“The Man Behind the Magic” by Ryan Roche

The auction at the HRC Atlanta Gala is one of the best in the country, and is a highlight of our event each year. Countless hours from our dedicated volunteers go into making it a huge success. One man, in particular, is essential to turning an empty auction ballroom into a memorable experience for our guests.

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“Trans Rights Are Human Rights” by Ames Simmons

My name is Ames Simmons, and I proudly serve on the Human Rights Campaign Board of Directors here in Atlanta. I’m so excited about this weekend’s gala on April 30th, and want to tell you why I’m so committed to HRC. My first introduction to HRC was attending a gala in 2002. My company was a corporate sponsor, and my colleague encouraged me to join him at the event. I had no idea then how important to me HRC would grow to be.

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“The Fight for Family” by Sylvia Ramos

2015 was a huge year for me and my family. In addition to the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, I became an ordained minister and married my first couple last September. I was honored that my first wedding as a minister was to a loving, same-gender couple. It was great to see their love and the importance of marriage to them. To them, the public announcement of their union in front of God and community solidified their promises to each other. In them, I saw a love that couldn’t be denied, but unfortunately a love that some people would still attempt to refuse. To that couple, my wife and I and countless others, this is why marriage is important. The Supreme Court made the right decision in 2015, but unfortunately the fight for equality beyond marriage is far from over.

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“Why We Fight” by Matthew Garrett

March 28, 2016 was a day wrought with frustration and happiness for me. It is really hard fighting for and feeling like you have to justify your very existence to a majority – a Christian majority – that, through legislation, wants to codify discrimination against you and your community. Today, though, that frustration turned into gratitude as Governor Deal announced his plan to veto H.B. 757 – a dangerous “religious freedom bill” guised under the seemingly benign heading of the “Pastor Protection Act”. I took to social media to share my gut reaction.

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