Washington, DC – May 15, 2015 – The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the nation’s leading civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, stands in solidarity with Michael L. Johnson, a Black gay man who was found guilty by a St. Charles County, Missouri jury yesterday of one count of “recklessly infecting” a partner with HIV, and three counts of “recklessly exposing” partners to HIV. The verdict from a jury, comprised of 11 white jurors and one Black juror, came after only two hours of deliberation and after just three days of a trial. He now faces life in prison.

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“NBJC is thrilled that U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch has finally been confirmed by the Senate to become our nation’s next Attorney General. It’s an embarrassment that this well-qualified nominee had to wait 165 days for a vote on the Senate floor, longer than any other nominee in our nation’s history,” said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, NBJC Executive Director & CEO. “Now that she has been confirmed, NBJC looks forward to continuing to work with the Department of Justice under her leadership working on critical issues like profiling, voting rights and equal protection laws for the LGBT community.

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Today, April 10, 2015, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) joins with the nation to recognize National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD), which is an annual observance to educate the public about the impact of HIV/AIDS on young people as well as highlight the inspiring work young people are doing across the country to fight the epidemic. Young people today are the first generation to have never known a world without HIV/AIDS. In the United States alone, one in four new HIV cases are among youth, ages 13 to 24. Every month, 1,000 young people acquire HIV, and more than 70,000 young people are currently living with HIV across the country. Most new HIV cases in youth (about 70 percent) occur in gay and bisexual males; most are African American.

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Today, March 7, 2015, President Obama will lead the nation and world in commemorating the50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. The horrific events of "Bloody Sunday" and the courageous movement work of countless individuals risking and giving their lives propelled the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, prohibiting racial discrimination in voting. This legislative victory in the Civil Rights Movement was a vital part of progress that increased the participation of Black voters in American elections and the number of Black elected officials on all levels of government.

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Every year on February 7th our nation pauses to recognize the need for action to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Black communities. National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) began 15 years ago as a means of engaging Black people about the epidemic and spread of HIV within our families and neighborhoods. At the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), we have called to action the Black family around the notion that the first step to ending the epidemic in our community is to embrace HIV/AIDS as a Black health issue.

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