WASHINGTON, DC – Every student has a right to an educational experience where they feel safe, engaged, and supported. However, the fact remains, that for too many students, especially Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving students (LGBTQ/SGL) find college campuses and K-12 schools to be hostile and unsafe spaces, which makes it challenging to learn and develop the skills, experiences, and credentials needed to succeed in the global 21st century labor market. Black transgender and gender nonconforming people face unique and sometimes disproportionate challenges, including hate crimes that make it harder for them to succeed in school and in life.

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The image of rural America is often white, working class, and socially conservative — and most definitely not where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same-gender loving people live.  This mental picture is largely reflected in the media and in popular depictions of rural America, but the reality is that millions of people of color — including Black, Latinx, Native, Asian, Middle Eastern, and multiracial people — live in rural United States, and many of them are LGBTQ/SGL. 

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WASHINGTON -- Later yesterday, the House Committee on Education and Labor held a hearing on the Equality Act, which would extend existing civil rights protections to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex. David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), released the following statement in response to the hearing:

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WASHINGTON, DC-- This morning, news broke that the charges against Jussie Smollett for allegedly orchestrating a hate crime have been dropped. In response to the news David Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), released the following statement:
 
“While many have taken it upon themselves to stand as judge and jury by rushing to dismiss brother Jussie Smollett’s allegations of a hate crime, it is important to remember that Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same-gender-loving people people experience acts of hatred and bias more than other groups of people. While there are still details about the case that we may never know, it is an important reminder that we should never rush to judgement, especially people in power.

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WASHINGTON, DC-- Today, the Equality Act was introduced by Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey.  The Equality Act would extend existing civil rights protections to include on the bases of sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex. After months of advocacy in support of the Act, David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), released the following statement:
 
"The National Black Justice Coalition applauds the introduction of the Equality Act. For far too long, too many Black Americans have lacked access to basic legal protections won by the Civil Rights Movement because of who we love, or how we show up in the world. In the absence of clear and consistent federal protections, Black LGBTQ and Same-Gender-Loving (SGL) people remain among this country’s most marginalized. 

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