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Election 2020: Georgia candidates answer questions on COVID-19, healthcare, protests, and more

2020 Georgia Election Candidate Questionnaires

Photograph by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

The 2020 election has already proven to be a historic one, especially here in Georgia. The state has more registered voters than ever (7.6 million, according to the AJC), 1 million new voters since the last presidential election, and we’ve seen record turnout in absentee voting and a surge in early voting. Across the country, political observers are keeping a close eye on Georgia to see if the state will re-elect President Donald Trump or elect a Democratic president for the first time since 1992.

But you’ve heard plenty about the presidential race, and it’s far from the only heated competition on the ballot this year. We came up with a list of questions for the candidates in several of metro Atlanta’s federal races: the two open U.S. Senate seats and the 5th, 6th, and 7th Congressional District seats. We sent the same set of questions to each set of opposing candidates so that you can see how their answers vary.

Unfortunately, not all the candidates had responded to our questions as of press time, but if we receive their answers before Election Day, we will publish them as soon as possible. In the meantime, we have provided links to their campaign websites.

U.S. Senate

This statewide race will appear on all Georgia ballots.

U.S. Senate

This race for former Sen. Johnny Isakson’s seat is also known as the “jungle primary” due to the fact that there was no primary for this seat. That means there are 21 total candidates are on the ballot. This statewide race will appear on all Georgia ballots.

5th Congressional District

This race is for the seat held by Rep. John Lewis, who died in July. (Note that the race on the November ballot will determine who serves the term beginning in 2021. A separate runoff election between Kwanza Hall and Robert Franklin, to be held in December, will determine who holds this seat only for the rest of 2020.) Georgia’s 5th District includes the City of Atlanta, Decatur, East Point, College Park, Hapeville, Forest Park, and Morrow.

6th Congressional District

Georgia’s 6th District includes Brookhaven, Chamblee, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, East Cobb, Roswell, Alpharetta, Milton, and Johns Creek.

  • Democrat Lucy McBath is the incumbent
  • Republican Karen Handel has not yet provided responses to our questions, but you can visit her campaign website here.

7th Congressional District

Georgia’s 7th District includes Peachtree Corners, Norcross, Lilburn, Duluth, Snellville, Lawrenceville, Suwanee, Sugar Hill, and Cumming.

A half-century of LGBTQ+ milestones in Atlanta

Participants in the 1977 Atlanta Pride Parade
Participants in the 1977 Atlanta Pride Parade

Photograph courtesy of Jerome McClendon/AJC/GSU collection

August 5, 1969

Atlanta Police raid Ansley Mall Mini Cinema’s screening of Andy Warhol’s gay-themed Lonesome Cowboys, taking photos of the approximately 70 attendees. A manager is arrested, and the film is seized by police. The raid inspires the formation of the Georgia Gay Liberation Front.

June 1970

On the first anniversary of New York City’s Stonewall Uprising in Greenwich Village, Atlanta’s first Gay Pride rally, comprised of a ragtag group of about 100 people, mostly white men in jeans and T-shirts, takes place in Piedmont Park—with some bravely strolling sidewalks carrying “Equal Rights for Gays” placards. Atlanta is among a handful of cities to mark the anniversary.

July 1972

Approximately 100 Atlanta “Gay Pride Day” participants marching down Peachtree Street are greeted with “stony contempt,” “disbelief,” “smiles,” and “flashed peace signs” by onlookers, reports the Great Speckled Bird, a long-running local underground newspaper.

June 1973

A photo published in the Atlanta Barb, one of the city’s first gay newspapers, shows a female participant marching with a paper sack over her head and carrying a sign that says, “If I Showed My Face I Would Lose My Job. How Would You Like To Live Like This?” For members of Georgia’s LGBTQ+ community, this danger remained until the U.S. Supreme Court granted workplace protections on June 15, 2020.


Linda Bryant and Barbara Borgman open Charis Books & More in Little Five Points, one of the nation’s first feminist bookstores. The word Charis, from the Greek lexicon, means grace or gift or thanks. Among the store’s first author visits: Maya Angelou.


The legendary 24-hour disco palace Backstreet debuts.


Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson issues the city’s first Gay Pride Day proclamation. A group of Southern Baptists tries unsuccessfully to get the proclamation revoked.


Bulldogs, a tiny bar which is still the epicenter of Atlanta’s Black gay party scene, opens.

