Park Cannon by Michael Schwartz

“Every little resistance matters,” says Georgia State Representative Park Cannon. “In Georgia, LGBTQ+ people had zero legal status or recognition as a community until the recent passage of the state hate crime bill.” This relationship between resistance and law-making was what led Cannon to seek office. She decided to run after the Black Lives Matter protests forced her to contemplate who currently has the power to make change in the world. Subsequently, she realized that as a young queer woman, she had the power to step up and work for change. Cannon now serves a diverse cross-section of Atlanta, where her legislative efforts include health care, housing, and education. These basic tenets of human needs are, to her, the foundations of social stability; the most vulnerable of society — women, children, the elderly, and the LGBTQ+ community — are often at a higher risk of losing their homes and access to health care. In addition to focusing on health care and housing, Cannon has been involved in efforts that address maternal mortality rates and the HIV epidemic in Georgia, helping to ensure access to preventive treatment and to PrEP. She also worked to extend protections to victims of family violence and sexual assault. For Cannon, representation in government is an important way to fight for LGBTQ+ rights, which are still fragile. “Our power as a community is growing, which is beautiful,” she tells GO. “But we need so much more to reach some semblance of representation under the Gold Dome.” —NT

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