Friday, May 1, 2009

Phillip's Memorial: Frogs Cantina

Today is Phillip's memorial, at 6pm at his favorite bar. I'll stop by after work, before going to see the opera tonight. "The Flying Dutchman" by Wagner.

Phillip's obituary below, from the Southern Voice

Activist Phillip Rush remembered for ‘creating communities’ Rush died April 28 of a pulmonary embolism

Phillip Rush, a longtime LGBT rights activist in Atlanta, died suddenly April 28 of a pulmonary embolism, according to his close friend, Doug Carl. Rush was 55.
“I think his passion in life surrounded community building — not just for the gay community, but for the entire community,” Carl said. “That was his life’s work.”
News of Rush’s death prompted shock and sorrow from many Atlanta activists and nonprofit professionals, who praised his ability to draw diverse people together.“He was always trying to find different ways to bring together people who wouldn’t otherwise meet, but who he thought would benefit from seeing a situation or issue through someone else’s lens,” said Allen Thornell, who worked with Rush when Thornell served as executive director and as a board member of Georgia Equality.“He worked to create communities,” said Thornell, now director of policy communications for CARE USA.
Atlanta activist Duncan Teague recalled how he first met Rush at a workshop more than a decade ago, then became friends.“What I loved about Phillip was that my impression is that he had come from privilege … and in spite of whatever that may have meant for some folks in that economic class, for Phillip that was never an excuse not to do for other people and never, ever an excuse to stop learning,” he said.
Rush wasn’t afraid to make mistakes as he tried to bridge some of the race and class divisions in gay Atlanta, said Teague, praising Rush as “an ally of amazing ability.”“He taught us all about what it means to do this diversity thing and mean it,” Teague said.
Friends and fellow activists posted dozens of messages on Rush’s Facebook wall, creating a makeshift memorial that illustrated the profound effect he had on those who knew him.The comments came from a mix of genders, ages and races, illustrating the diverse alliances Rush worked to build. They described him as a “hero” and a “mighty oak,” someone whose “quiet wisdom” and “heart, commitment and dedication” “added light to the world.”
In almost 15 years as a program officer with the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Rush helped provide funding, support and encouragement to a variety of non-profit organizations. His role included work on the agency’s Common Good Funds and leading the “Managing For Excellence” awards, according to a biography of Rush posted on the foundation’s website.He also helped direct funding to gay causes. From 1994-1999, he led the Community Foundation’s Lesbian & Gay Funding Initiative for Youth, described by the agency as “Georgia’s first institutional response to the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.”
‘He will live on’
Rush left the Community Foundation in March as part of a layoff that was a mutual decision, said Alicia Philipp, president of the Community Foundation. “He was ready to start his own thing,” she said.Philipp said the two remained in close contact and like many others, she was “devastated” by his death.“One day we might forget the way his face would light up when he had an idea about doing something, or the cranky way he would ask a question — and it was always the right question,” Philipp said. “But we’re not going to forget that he helped start YouthPride or that he connected donors to all kinds of things around the environment and smart growth in Atlanta.“The things he made a difference in will have a lasting value,” she said. “He will live on in all the projects he helped connect people to.”
Rush launched Next Incarnation, focused on funding and non-profits, in March 2009.Originally from Nashville, Tenn., he graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1974 with a degree in sociology. Along with his career in philanthropy, he also held positions with two family businesses.
Following Rush’s wishes, Carl said he will be remembered with a “gathering” on Friday, May 1, at FROGS Cantina in Midtown Promenade, where his favorite stool has become a memorial marked by flowers.Rush’s survivors include close friends Carl, Robert Carroll and Ryland Leyton.

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