It is a complicated issue and wasn't a trivial decision. The racist owners are not supportive of the staff, entertainers or the LGBT community that they've profited off for decades. However, almost all of the staff, bartenders and clientele are known as kind, loving, supportive and inclusive people. In particular, people across Atlanta have noted that the crowds who frequented were some of the more diverse in Atlanta.
On the one hand, the entertainers couldn't morally stay and work after this race baiting hate speech. On the other hand, the entertainment was the lifeblood of that establishment. They weren't known for the best sound system. They weren't known for the best drinks. They weren't known for their beautiful venue. They were known for the wonderful and many iconic entertainers, as an important part of the ATL LGBT community. So the "simple" choice to leave was likely to close a place where many good people work and many good people find community together.
To make things more complex, LGBT venues in and around Midtown are declining in number due to gentrification. Every place is important to be vigilantly watched over. Lastly, and most notably, with a decline in venues, places for these entertainers to perform sufficiently with enough space, sound and lighting are dwindling. These opportunities are not as simply found as walking down the street to a new venue and applying to be part of a waitstaff. Most entertainers are performers from passion not performers seeking big profit. The reality is that many of them live paycheck to paycheck and choose to do so because they believe in their craft. Beyond the crass antics, they truly live to make people laugh, cry and feel connected. They are political, they are caring and their messages are real. These are people who found their calling in any spotlight in any venue at any time that people need a reminder that life isn't all serious and we can overcome anything with humor, wit and persistence.
The community (you all) said that WE would support them and the bartenders if they left because WE ALL decided it was the right thing for LGBT ATL to do. They are the ones who will suffer financially unless we keep our promise to value what they do for us and protect them. My Sister's Room, Ten and Out Front Theatre have already kept their promises and stepped up to offer venues and special shows. But that alone won't be enough to supplement their income fully as they readjust and make new plans.
If you are as proud of these brave entertainers and bartenders as we are, if you are dedicated to acknowledging racism in our LGBT community as we are and if you choose to give financially even if you yourself aren't well off because you understand the importance and symbolism, THEN JOIN US AND SPREAD WORD THAT ATLANTA AND THE WORLD HAS THEIR BACKS.
We are requesting minimum donations of $20+ and hope that many of us can target $100+ as a showing of support, but give what you are able. Everything is appreciated. The art of these entertainers is our history and our heritage. Their loss is our loss. Their decision wasn't easy and their livelihood is at risk. Let's show them the love and admiration we all felt when they unified and walked out. That moment was the end of racist owners profiting off LGBT patrons from that venue. They had the power to do that - and they did it - for all of us. Atlanta is embarrassed globally by this show of racial hate speech. The walk out was a redeeming action to set us on a path of starting to make things right.
Your donation will be tax deductible via Rainbros United. Distribution of this money will be managed by former Burkhart's entertainer, Alissah Brooks (minus the 5% processing fee of Go Fund Me).
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