Atlanta Pride And Touching Up Our Roots Honor LGBTQ Pioneers In The Arts


People holding a rainbow flag
Dave Hayward and Theresa Davis spoke with WABE producer Summer Evans about Our Founding Valentines, a collaboration between Atlanta Pride and Touching Up Our Roots to honor LGBTQ pioneers in the arts. (Credit: Nelson Antoine/Associated Press file)

Atlanta Pride and Touching Up Our Roots are honoring LGBTQ pioneers in the arts Feb. 11 at the sixth annual Our Founding Valentines event.

“City Lights” producer Summer Evans spoke with event coordinator Dave Hayward and Founding Valentines honoree and slam poet Theresa Davis.

Hayward’s organization Touching Up Our Roots mainly focuses on preserving LGBTQ stories for generations to come.

“We have an interesting situation in our community because we basically lost so much of a generation, my generation, the AIDS generation. There’s a real disconnect in the community, through no one’s fault, it’s just that there’s people that aren’t here anymore to talk about the origins. We try to not speak for anybody, but we try and do the best by getting their stories out,” Hayward said.

Other Honorees

The Armorettes  A camp drag ensemble that became a fundraising juggernaut to support people coping with AIDS in the 1980s until today. They’ve raised more than $2.3 million for HIV and AIDS support services. They’re the longest-running drag queen troupe in the United States.

Linda Bryant and Charis Books And More –  The nation’s oldest feminist bookstore. Founded by Bryant and others in 1974 to elevate women and LGBTQ authors and people.

T. Cooper – Trans rights activist and documentarian. In 2019, he debuted his documentary “Man Made“, which won 14 festival awards. He’s a professor of creative writing and English at Emory University and a consultant for the TV series “The Blacklist.”

Mettle and Pluck Productions- Creators of the documentary “Queer Moxie,” a film that celebrates the impact, evolution and spirit of Atlanta’s queer LGBT performance art.

Red Dyke Theatre  Led by Mickey Alberts, Fran Pici and Jaen Black. The theater was formed in the 1970s as a political theater group. Their main purpose was to entertain lesbians and celebrate their sexuality.

Posthumous Award

Tony Daniels of Adodi Muse – Adodi Muse was Atlanta’s only African American gay performance collective. Daniels was a black gay man living with HIV who was a prominent activist in the community.

This story was originally published with audio on

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