Hotlanta Raft Race
The Hotlanta Raft Race launched in 1978

Photograph courtesy of Special Collections & Archives, Georgia State University Library


Sometimes described as the granddaddy of Atlanta’s gay circuit parties, the first Hotlanta Raft Race floats down the Chattahoochee River with about 200 participants. The annual summer tradition (later called the Hotlanta River Expo) lasts for a quarter century.

RuPaul & The U-Hauls on The American Music show
RuPaul & The U-Hauls on The American Music show

Photograph by James Bond


Producer Dick Richards—a media pioneer whose video archives of Atlanta’s queer life are now housed at Emory University—launches the low-budget Atlanta public access TV show the American Music Show, chronicling the city’s underground music and drag scene. Running until 2005, the show helps to launch the career of RuPaul Charles. In his autobiography, Lettin It All Hang Out, RuPaul dedicates an entire chapter to the show and, during his 2018 Emmy acceptance speech, publicly thanks Richards, who dies of leukemia just days before the telecast.


Founded by Graham Burton and originally located on Charles Street, AID Atlanta opens. Caitlin Ryan becomes the organization’s first executive director. In 2020, with offices in Atlanta and Newnan offering testing, education, and prevention programs, the nonprofit has evolved into one of the most comprehensive AIDS service organizations in the Southeast.


Local bartender Michael Hardwick is arrested on sodomy charges when a cop enters his apartment to serve a warrant (later ruled invalid) and finds him having sex with another man. Hardwick sues Georgia attorney general Michael Bowers, and the case makes its way to the Supreme Court, which on June 30, 1986 upholds the law in a ruling for Bowers and the state. In 1997, Bowers, then the leading Republican candidate for Georgia governor, admits to a decade-long affair. In a 1998 interview with George magazine, Bowers’s mistress, Anne Davis, says, “As far as sodomy is concerned, Mike Bowers is a hypocrite.” Later that year, Georgia’s own Supreme Court overturns the state’s anti-sodomy law, ruling that private consensual sodomy between adults is protected by state privacy rights (Powell v. State). SCOTUS reverses itself in 2003.


Diamond Lil (born Phillip Forrester), a pioneering drag performer and social activist, releases a full-length album, Diamond Lil Sings Silver Grill.


Emily Saliers and Amy Ray, two childhood friends and former Shamrock High School chorus members from Decatur, perform their first acoustic show as the Indigo Girls.


Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young signs the first city proclamation celebrating Gay Pride Week.


With support from then councilman John Lewis, Atlanta city council passes an amendment to the city charter prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, sex, religion, national origin, age, handicap, or sexual orientation. Mayor Andrew Young signs the ordinance, making Atlanta the first city in the South to pass gay rights legislation.


Spearheaded by activist Rebecca Ranson, Atlanta’s award-winning LGBTQ+ film festival, Out on Film, debuts. It remains one of the oldest and most attended such festivals in the country.


The AIDS Survival Project has its first board meeting. The statewide nonprofit becomes a much-needed resource for community-based advocacy and HIV treatment education before closing its doors in 2008.


Christina Cash and Leigh VanderEls launch the now-defunct LGBTQ+ weekly newspaper Southern Voice, which would attract 100,000 readers. Cash helps start Georgia Voice in 2010.

Elton John
Elton John supported local aids nonprofits.

Photograph by Express Newspapers/AP


Borrowing an idea from a San Francisco meals on wheels program, Michael Edwards-Pruitt rounds up some of his neighbors to cook and deliver meals to 14 friends who were dying from AIDS. Project Open Hand first operates out of  St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church on Lavista Road. Elton John would personally deliver Project Open Hand’s 25 millionth meal. Now called Open Hand Atlanta, the nonprofit has expanded its mission to cook and deliver 5,000 meals daily for disabled Atlantans. In 2020, OHA is also delivering emergency meals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


For his work on behalf of gay rights, Congressman John Lewis is honored with the inaugural Dan Bradley Humanitarian Award, named for one of the Human Rights Campaign’s founders, at the queer advocacy nonprofit’s Atlanta dinner.


The first Jerusalem House, located in the city’s Druid Hills/Virginia-Highland area, opens to house five Atlantans with AIDS. Serving more than 600 Atlantans in 2020, the nonprofit is the oldest and largest provider of permanent housing for the city’s low-income and homeless individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS.


