Smyrna is Fabulous (SIF), formed this year, is a group that, in the words of its mission statement, “welcomes and celebrates its LGBTQ+ residents and allies by creating community and building partnerships founded in social equality.”
The initiative began when one of the founders, Mike Mitchell, approach Smyrna Mayor Derek Norton with a proposal to ask businesses to put out pride flags in June. Norton was supportive, and issued a declaration declaring June 2021 Pride Month.
“I went to the mayor and said, on the last Saturday in June, I think it would be cool if all of the businesses flew pride flags,” Mitchell told the Courier, in front of Stout Brothers in downtown Smyrna, where the SIF Pride Night was in progress. “And suddenly, that turned into a movement that we didn’t know had turned into a movement. And the next thing you know, people were encouraging us to form a committee.”
A committee was formed with the following members:
Mike Mitchell, Executive Director
Scott McDowall, Assistant Executive Director
Mickie HIggins, Treasurer
Susanne Salehi, Secretary
Leah Bulow, Community Relations Chair
Kirsi McCrea ne’ Noonan, Events Chair
“In less than 60 days, we have a mission, we have a vision, we have a plan,” Mitchell said. “We’ve got a Pride Night schedule. It’s just a bunch of people who love their community, love our city. And we want everyone to know that you’re welcome in our city.”
Community Relations Chair Leah Bulow, when asked by the Courier how she would describe SIF, wrote in an email, “SIF is a group of gay and straight Smyrna residents seeking to bring LGBTQ residents and allies together for social and community events celebrating our town’s diverse population.”
In an email, Mitchell sent the Courier an expanded description of the beginnings of the committee:
I reached out to businesses in Smyrna and asked them to fly the Pride Flag and possibly provide discounts on the last Saturday in June to show their support for the LGBTQ+ Community in Smyrna and throughout Atlanta.
I wanted to show our community that we are an inclusive/loving city.
Word traveled very fast and before too much time, our Events Chair, Kirsi Noonan offered to help, and help she did…….
Kirsi went with me to visit dozens upon dozens of businesses, went to Small Business Administration events and really dug in to spread this word.
I was then introduced to Leah, given some great advice, and within a few weeks we went from an idea to a Proclamation by the Mayor (proclaiming June as LGBTQ Pride Month in Smyrna).
Our first Smyrna is Fabulous was the talk of the town and on June 26, 2021, Smyrna was filled with Pride Flags and this movement was born.
We decided that we wanted to keep this going and agreed to form a committee. Our committee, now six people, has crafted a Mission and Vision for Smyrna is Fabulous, and our goal is to share a loving inclusive Community with all residents of our city and Metro Atlanta.
We are also well on the way to establishing 501 (c) (3) status so we can leave a legacy for future Smyrnans.
You can learn more about Smyrna is Fabulous, and keep up with announcements about their monthly Pride Nights and other activities, by following their Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/487824909302941.