Augusta Pride would like to pause in a moment of gratitude for the life of Jerry Chance. In our earliest beginnings, Jerry and his partner Richard Kelnhofer helped develop the distribution of Pride's merchandise, being our store managers for the first half of our festivals.
Jerry was a beloved figure in our community. Originally from Bartow, Georgia, Jerry's long and fruitful life witnessed many of the seminal events in LGBT history - the AIDS epidemic, the rise of the Pride Movement and the quest for benchmarks of equality such as marriage and an end to discrimination. Jerry's gentle spirit and open heart were a beacon to others that a life as a successful businessman, a happy husband and respected member of the community were all possible, even in the quiet parts of Georgia.
We are thankful for everything Jerry brought to Augusta Pride and our thoughts are with his partner Richard and his enormous family of friends and admirers as they mourn the transition of one who was a friend to all of us. May his memory be a blessing.
It breaks the heart of Augusta Pride to share that today we have lost our muse. Richard Justice, coordinator of Pride’s entertainment since 2013, departed this life this afternoon after a battle with COVID-19. Richard joined Augusta Pride’s Board of Directors in 2013 as the Director of Entertainment from an extensive, successful career in arts and theatre in the CSRA and beyond. He had a 20+ year history as performer and director with The Augusta Players and the Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre, was a founder of Le Chat Noir Theatre and the creator of the Mind’s Eye Academy, a theater education program for children and young adults. He was the manager and creative vision behind the Capri Lounge, Augusta’s classiest gay bar with live music and entertainment. His loss is a wound to our entire community.
Richard’s contributions to Pride are enormous in scope. He conceptualized the VIP program before even joining the board and was the chief proponent of the Augusta Common as the venue, defining our physical presence for over a decade. Once he joined the Board, his was the primary creative mind behind Beats on Broad, Augusta Pride’s phenomenally successful outdoor dance party. He was a galvanizing figure in our community, attracting top local talent to run our event and grace our stage. His vision shaped our President’s Soiree from the venue to the catering to the décor. It is difficult to conceive what Pride would have ever been without the powerful creative talents of Richard Justice.
Perhaps most importantly, Richard shared in the fundamental vision that drives the Augusta Pride organization – that all of us deserve to live in a world free of prejudice, rejection or the judgement of others, that all of us are truly equal in the eyes of God. As a worker at the Boston to New York AIDSRide in the 1990’s, as a tireless supporter of Pride everywhere and as a recent participant in demonstrations to insist that Black Lives Matter, Richard lived the very heart of Augusta Pride’s message of equality, inclusion and love. It now falls to us to see that the world Richard so strongly believed in becomes ever more true.
Augusta Pride joins our entire community in mourning this incredible individual and send our undying love to his family, friends and husband of 25 years, Terence Leegan. May his memory live in our hearts forever.
The Augusta Pride Committee made the decision to cancel our planned Festival for June 2020 due to Covid-19 concerns.
We thank you all for your past support of our Festival. Last year, we had our largest Festival event yet and had hoped to keep the energy and excitement going this year. While we’re having a brief interruption, we know we’ll come back again together. Until then, please stay safe and healthy and Love Still Wins!
Augusta Pride would like to pause in a moment of united grief at the loss of Lt. James R. (“J.R.”) Compton with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office. Lt. Compton passed from this life into the next this morning of natural causes. Those of us who founded and who have led Augusta Pride would like to share our memories of a good, good man many of us have come to consider our friend.
It would be difficult to overstate the impact that J.R. had on the formation and growth of Augusta Pride. During the organization of our first event in 2010, his deep well of experience shaped many aspects of the festival we enjoy today – the formation of the parade, the layout of the Common, the organization of security and the distribution of alcohol. He personally took charge of the key aspects of festival security on game day and the opening vehicle that led us down Broad Street was always him. Over the decade of our partnership with RCSO, J.R. saved Pride thousands of dollars by pointing our inefficiencies or correcting our mistaken assumptions about how to manage thousands of people on a hot summer day intent on having a good time. It seems impossible that Pride would have ever run as smoothly as it has without J.R.
Perhaps most importantly we remember J.R.’s kindness and integrity as an officer of the law in whom we could explicitly trust. Many factions in our community would have supported J.R. had he chosen to do the minimum, help the least or any way discourage the success that Pride has enjoyed in its first decade. Yet J.R. never hesitated to make us feel safe, to see us treated fairly and to defend us when we did things right. During the first year, a media representative approached J.R., looking for a sounds byte to juice up the reporting on our festival. J.R. told them it was the smoothest launch he had ever seen, that it was the first festival our size that had come off without one major glitch and that he was impressed at how people had stayed for our event compared to others. His demeanor set the tone for every media interaction since and our press has done nothing but grow more positive.