Members of the Atlanta chapter of the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power, or ACT UP, open and close the year with a pair of headline-grabbing protests. In January, the group marches on the state capitol to protest government inaction on the AIDS epidemic. In December, members are arrested while protesting at the CDC on behalf of women diagnosed with AIDS who then were not included in the official definition and, as a result, were excluded from government assistance.

An act up protest at the Georgia State Capitol
An act up protest at the Georgia State Capitol

Courtesy of Special Collections & Archives, Georgia State University Library


The city’s first AIDS Walk (From All Walks of Life), benefiting AID Atlanta, is led by Mayor Maynard Jackson and Elton John, who would buy a penthouse here the next year and become a part-time Atlanta resident. The Indigo Girls perform to launch the march. In fall of 2020, AIDS Walk Atlanta will celebrate its 30th anniversary.


Atlanta IBM computer salesman E. Lynn Harris publishes Invisible Life, a coming-of-age novel about a young, gay Black man, selling copies out of his car trunk at Black beauty salons and barber shops, before selling the rights to Anchor Books. Harris and playwright Pearl Cleage bonded early, both starting as self-published writers. Cleage says of the New York Times best-selling author, who passed in 2009, “We were both passionate about telling the stories we knew, and we both loved the process of getting those stories into the hands of readers who would recognize themselves in the pages.”


Marietta’s Theatre in the Square becomes a national flashpoint in the culture wars after staging playwright Terrence McNally’s Lips Together, Teeth Apart, which included references to homosexuality. The production helps spark Cobb County’s infamous anti-gay resolution. The next year, after months of protests, the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games pulls the volleyball competition out of Cobb County.


Outwrite Bookstore and Coffeehouse opens. Owner Philip Rafshoon recalls, “On the corner of Piedmont and 10th, Outwrite helped the intersection become the center of the Gayborhood for 16 years. Some of my favorite author signings included Olympic diver Greg Louganis’s 1995 signing for his Breaking the Surface biography and Tammy Faye (Bakker) Messner’s surprise 2003 appearance where she led fans in singing ‘We are Blessed.’”

Nalda Rodriguez at the 25th annual celebration in Piedmont Park
Nalda Rodriguez at the 25th annual celebration in Piedmont Park

Photograph by Dwight, Jr. Ross/AJC/GSU collection


The gay rights advocacy group Georgia Equality is formed. In 2020, the nonprofit turns 25, continuing to advance fairness, safety, and opportunities for LGBTQ+ citizens with an increased focus on youth, family, and trans communities.


Atlanta hosts its first Black Gay Pride celebration. The Labor Day weekend celebration now routinely attracts some 10,000 attendees, making it one of the largest Black Pride events in the world.


Charis Circle, a nonprofit arm of Charis Books & More, is formed to work with artists, authors, and activists from around the world to bring programming and events to feminist communities.

June 28, 1996

Coretta Scott King speaks at Atlanta Pride in Piedmont Park. She says, “We share common adversaries. The church burners and the gay bashers drink from the same poisonous well of hatred. I want to assure you that I will continue to support you in your efforts to rid our country of all forms of bigotry, racism, sexism, and homophobia.”

February 21, 1997

The Otherside Lounge, a popular lesbian nightspot, is bombed. A second device is found outside in the parking lot and is detonated with a robot by police. The man responsible is Eric Robert Rudolph, who had also planted bombs at Centennial Olympic Park and a Sandy Springs abortion clinic. No one is killed at the lounge.

Atlanta LGBTQ+ Political Milestones

Over the last three decades, LGBTQ+ candidates have begun to win key positions in city and state leadership. Here are some of the highlights:

Gil Robison

Atlanta lawyer and gay activist Gil Robison runs for Georgia House District 40 in Fulton County. The seat is won by Cynthia McKinney.

Cathy Woolard unseats the Atlanta City Council Sixth District’s 20-year incumbent Mary Davis to become the first openly gay elected official in Georgia. She would go on to serve as council president from 2002-2004 and run for mayor in 2017.

Karla Drenner

On January 8, Karla Drenner becomes the first openly gay member of the Georgia House of Representatives.

Alex Wan

Alex Wan wins the District 6 Atlanta City Council race, making him the first openly gay Asian American on the council.

The son of Korean immigrants, Sam Park wins a close race and becomes the first openly gay male state legislator. Park Cannon, at 24, becomes the state’s youngest—and also the only queer Black female—Georgia legislator.

