Atlanta Pride And Touching Up Our Roots Honors LGBTQ Pioneers In the Arts

This is the 6th annual “Our Founding Valentines” event hosted by Atlanta Pride and “Touching up our Roots.”

Boyd Lewis

Atlanta Pride and Touching Up Our Roots will honor LGBTQ pioneers in the arts tonight at the 6th Annual Our Founding Valentines event. “City Lights” producer Summer Evans spoke with event coordinator Dave Hayward and Founding Valentine honoree – slam poet, Theresa Davis.

Haywards organization, Touching Up Our Roots, mainly focuses on preserving LGBTQ stories for generations to come.

“We have an interesting situation in our community because we basically lost so much of a generation, my generation, the AIDS generation. There’s a real disconnect in the community, through no one’s fault, it’s just that there’s people that aren’t here anymore to talk about the origins. We try to not speak for anybody, but we try and do the best by getting their stories out,” Hayward said.

Other honorees:

The Armorettes a camp drag ensemble that became a fundraising juggernaut to support people coping with AIDS in the 1980s until today. They’ve raised more than $2.3 million for HIV and AIDS support services. They’re the longest-running drag queen troupe in the United States.

Linda Bryant and Charis Books and more –  The nation’s oldest feminist bookstore. Founded by Linda Bryant and others in 1974 to elevate women and LGBTQ authors and people.

T. Cooper – Trans rights activist and documentarian. In 2019, he debuted his documentary “Man Made“, which won 14 festival awards. He’s a professor of Creative Writing and English at Emory University and a consultant for the TV series “The Blacklist.”

Mettle and Pluck Productions- creators of the documentary “Queer Moxie,” a film that celebrates the impact, evolution and spirit of Atlanta’s queer LGBT performance art.

Red Dyke Theatre lead by Mickey Alberts, Fran Pici, and Jaen Black. The theatre was formed in the 1970s as a political theatre group. Their main purpose was to entertain lesbians and celebrate their sexuality.

Posthumous Award: 

Tony Daniels of Adodi Muse– Adodi Muse was Atlanta’s only African-American gay performance collective. Tony Daniels was a black gay man living with HIV who was a prominent activist in the community.