One of the biggest weekends for businesses in down town Augusta: Pride weekend has officially started.
Singer Natalie La Rose headlined Friday night’s ‘Beats on Broad.’ Hundreds came out to support a community that, at times, is misunderstood.
“I want to see more acceptance,” Emily Edwards, an LGBT community member, told NewsChannel 6.
Friday night was the first time Edwards felt genuinely supported. She made the drive from Statesboro to experience her first Pride event.
“Most people there think it is wrong per say,” She said of Statesboro. “They don’t really know how to accept it.”
But a group at Beats On Broad is working at the state capitol to change that. Shannon Clawson with Georgia Equality not only educates people on LGBT acceptance, she also expresses the importance of HIV testing. The Centers for Disease Control says gay and bisexual men account for 70% of new HIV infections in the US.
But there’s more: “We will register anyone to vote and educate anybody on civic engagement and how to get to the polls and make a difference,” Clawson said.
Georgia is one of three states in the nation that doesn’t have comprehensive civil rights legislation, meaning, Georgians are not protected based on faith, race and sexual orientation in the workplace. Right now, Georgia Equality is working a campaign to try to change that.
Here locally, Augusta Pride President says people who identify as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or trans-gender are no different than you or me: “Love is the most powerful word, adjective, movement in the entire world,” Lonzo Smith expressed. “This is all that this is about: The right to express love and the right to live your life as authentically as you can.”
The celebration continues Saturday morning. The annual Augusta Pride Parade kicks off at 10:30 a.m.
Photojournalist: Antony Sherrod