National Coming Out Day logo of Keith Haring stick person coming out of closet

by Robin Kemp

Officially, it’s Columbus Day, but Happy Indigenous People’s Day and Happy National Coming Out Day, also! National Coming Out Day marks the anniversary of the 1987 March on Washington, which was a massive demonstration by lesbian, gay, and trans people in Washington, DC at the height of the AIDS epidemic and Georgia’s Bowers v. Hardwick. The AIDS Quilt was unfurled for the very first time on the Mall. Here’s a look back at that event, which made clear for the first time to the nation the extent of the AIDS crisis–a time when many medical professionals refused to treat people with AIDS. To this day, no vaccine against the human immunodeficiency virus exists (get the facts about HIV at the Clayton County Health District):

YouTube video

Many, but not all, government offices are closed this Monday. However, you need to be aware of some pressing deadlines. If you plan to vote absentee on November 2, today or tomorrow (Tuesday, October 12) would be a good time to request your absentee ballot. It takes longer to turn around those requests since SB 202 passed. The last day to request an absentee ballot from your city government will be October 22. That’s just 11 days before Election Day. Do not wait!

Check your voter information at the Georgia Secretary of State’s My Voter Page,

If you live in Clayton County Commission District 1, you will need to vote in the October 19 runoff between former School Board District 8 member Dr. Alieka Anderson and Democratic Party of Georgia delegate Alaina Reaves. Early voting in that race takes place this Tuesday, October 12 through Friday, October 15 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Locations include:

  • Historic Courthouse, 121 S. McDonough Street
  • Carl Rhodenizer Recreation Center, 3499 Rex Road
  • Morrow City Hall, 1500 Morrow Road
  • Forest Park Senior Center, 5087 Park Ave.

The county also is handling the City of Morrow’s municipal election. You can vote at Morrow City Hall, 1500 Morrow Road or at the Election and Registration Office at the Historic Courthouse, 121 S. McDonough Street. Voters will decide between incumbent Renee Saunders Knight and challenger Hue Nguyen for one at-large Morrow City Council seat. This week, early voting takes place Tuesday, October 12 through Friday, October 15 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., with Saturday voting October 16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday voting October 17 from 12 noon to 5 p.m. (Early voting in Morrow continues through October 29.)

Got questions? Call the Elections and Registration Office at (770) 477-3372 or e-mail

In Forest Park, early voting starts Tuesday, October 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Mary Ann Connelly Senior Center, 5087 Park Ave. in Starr Park (the brick building near the stadium). The absentee ballot box will be at that location, as well. Under SB 202, absentee ballot boxes must be inside the polling location, which means you would need to bring your absentee ballot, in person, during in-person voting hours, to put it in the absentee ballot box. Early voting also takes place this Saturday, October 16, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and continues through October 23, including Saturday, October 23. Citizens will choose the mayor and councilmembers for Wards 1 and 2. Any runoff would take place November 30. For more information, call the City of Forest Park at (678) 704-4784.

Jonesboro has published its sample ballot and has a new polling place this year: Lee Street Elementary School, 178 Lee Street. Early voting runs Tuesday, October 12 from through Friday, October 15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with Saturday voting October 16 and 23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., then weekdays from October 18 through 29 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

College Park starts early voting for councilmembers in Wards 2 and 4 on weekdays from Tuesday, October 12 through Friday, October 29 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with Saturday voting October 16 and 23 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday voting October 17 through 24 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Hampton is voting for mayor and three council seats. (See the list of qualified candidates here.) Early voting starts Tuesday, October 12 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with Saturday voting October 16 and 23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday voting October 17 and 24 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Early voting continues October 18-22 and October 25-29 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Locations include:

  • Elections and Registration Main Office, 40 Atlanta St., McDonough
  • Merle Manders Conference Center, 111 Davis Road, Stockbridge
  • Fortson (Hampton) Library, 61 McDonough St., Hampton
  • Locust Grove Library, 115 MLK Jr. Blvd., Locust Grove

In Hampton, county-only early voting will take place October 25-29 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at J.P. Moseley Park, 1041 Millers Mill Rd. and Fairview Recreation Center, 35 Austin Rd., both in Stockbridge.

Follow the money!

State law mandates that candidates file Campaign Contribution Disclosure Reports on October 25 and December 31 of this year. Those reports are filed with the local government (e.g., city clerk) for local races and the county elections office for county races. You can look up any candidate’s previous CCDRs and personal financial disclosure statements at the new or the old Georgia Campaign Finance formerly-known-as-the-State-Ethics-Commission portals. (Learn more at Ballotpedia.) Note: the latest candidate filings from September may not appear in the state’s online system yet. If it’s not online, it should be with the local city or county clerk. If it’s not with the local clerk, ask the candidate why not–and let us know! We’re compiling these for your reference.

