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Locals upset by confederate imagery in Atlanta have a "gay church" to thank.

For the past few years the Vision Church of Atlanta has been located at the intersection of Confederate Ave and Ormewood Ave. Despite Atlanta's well established reputation for being a "promise land" of sorts for African Americans; Atlanta and its suburbs contain some of the largest memorials to the Confederate States of America. Even with the debate around such memorials playing out on the national stage; the city "too busy to hate" was slow to make the same quick changes made in New Orleans and some other regions. That's when a new mayor and a local congregation came together to shake things up.

The Vision Church of Atlanta is home to a diverse community of worshippers. However it is perhaps most notable for the same gender loving couple that lead the church. Bishop Oliver Clyde Allen and his partner Rashaad Burgess (pictured below) have shepherd the growing congregation through multiple locations, national attention, and changing social attitudes towards LGBT people of color and those who are devout practitioners of faith. I've attended and can attest to a down home religion atmosphere that I never believed would be so affirming.

(From Left To Right: Rashaad Burgess, Khalid Kamau, Anye Elite, & Bishop Oliver Clyde Allen III)

Bishop Allen and his congregation joined forces with other voices in the neighborhood to influence the legislation that allowed for the name change of three streets. I hope that this accomplishment inspires a new generation of leaders across the nation to engage the civic process. In the meantime congrats Atlanta.

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