• Atlanta Pride starts today-- and thousands will be here to celebrate

    By: Matt Johnson

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - Hundreds of thousands of people will be in midtown Atlanta this weekend for Atlanta Pride.

    It's going to be a huge party, but it's also an opportunity for city leaders to share how they're addressing specific issues.

    Channel 2’s Matt Johnson spoke one on one with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Thursday night as Atlanta gets ready to kick off Pride in less than 24 hours.

    “It really is what Atlanta is all about,” Bottoms said.

    The mayor told Johnson that issues affecting the LGBTQ community will be on her mind even when the parades and celebrations are over.

    “As we say, we are a diverse city, and we want people to know we embrace everyone in this city and that we show it,” Bottoms said.


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    In midtown Atlanta, preparations are already underway for Atlanta Pride, which is expected to attract more than 300,000 people.

    “Just to be out, just to be proud and have a safe space to celebrate,” said Meghann Schalff.

    Schalff and her partner live in Houston and came to Atlanta for what's considered the largest Pride festival in the Southeast.

    “I think Pride is a great time to celebrate the struggle and how far we've come and just celebrate. Love is love,” Schalff said.

    At the mayor's Pride reception in Buckhead on Thursday night, health, gay rights and help for homeless transgender individuals were big topics.

    After the parade and the big weekend, Bottoms told Johnson that her office will be back at work addressing health issues and creating jobs in the community.

    “We'll just continue to be innovative and get feedback from the public so we can improve each and every day,” Bottoms said.

    The official Pride kickoff is Friday night at the Georgia Aquarium, along with the Pride Festival, which runs all weekend in Piedmont Park.

    The big parade will be Sunday at noon, starting at the Civic Center MARTA station and ending at Piedmont Park.

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