy we know.
The paper assembled its “People of the Year,” calling it “an honor roll of courage and perseverence” for people who made the year what it was. Among the four honorees and five honorable mentions is Kyle Keyser, the gay guy who launched a grassroots anti-crime group and then ran for mayor to further shake up the city establishment.
Not for nothing, his campaign created the most interesting commercials of the mayor’s race and he also throws a kick-ass party, but the Sunday Paper didn’t include that in its blurb on why Keyser made the list:
History is shaped by courageous people who stand up and speak out, even though they risk their own safety to do so. Perhaps 2009 would have been easier for Keyser if he had just quietly reported his late 2008 robbery and never risen to local prominence by starting the several-thousand-member grass roots group Atlantans Together Against Crime (ATAC). But being held at gunpoint and shaken down for a skinny wallet left him with the indelible impression that what happened to him has happened to many other Atlantans, and that simply should not be.
Keyser built a rallying point of comfort and empowerment for those similarly touched by the city’s crime problem, and made them a political power to be reckoned with, instinctually brokering their voting weight to make public safety the focal point of this year’s mayoral election. He went so far as to run for mayor himself, just to keep the issue on voters’ minds.
A videographer by trade, Keyser, like others in his industry, saw his professional fortunes wane. But despite falling behind on his mortgage, and a May interview in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in which a reporter asked “You’re just a little crime magnet, aren’t you?,” the soft-spoken Keyser soldiered on and kept his movement together. Only those for whom he has advocated rank higher on our list of notables this year.