We honor the life and the prolific contributions of our sister Fulton County Commission Vice Chair Joan Garner. She made her transition on Tuesday, April 17th from breast cancer.
Elected as Fulton County District 4 Commissioner in 2010 and reelected twice, Garner was noted for her advocacy in support of HIV/AIDS mobilization, affordable housing and LGBTQ rights. As Vice Chair, she co-founded the Fulton County Task Force on HIV/AIDS. She was revered for her expertise in non-profit organizing and fundraising and her leadership of Funds for Southern Communities and Southern Partners Fund. As an entrepreneur she founded Garner Results a consultancy resource for non-profit and philanthropic entities.
Garner was an openly lesbian organizer who served as senior advisor for Gay and Lesbian Issues with Mayor Maynard Jackson’s administration. She had a major role in early local Black LGBTQ advocacy as a founding member of the African American Lesbian and Gay Alliance (AALGA). She co-founded Southerners On New Ground) (SONG) an LGBTQ-led regional advocacy organization. Garner was a regular presence at the Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde
Breakfast. At one memorable Rustin Lorde Breakfast event, Garner joined fellow SONG founders Mandy Carter, Pat Hussain and Mab Segrest for an historic dialogue. “Joan had fun with her sisters that day,” Craig Washington recalls. “People not only respected Joan they loved her, the person. I will miss her.” She influenced many activists and organizations throughout Atlanta and the Southeast. Upon learning of Garner’s passing, Roshelle Darlene Hudson remarked “There are no words I can express to share the overwhelming sadness I feel right now. Commissioner Joan Garner was my big sister in the movement, a woman I admired, trusted and loved.”
A memorial service for Fulton County Commission will be held at Ebenezer Baptist Church 101 Jackson Street at 3p.m. Saturday May 6. A visitation will be held at 3p.m. to 5p.m. Sunday April 23 at the Hammonds House Museum 503 Peeples St.
© 2016 Rustin Lorde Breakfast Southern Unity Movement