Want to know more about a local candidate’s history? Try searching the candidate’s name in old meeting minutes. Even if the person was not elected to office, he or she may have made public comments at council meetings:

Here’s the rest of this week’s roundup:

Monday, October 11

  • 5:30 p.m.: The Lake City City Council will hold a zoning hearing to vote on creating an Architectural and Design Review Board. The 6:30 p.m. work session follows, with discussions of council compensation, city project updates, the Christmas tree lighting, employee luncheon, longevity checks for employees, the 2022 budget, the comprehensive plan, and broadband collaboration with Clayton County. At 7 p.m., the City Council session will take up a memorandum of understanding with the Atlanta Regional Commission “pertaining to the Comprehensive Plan.”
  • 6 p.m.: The Riverdale City Council is holding its business session. Even though Monday is a federal holiday. On the agenda: considering whether to reappoint Carilyn Devoe to the Board of Zoning and Appeals and Ashley Holmes III as an Ethics Board Alternate. A swearing-in ceremony is scheduled to follow the vote. No new business is on the public agenda, although that doesn’t prevent council members from adding items to the agenda during the meeting.
  • 6 p.m.: The Jonesboro City Council holds its regular meeting. On the agenda: approval of the September 13 and October 4 minutes, public hearings on adopting the FY 2022 millage rate of 8.0 mils, a conditional use hearing for a church at 8557 Tara Blvd., and a retail package (beer and wine) license for 226 Main Street. The council also will consider voting on these measures, as well as appointing Larry Ford to the Housing Authority, and reducing the amount the developer of Hearthside Jonesboro will have to pay into the mandatory Tree Fund to compensate the city for trees lost. Finance Director Nina M. Robinson also will present financial statements for January 1 through August 31. The council also has scgeduled an executive session for litigation and real estate matters.
  • 6:30 p.m.: The Clayton County Ethics Board meets in Conference Room II, 112 Smith Street.
  • 7 p.m.: The City of Jonesboro holds a Candidate Forum for the City Council race at the Jonesboro Police Department.

Tuesday, October 12

  • All Day: Early/advance/absentee voting
  • 4:30 p.m.: The Clayton County Board of Elections and Registration holds its regular meeting via Zoom. The public is invited to submit comments via an online form between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. the day of the meeting. To listen by phone, call (646) 876-9923 using webinar ID 891-1438-4263 and passcode 715078.
  • 5:30 p.m.: The Clayton County Board of Commissioners holds its work session. On the agenda: unspecified preliminary agenda items for the October 19 meeting, plus a discussion and presentation of recommendations for local assistance grants.
  • 6:30 p.m.: The Morrow City Council holds its work session, followed by the regular meeting at 7:30 p.m.
    • On the work session agenda: a review of the meeting agenda (including minutes from the September 28 meeting); an update on projects from Jeff Moss; a discussion of soliciting bids for new welcome and City Hall signs; and a look at upcoming city-sponsored events, four of which happen between Thursday and the November 2 election.
    • On the regular meeting agenda: approval of the September 28, 2021 regular meeting minutes and special meeting minutes; swearing-in of Deputy Chief David Sniveley, plus the Humanitarian Award to Detective Xavier Todd and Meritorious Service Award to Sgt. David Jackson; and Fire Chief Roger Swint will give a presentation on a ladder truck. New business includes four votes for approvals: $66,668.14 from SPLOST 2020 funds to Formetco for two new digital screens for welcome signs; $44,999 from SPLOST 2020 funds for a new 2014 Dodge Ram 5500 bucket truck from Pinnacle Bucket Georgia (as well as to surplus the existing 2004 bucket truck); $24,377.50 in SPLOST 2020 funds for a new battery-powered tornado warning siren; and applications for American Rescue Plan Act Law Enforcement and First Responders Supplement, which would give all sworn law enforcement officers and first responders in Morrow a $1,000 bonus through a state disbursement of federal funds.

Wednesday, October 13

  • All Day: Early/advance/absentee voting
  • 9 a.m. The Clayton County Board of Assessors meets.
  • 7 p.m.: Forest Park Mayor Angelyne Butler holds a State of the City address at Living Faith Tabernacle, 5880 Old Dixie Highway. Here’s a sneak peek at a PR video pitching the city, featuring Butler, Police Chief Nathaniel Clark, Ward 4 Councilwoman Latresa Akins-Wells, Ward 3 Councilman Hector Gutierrez, Economic Development Director Bruce Abraham, and real estate/insurance agent and Atlas Strength and Conditioning owner Joseph “JoJo” Starr, who also owns a coworking space in College Park:

YouTube video

Thursday, October 14

  • All Day: Early/advance/absentee voting

Friday, October 15

  • All Day: Early/advance/absentee voting

Saturday, October 16

  • All Day: Early/advance/absentee voting
  • 8 a.m.: Sisters Empowerment Network and the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office hold the Walk A Mile in Her Shoes 5K Walk/Run Against Domestic Violence. The starting line is at Riverdale Town Center, 7210 Church Street.

Remember: “If you don’t vote, you don’t count.” Stand up and make your voice heard! You run this show.

As always, if you have a news tip, please let us know! E-mail or text/call (404) 547-1171.

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