Moderated by Rick Badie
The number of homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens is growing here and nationwide. An Atlanta filmmaker has written and directed a fictional short film that he hopes generates meaningful discussion about the issue, especially in the South, where religion tends to play a substantial role in family dynamics. In the companion essay, an activist writes about his experience at a recent “Stop the Violence” rally. The third column outlines the city of Decatur’s concerns about maintaining a diverse community.
Film shows plight of homeless LGBT youth
By Rick Badie
The opening scene of “Unconditional,” a short film written, produced and directed by a local city official, introduces a juxtaposition that’s painful to watch. Bradley, an LGBT teen, looks in the mirror as he dons red lipstick, a complement to his polished nails.
A sticky note on the mirror says, “God loves me as a I am.” Bradley kisses his cross necklace.
A screening of “Unconditional” takes place 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday at the Plaza Theatre. Details: http://www.unconditionalfilm.com.
Lesson learned: Respect in the streets
By Kit Cummings
A week ago I was invited into a world that few from my neighborhood will ever see. I am a white man who grew up in the middle-class suburbs of a large Southern city. I go where I am invited and that one conviction has changed my life.
For example, five years ago I was invited into Georgia’s most violent and dangerous maximum security prison and my perspective began to change. What I expected to find, I didn’t find. Who I expected to meet weren’t necessarily there. Yes, there were dangerous men; there were gang members and criminals; there were those who do not need to be in the free world or in our communities. But there were also fathers, sons, brothers and grandfathers. I met real people. Since then I have been in hundreds of prisons and met thousands convicts and I continue to be surprised by who I find in there.
Kit Cummings, founder and president of the Power of Peace Project, Inc., is the author of “Peace Behind the Wire: A Nonviolent Resolution.”
Debating Decatur’s Future
By Casie Yoder
When I was preparing to move back to the metro area in 2013, I spoke to anyone who would listen about how affordable Atlanta was compared to Washington, D.C. I went on and on about the spacious two-bedroom garden apartment with a deck and its own driveway that I used to rent in the bottom of a Decatur ranch house, just blocks away from the Avondale MARTA station. I paid $720 a month for it, less than half of what my portion of the rent was to share a mostly windowless, low-ceiling basement in D.C.
I had a job lined up with the city of Decatur. It will be easy to find somewhere cheap to live, I thought, the memory of the $720 a month two-bedroom from just six years earlier vivid in my mind. I’d changed a lot in those six years and as my apartment hunt grew more desperate, I realized Decatur had, too. (I did eventually find a place, but for considerably more than $720). Once back here, it seemed that all anyone could talk about were the rapid changes in Decatur and the loss of diversity and how expensive real estate was getting. No one seemed to have hard facts, just stories like mine. The more I heard and saw, the more curious I became: What did the data say?
Casie Yoder, public information officer for Decatur, is a participant in the Anti-Defamation League’s 2015-2016 Glass Leadership Institute.