MLK Family and Friends Join Straight Americans Standing Up for Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Americans

Events in Atlanta and Across the Nation October 7-13, 2007, Reflect Broad Support for Equal Rights

For Immediate Release
Contact: Paige Schilt, Director of Public Relations and Media
Cell: 512-659-1771
Billiee Pendleton-Parker, Atlanta Vigil Co-Leader
Cell: 404-271-0928

(Austin, TX) — On October 7, 2007, Isaac Farris Jr. — nephew of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — will address a vigil organized by straight Atlantans who support equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans.

This landmark event kicks-off a nationwide project called "Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights." All across the country, during the week of October 7-13, night-time vigils will light up American cities, providing unprecedented visibility to heterosexual men and women with the conviction to stand up for their gay and lesbian friends and neighbors.

Malikah Berry, former assistant to Coretta Scott King, will also speak at the vigil. Berry is the Director of Community and Civic Engagement for Hands On Atlanta, which is a sponsor of the Atlanta vigil.

Prior to her death, Mrs. King spoke publicly in support of gay civil rights: "Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protections, whether by marriage or civil union," she said in a March 2004 speech.

To date, straight community leaders in thirty-five American cities are planning vigils over the course of the week. In Atlanta, the vigil organizers are Billiee Pendleton-Parker and Alana Zavett, two straight women who are united by their belief in Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision of the "beloved community."

What: Atlanta’s Straight Night for Equal Rights
When: Sunday, October 7th, 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Where: Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia


"Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights" is a joint project of Atticus Circle and Soulforce. Atticus Circle is a national non-profit that is dedicated to achieving equality for all partners, parents, and their children regardless of sexual orientation. Soulforce is a national social justice organization that seeks freedom for LGBTQ people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance. For more information, visit