Board Members Needed

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The Common Ground LGBT Community Center needs board members!

The center is already a recognized 501c3 organization but it currently does not have its own building.  With community support we will get there.

Please join us for a meeting on Saturday, November 4 at 11:30am at Dondero’s Kitchen: 590 N Milledge Ave, Athens, GA 30601: http://donderoskitchen.com/

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LGBT Book Club- June

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Our second book is Lez Talk: A Collection of Black Lesbian Short Fiction edited by S. Andrea Allen & Lauren Cherelle

A necessary and relevant addition to the Black LGBTQ literary canon, which oftentimes overlooks Black lesbian writing, Lez Talk is a collection of short stories that embraces the fullness of Black lesbian experiences. The contributors operate under the assumption that “lesbian” is not a dirty word, and have written stories that amplify the diversity of Black lesbian lives.

At once provocative, emotional, adventurous, and celebratory, Lez Talk crosses a range of fictional genres, including romance, speculative, and humor. The writers explore new subjects and aspects of their experiences, and affirm their gifts as writers and lesbian women.

The book is available at AVID Bookshop in Athens, GA: http://www.avidbookshop.com/welcome

See the flyer for location and time. Even if you only had time to read a couple of the short stories, you should still join us!

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Pulse Orlando Commemoration- Athens, GA

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On June 12, 2016 in Orlando, FL, the LGBT night club called Pulse became the scene of the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in modern U.S. history. That night, 49 of our sisters and brothers were killed and 53 others were injured.

On June 12, 2017 at 12pm, we will gather at the UGA Chapel bell to honor the 49 innocent victims by ringing the bell 49 times. Before each ring we will ask the crowd to speak each name.
Details at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1884462301769286

On June 13, 2017 we invite you to CenterSpace at the Athens Clarke County Public Library. Please come share your thoughts about the tragedy and your hope for the future. CenterSpace is a safe space for respectful community conversations. https://www.facebook.com/events/1504310359641789

We will never forget!

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
Juan Chavez Martinez, 25 years old
Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
Cory James Connell, 21 years old
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, 25 years old
Christopher “Drew” Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
KJ Morris, 37 years old
Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
Luis Daniel Lestat Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Common Ground Game Night- May 23

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The Common Ground LGBT Community Center is hosting a game night on May 23 at 6:30pm.

If you have a fun card game or board game, please bring it along to share.

Straight allies are welcome to attend

RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/events/1774443752867815/CG-Game night-may23

LGBT+ Book Club- April 25

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Our first book is going to be Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin!

Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully.

Whether this is your first introduction to transgender issues or if you’re ready to discuss the importance of #ownvoices and if this book qualifies, join us on April 25 at Avid Bookshop!

Straight Allies welcome to attend

RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/events/676033489265612/

 

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CenterSpace LGBT Support Group- April 11

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The Common Ground LGBT Community Center will facilitate *CenterSpace on the 2nd Tuesday of April.

LGBT people are marginalized in our society due to hate and discrimination. CenterSpace creates a safe space where LGBT people can hang out, support each other and have their stories prioritized and centered.

If you have a fun card game or board game to share, please bring it along.

Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans individuals who are 18+ are invited to attend.

April 11- Lay Park

RSVP at  https://www.facebook.com/events/1230191227094261/centerspacef

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We are hosting a meetup for members of the lesbian, gay, bi, trans and straight ally community. Please come out and catch up with old friends and make some new ones.

Common Ground will be having events on 2nd & 4th Tuesdays
Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

Common Ground Organizing Meeting

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2017 is the year we will establish the Common Ground: LGBT Community Center in Athens, GA.  We need your support.  Please join us at the first organizing meeting!

Monday, February 6, 2017, 7pm

Athens Clarke County Library

1st floor, Room B

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5th annual Spirit Day Event in Athens, GA

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October 20th is #SpiritDay!

Millions wear purple on Spirit Day to take a stand against bullying and to show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) youth.

Since 2012, Athens, GA has hosted a Spirit Day to bring the LGBTQ & Straight Ally community together.

Free food from Depalma’s!

Please wear purple to this event and bring a donation if you are able.
All donations will be used to establish the Common Ground LGBT Community Center.
If you cannot attend, checks can be made out to Common Ground and sent to PO Box 843 Athens, GA 30603

If you are on Facebook, please RSVP here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/203879120034909/

For more information about Spirit Day, please visit:
http://www.glaad.org/spiritday

If you have questions, please email Ricky Roberts at e.rickyroberts@gmail.com

Anti-LGBT bill Vetoed!