Renitta Shannon

On the eve of National Coming Out Day, Georgia Representative Renitta Shannon comes out on Facebook. She is the first bisexual person elected to the state legislature.

Stephe Koontz is elected to Doraville City Council, becoming Georgia’s first transgender elected official on a historic evening when at least six transgender candidates across the country are elected.


Atlanta Pride turns 30. The B-52s (with three queer members Fred Schneider, Keith Strickland, and Kate Pierson) play a free show in Piedmont Park. Schneider recalls, “I’ll never forget that show because the next day, there I was, on the cover of the AJC with a bare midriff, a pair of Daisy Dukes, and wearing a dance belt so nothing fell out!”


Q100’s Bert Show member Melissa Carter, the first out lesbian on Atlanta morning radio, is a grand marshal at the Pride parade.

Sept. 10, 2009

Two dozen Atlanta Police officers raid Midtown gay bar the Atlanta Eagle, sparking a debate about police abuse of force that continues to this day.


Founded by Kirsten and Maria Palladino five years before the landmark SCOTUS decision affirming gay marriage, Equally Wed magazine debuts.


After two years of shifting dates and locations due to drought, Atlanta Pride makes a controversial decision to move its Piedmont Park celebration from June to October.


A group of activists led by Rick Westbrook, who would get turned away from shelters when trying to place queer teens, establishes Lost-n-Found Youth. The group remains committed to ending homelessness for LGBTQ+ and all sexual minority young people, ages 13 to 25.

May 2015

Wussy, a Southern + Queer magazine covering politics, art, and expression, launches in Atlanta. Celebrating inclusivity and body positivity, it has widespread appeal with a younger, broader LGBTQ+ audience.

June 2015

Atlanta celebrates the historic Supreme Court gay marriage decision with impromptu weddings at courthouses downtown. Celebrity chef Art Smith hosts weddings for dozens of couples at the InterContinental Hotel.

The Rainbow crosswalk at 10th and Piedmont
The Rainbow crosswalk at 10th and Piedmont debuts in 2015

Photograph by David Goldman/AP

October 2015

Atlanta’s Rainbow Crosswalk debuts at the intersection of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue as part of the city’s Pride celebration.

March 28, 2016

Under pressure from gay rights organizations, including Georgia Equality, and the city’s business community, Governor Nathan Deal vetoes House Bill 757, a “religious liberty” bill allowing discrimination based on personal beliefs, stating the legislation did not reflect Georgia’s image as “warm, friendly, and loving.” (In 2018, he signs HB 159, which reforms adoption laws and includes no restrictions against same-sex couples.)


The Armorettes, Atlanta’s longest-running drag queen troupe, celebrate their 40th anniversary. Tony Kearney, aka Wild Cherry Sucret, says, “The Armorettes have raised well over $2.4 million for people living with HIV/AIDS. I became a member of the cast in 2000, after winning Miss Homecoming by raising $30,000 for the Boybutante AIDS Foundation in Athens, Georgia, where Wild Cherry Sucret was born.”

January 2020

WSB-TV’s Jorge Estevez becomes the city’s first openly gay Latinx news anchor.

May 2020

The director of Emory University’s creative writing program, Black gay poet Jericho Brown, wins the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his collection, The Tradition.

June 26, 2020

In the wake of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, Governor Brian Kemp signs a hate crime bill passed by the Georgia Legislature. It includes protections from crimes rooted in discrimination against sexual orientation.

July 1, 2020

The Atlanta Pride Committee announces that, due to the pandemic, this October’s festival will be held virtually.

July 29, 2020

A crowd gathers at 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue, as a hearse carrying the body of Congressman John Lewis stops at the city’s rainbow crosswalk to commemorate his lifelong championing of LGBTQ+ rights.

This article appears in our October 2020 issue.

Vote! It’s time to pick the Best of Atlanta 2020: Readers’ Choice Awards

Six years of Atlanta Magazine Best of Atlanta covers

Each year we select the city’s best dining, entertainment, shopping, things to do, and more for our annual Best of Atlanta issue. Once again this year, we’re giving you the chance to pick some of your favorites for our Reader’s Choice Awards, from the best local rapper to the best public park. Cast your picks below through October 16, and pick up the December 2020 Best of Atlanta issue to find out who won.

Voting has now closed for this year.