As J.R. headed for retirement, we were looking forward to honoring our relationship with him at this year’s President’s Soiree for a job so very well done. How much it hurts that we must share our memories like this. Augusta Pride sends its love, its condolences and its undying gratitude for the life of J.R. Compton to his family and his fellow officers of the RCSO. We look forward to continuing his legacy of cooperation as we grow into the future.
Grand Marshal, Dr. Cheryl Newman
Ms. Augusta Pride, Naomi Starr Van Michaels
Mr. Augusta Pride, Austin St. James
Grand Marshals, Sean and Jennifer Rahner
Grand Marshal, Rowan Feldhaus represented by his mother Melissa
Ms. and Mr. Augusta Pride, Petite Dejonville and Nytes Deville
Grand Marshals, the Sisters of the Order of Saint Helena
Grand Marshal, Harold V. Jones II
Ms. Augusta Pride, Koko Dove
Mr. Augusta Pride, Ameilio Vaughn Monroe
Grand Marshal, Leonard Zimmerman
Grand Marshals, Roy Lewis and Jeff Pullium
Ms. Augusta Pride, Claire Storm
Mr. Augusta Pride, Kingston von Monroe
Grand Marshal, Dr. Ann Willbrand
Grand Marshal, Dr. Peter Rissing
Ms. Augusta Pride, Paula Sinclair
Mr. Augusta Pride, Alistar Fox
Grand Marshals, Joey Styron and Bryan Boden
Grand Marshal, Lisa Heilig
Ms. Augusta Pride, Vonnajae Couture
Mr. Augusta Pride, Orlando Boom
Grand Marshal, Francis Williams
Grand Marshal, Rita Miller
Grand Marshal, Sam Wilson
Grand Marshal, David Hensely
Mr. Augusta Pride, Hayden Lowe and Ms. Augusta Pride, Malaysia Black
Mr. Augusta Pride, Prince William and Ms. Augusta Pride, Sasha Greene
Grand Marshal, Deborah Ivins
Grand Marshal, Keith Buck
Ms. Augusta Pride, Evonne Santoni
Mr. Augusta Pride, King Stacy
Diversity was everywhere Saturday morning as hundreds of people brought their opinions, messages and lifestyles to downtown Augusta.
Augusta Pride Inc.’s president, Isaac Kelly, placed the number of people in the parade and enjoying the events on the Augusta Common throughout the day at 3,500.
- Augusta Chronicle
Isaac Kelly and Johnathan Shaw lead the parade.
Ms. Augusta Pride, Lady La'Poodle
Mr. Augusta Pride, Mike Oxbig
- Augusta Chronicle
On June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City, found itself the center of a series of violent demonstrations focused on a police raid. Police raids on bars catering to homosexuals were frequent. During a typical raid, the lights would be turned on; the customers would be lined up; and their identification cards would be checked. Those without identification or who were dressed in full drag were arrested; others were allowed to leave. Some of the men, including those in drag, used their draft cards as identification. Women were required to wear three pieces of feminine clothing and would be arrested if found not wearing them. Employees and management of the bars were also typically arrested. At that time in the United States, the legal situation of gays arrested for being homosexual is that they could be fined and serve jail time.
That summer night, the patrons of the Stonewall Inn had taken enough abuse from the police who had come to raid the bar. Mobs formed and overturned cars, set the arrested loose, and chased the police and their backup units out of the neighborhood. It was an intense evening that was to be repeated at different levels of intensity for the next five days and nights as gay, lesbian, and transgender people worked together in refusing to be victimized any longer.
In the months to come, the Stonewall riots ignited the modern fight for equal rights for same-sex loving and transgender people all over America. While gay history did not begin with Stonewall,it was not until this brave group of people stood up against persecution that we could even begin to imagine a world where all Americans are considered free and equal under the eyes of the law.
June 28, 1970, marked the first-year anniversary of the events at the Stonewall Inn and the beginning of the first Gay Pride march in American history through the streets of New York City. There were marches in Los Angeles and Chicago as well. By 1972, there were marches in 12 major U.S. cities, as well as in England, France, Germany, and Sweden. Today there are Gay Pride marches in locations across the globe.
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