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Transcript: Deal HB 757 remarks

The following is a complete transcript of Gov. Nathan Deal’s remarks regarding HB 757, delivered at a news conference on March 28, 2016.

The decision surrounding HB 757 has generated more intense feelings that most legislation, perhaps because it has highlighted the concerns of many in our religious communities regarding the actions of federal courts, especially the United States Supreme Court in its 5-4 opinion last summer which legalized same-sex marriage. (Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S.(2015)).

HB 757 enumerates certain actions that religious leaders, faith-based organizations and people of faith shall not be required to take or perform. These include solemnizing a marriage, attending such marriages, hiring church personnel or renting church property when such acts would be contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs. While most people would agree that government should not force such actions, there has not been a single instance of such taking place in Georgia. If there has been any case of this type in our state it has not been called to my attention. The examples being cited by the proponents of this bill have occurred in other states that have very different laws than Georgia.

One example that is used is the photographer in New Mexico who refused to photograph a same-sex marriage (Elane Photography, LLC v. Willock, 309 P. 3d53 (2013)).  That state has a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but it was not applicable. It was the New Mexico Human Rights Act that determined the results in that case. Georgia does not have a Human Rights Act.

The second case that is cited is that of the bakery in Colorado that refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. There the court ruling was based on Colorado’s Public Accommodation Act which prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation (Craig v. Masterpiece Cakeshop, Inc. P 3d_(2015)). Georgia does not have a Public Accommodation Act.

Therefore, as I have examined the protections this bill seeks to provide to religious organizations and people of faith I can find no examples that any of the things this bill seeks to protect us against have ever occurred in Georgia. It is also apparent that the cases being cited from other states occurred because those state had passed statutes that specifically protected their citizens from adverse actions based on their sexual orientation. Georgia has no such statutes.

HB 757 appeared in several forms during the recent session of the Georgia General Assembly. I had no objection to the “Pastor Protection Act” that was passed by the House of Representatives. The other versions of the bill, however, contained language that could give rise to state-sanctioned discrimination. I did have problems with that and made my concerns known as did many other individuals and organizations, including some within the faith-based community.

I appreciate the efforts of the General Assembly to address these concerns and my actions today in no way disparage their motivations on those who support this bill, Their efforts to purge this bill of any possibility that it will allow or encourage discrimination illustrates how difficult it is to legislate on something that is best left to the broad protections of the First Amendment to the United State Constitution. That may be why our Founding Fathers did not attempt to list in detail the circumstances that religious liberty embraced. Instead, they adopted what the late Supreme Court Justice Scalia referred to as “negative protection.” That is, rather than telling the government what it can do regarding religion, they told the government what it could not do, namely, “establish a religion or interfere with the free exercise thereof.” They had previously proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that Man’s Creator had endowed all men “with certain unalienable rights,” including “Liberty” which embraces religious liberty. They made it clear that those liberties were given by God and not by man’s government. Therefore, it was unnecessary to enumerate in statute or constitution what those liberties included.

In light of our history, I find it ironic that today some in the religious community feel it necessary to ask the government to confer upon them certain rights and protections. If indeed our religious liberty is conferred by God and not by man-made government, we should heed the “hands-off” admonition of the First Amendment to our Constitution. When legislative bodies attempt to do otherwise, the inclusions and omissions in their statutes can lead to discrimination, even though it may be unintentional. That is too great a risk to take.

Some of those in the religious community who support this bill have resorted to insults that question my moral convictions and my character. Some within the business community who oppose this bill have resorted to threats of withdrawing jobs from our state. I do not respond well to insults or threats. The people of Georgia deserve a leader who will make sound judgments based on solid reasons that are not inflamed by emotion. That is what I intend to do.

As I’ve said before, I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia of which my family and I are a part of for all of our lives. Our actions on HB 757 are not just about protecting the faith-based community or providing a business-friendly climate for job growth in Georgia. This is about the character of our State and the character of its people. Georgia is a welcoming state filled with warm, friendly and loving people. Our cities and countryside are populated with people who worship God in a myriad of ways and in very diverse settings. Our people work side-by-side without regard to the color of our skin, or the religion we adhere to. We are working to make life better for our families and our communities. That is the character of Georgia. I intend to do my part to keep it that way.

For that reason, I will veto HB 757.

 

From: http://gov.georgia.gov/press-releases/2016-03-28/transcript-deal-hb-757-remarks-0