Hey Atlanta: What home projects gave you joy in 2020?

What was your favorite home project this year?
What was your favorite home project this year?

Vesnaandjic via Getty Images

It started with setting up a home office, then progressed to cleaning out the closets. Pretty soon we were repainting that spare bedroom and planting a garden. By mid-summer, we were adding a deck or renovating the kitchen. Lumber became as precious as hand sanitizer. No doubt about it, this was a year for home improvements.

Last year we launched our “Yearbook,” an annual salute to the best new shops and products of the previous 12 months. In 2020, we’re dedicating this compilation to our favorite home improvement projects. So please tell us what projects—large or small, cheap fixes or major investments, totally amateur or professional—gave you joy in the midst of this chaotic year. Photos optional but appreciated. We’ll be sharing our favorites in an upcoming issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

  • We will publish your name along with your project.
  • We will publish your neighborhood along with your project.
  • Please provide a short description of your project: What inspired you? Was this something you’d planned to do forever, or was it spontaneous? Did you do it yourself or hire a professional? Who helped you? Are you willing to share their contact info? Did the process go smoothly? Did it turn out as planned? Why does it give you joy?
  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: jpg, gif, png, pdf, Max. file size: 512 MB, Max. files: 10.
    • We will never publish your email address, but we might want to follow up with you to learn more about your project.

    Hey Atlanta: What do you want to ask a therapist?

    What questions do you want to ask a therapist?We’ve got a lot on our minds right now, but therapy is expensive. Here’s your chance to anonymously ask a professional therapist about something you or your child is struggling with, from school and career disruptions to anxiety about the pandemic or election. We’ll select a handful of your questions or concerns and present them to a therapist, who’ll answer them as if you were in the room with them, then publish them in our November issue. Names withheld, but we’ll include your age and where you live if you’re inclined to share it with us. So, what’s keeping you up at night?

    • If you'd be willing to talk to us for any follow-up questions, feel free to provide your email.

    Share your favorite John Lewis memories

    John Lewis
    John Lewis at a 2013 book signing event.

    Photograph by Larry French/Getty Images

    As our nation mourns the passing of Congressman John Lewis, we wanted to give Atlantans an opportunity to share their personal John Lewis stories. This is a project we began on a happier day, when we celebrated his 80th birthday back in February. The civil rights legend was always a man of the people. And it seems that nearly every Atlantan has some kind of story about meeting Lewis; maybe you sat next to him on a flight or bumped into him on the sidewalk. Maybe you were lucky enough to be in the audience while he gave a passionate speech. Maybe you met him dressed in your best cosplay while he signed copies of his graphic novel memoir at Dragon Con. This weekend’s social media has been full of photos of Lewis hugging his constituents and fans, shaking hands, and saying hello.

    Use the box below to share your favorite Lewis story, and we’ll compile and publish as many as we can in a future article.

    We are no longer collecting stories. Thanks for your interest!

    Georgia Poet Laureate’s Prize 2020: Meet the winner and finalists

    Georgia Poet Laureate’s PrizeLaunched in 2014 by former Georgia poet laureate Judson Mitcham, in collaboration with the Georgia Council for the Arts, the Georgia Poet Laureate’s Prize is an annual program designed to encourage works by teen writers. It is open to all students in grades 9 through 12. Read more about its inception here and meet the 2020 winners and finalists below, selected by state poet laureate Chelsea Rathburn.


    By Sarah Lao

    The last scene begins with
    a close-up of our powdered feet & all the
    extra film grain stifles the shore.

    You tell me the reefs won’t last &
    I pretend to laugh while the tide rolls
    past our ankles & everything buffers—

    how sand falls in damp clumps
    from your heel, your limbs the bladed
    lurch of a broken windmill.

    In the sky, gulls crumple to rain with an
    economy of pleats & the screen floodlights.
    We try again. TAKE 2.

    Forget the lines & the water that yearns
    to fill me as if I were an empty cistern.
    At midnight, I build myself a body double

    out of algae. Dot its eyes with cowries &
    embed my self beneath the sands. The director
    tells me get up, you’re so close, we can already 

    imagine it. He says—TAKE 3.
    I swallow the sea. It tastes like stale lettuce
    heads & all I want is the honey coating our hands

    to be sweat, my bloated body to ferry
    desire & not foam padding. The camera
    shudders & the lights switch off. I tumble.

    I fantasize. I slide past the credits &
    wipe the lens clean & transparent. Forgive
    the sea’s blotting of the littoral.

    Sarah Lao is a junior at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Rattle, the Penn Review, and Liminality, among others. She is a 2019 Best of the Net Finalist and 2020 YoungArts Finalist in Poetry, and she has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Hollins University, Penn State Behrend, and the Adroit Prizes. She is so grateful and honored to receive this award.


    By Ashanti Nyame-Gyebi

    is not hell. hell is a hole going down, down, down,
    with hands smelling of sweetest rot
    to pluck you from gravity and into torment,
    and one day, the devil will fall forever, with
    not even the maggots to break his fall.
    unheaven is not nothing, either. it is where
    heaven once was but did not live.
    the seams split slowly. the perfection broke.
    the sidewalks cracked, the nothing blooming through.
    old trees grew, oak and maple and three hundred year old cedar,
    all of them pulling through the golden paths.
    god had fled long before, and the castle crumbled.
    the angels, confined to a single path, could not
    save it. heaven did not know age, but the trees did,
    and the moss did, and the grass did, and time did. and
    unheaven appeared as heaven slipped under the leaves.
    and unheaven appeared as the darkness crept in.

    Ashanti Nyame-Gyebi is a junior at Paul Duke STEM High School. When she is not writing or reading, she enjoys participating in mock trial, studying German, and baking. She is indebted to her teachers, friends, and family for their support and kindness.


    By Keonta’e Guy
    after “Canon” by Clint Smith

    Our brushes were not meant for
    your canvas. We have never known
    the same picture.
    The picture you seek is what we won’t draw
    You demand a masterpiece but won’t buy the paint
    You demand a masterpiece but never taught us how to draw.
    Now it’s too late.
    You’ve burned the canvas
    And lost an artist
    And a son.

    Keonta’e Guy is a 16 year-old Grady High school student originally from Des Moines, Iowa. “I’ve always been the artsy type, whether it was acting, writing, or drawing. I’m an only child, and I had young parents growing up, so drawing was the best toy I had. Moving from school to school (to school to school), it was what helped me be able to talk to people and become an extrovert. Now I’m this super social, artsy-fartsy, small-town guy with an unknown future ahead. Who would have ever thought.”


    By Alicia F. Mazzurra

    The girls always seemed to know how to whip frizzy hair
    into sleek, Barbie doll ponytails that reeked of
    cheerleader smiles dripping off of pom-poms and
    Regina George from Mean Girls—

    I tried to be like them, talk like them, wear my hair
    higher than heaven in a long swinging rope from my head,
    an Asian Rapunzel lost in split-ends and spaghetti-like locks
    that attracted static electricity instead of Flynn Rider.

    My ebony, thread-thin hair only seemed to know how to
    entice unwanted hands petting me like some
    anxious bunny huddled in the corner of the PetSmart pen,
    trapped between glass and grubby fingers, so

    I finally decided to
    let my hair rain down in meatballs from the clouds,
    chopping the infinity of feminine decades into
    a boyish bob that spirals around me when I’m excited,
    wiggles like a golden retriever hearing the word ‘park.’

    The girls, now teetering on the edge of womanhood,
    wear saccharine smiles as cherry lip balm when they
    see me walking down the hallway, flying as a fairy with
    a pixie cut above them all, and they tell me,
    “You look so good!” and I grin toothily,

    but I don’t need to dress myself in yeses anymore
    to feel beautiful.

    Alicia Mazzurra is a senior at River Ridge High School. When she’s not FaceTiming her friends during quarantine and wishing she could hug them, she enjoys exploring nature with her family, reading YA romance novels, and trying to create the perfect chocolate chip cookie.




    By Clara Allison

    Each new dark, coiling morning
    I stir in this world wondering if today
    I might shed unto these prickling grasses
    (Bragging of their smooth blades)
    my worn, scuffed self.
    If I might peel off each flaking word, each
    scathing glance and make myself new.
    The answer, or the wish—if you will—
    I found slinking around the melon stalks,
    poison brewing potent, ready
    to strike.

    Out in the moonlit gardens I spot
    that serpentine creature stalking the next catch.
    What unbroken honor he must know
    sinking those sweet fangs into chance, savoring each
    drop of wild opportunity.
    I have much to admire about that bravery—
    split second whiplash,
    no time spared, all risk,
    all reward.

    And later when the world turned color,
    and time had simply demanded it,
    he split each scale open, knowing
    no simpler way out, gently, instinctually easing
    into a newer life. What torment it was to stay
    trapped in the past, I knew then.
    With that I moved along, and was onto the next wish.
    Though instead of waiting for something akin to prey,
    I was out on the search, gone, off,
    and away.

    Clara Allison is currently a junior at DeKalb School of the Arts. When she isn’t busy editing the school literary magazine or staying on top of homework, she likes hanging out with her friends and journaling in a Moleskin. If possible, she would easily spend the rest of her life sitting in a hammock with a good book.


    Atlanta: What do you want to know about filing for unemployment?

    How do I file for unemployment in Atlanta Georgia
    Confused? You’re not alone.

    Photograph by Eblis / iStock / Getty Images Plus

    Record numbers of Georgians are filing unemployment claims, but the process is confusing. Who handles the paperwork, you or your former employer? If your employer opens because the state government says it’s okay to work, but you don’t feel comfortable returning yet, does that mean you can’t collect unemployment? Can you earn freelance income while collecting unemployment? Share your questions with us, and we’ll ask them to experts.

    Announcing the 2020 Women Making a Mark Honorees

    Atlanta magazine is pleased to announce the 12 deserving women who have been selected as honorees for the annual Women Making a Mark program.

    Each year, the Women Making a Mark program identifies and recognizes women in the Atlanta area who are making a significant impact on the community and influencing those around them every day. Each woman will be profiled in the June 2020 issue and recognized at an awards gala in the coming months.

    Each year, we solicit nominations over the course of many months. After receiving more than 140 nominations this year, the Atlanta magazine Custom Media editors hand-selected these 12 exceptional women who have left—and continue to leave—their mark on so many.

    The women in this diverse group are committed to their professions, their community, and to helping Atlanta thrive. They are leading major philanthropic organizations, inspiring change in company culture, empowering women in the workplace, fighting cancer, overseeing political campaigns, and bringing art to life in our community.

    The 2020 Women Making a Mark honorees include:

    • Jill Binkley | Founder & Program Director, TurningPoint Breast Cancer Rehabilitation
    • Marquetta Bryan | Lawyer, Nelson Mullins
    • Monica Campana | Co-Founder & Executive Director, Living Walls
    • Andréa Carter | Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer, Global Payments Inc.
    • Kathy Colbenson | President and CEO, CHRIS 180
    • Virginia Hepner| Corporate Director, Cadence Bank Board of Directors
    • Anita Johnson | Director of Breast Surgical Oncology, Cancer Treatment Centers of America
    • Lauren Koontz | CEO & President, YMCA of Metro Atlanta
    • Lori Lane | Senior Vice President & Managing Broker, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties
    • Allegra Lawrence-Hardy | Partner, Lawrence & Bundy LLC
    • Carolyn Meltzer | Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences Professor and Chair, Emory University School of Medicine
    • Tara Murphy| Founder & President, 360 Media

    Fox Bros. and Buttermilk Kitchen share their pimento cheese recipes

    Pimento cheese
    Pimento cheese from Fox Bros Bar-B-Q

    Photograph courtesy of Fox Bros

    The Masters may be postponed until November thanks to COVID-19, but you can still enjoy a taste of the South with these creamy pimento cheese recipes from two favorite Atlanta restaurants—Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q and Buttermilk Kitchen.

    Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q Pimento Cheese

    16 oz. (1 pound) grated sharp cheddar cheese
    8 oz. (½ pound) grated Monterey Jack or pepper jack cheese
    3 oz. diced pimento
    1 ¼ cup Duke’s mayonnaise
    ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    In a mixing bowl, add the cheese and pimentos, add the mayo and mix together. Add the seasoning and mix in. Cover with wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

    Pimento cheese
    Pimento cheese from Buttermilk Kitchen

    Photograph courtesy of Buttermilk Kitchen

    Buttermilk Kitchen Pimento Cheese

    1 pound sharp cheddar cheese; grates
    1 cup mayonnaise
    ½ cup small diced fire-roasted red peppers (pimentos) drained
    2 teaspoons sriracha
    2 teaspoons minced onions
    ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    Place all ingredients in a medium-size mixing bowl. Combine, using your hands, massaging the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Transfer pimento cheese to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

    Recipes courtesy of Green Olive Media.

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