Media Center

NBJC in the News


Washington, D.C. – March 26, 2014 – This week marks the annual LGBTQ Pride Week at Spelman and Morehouse Colleges in Atlanta, Georgia. This year’s theme is “We are Coming Home” and includes a variety of engaging campus events aimed at celebrating the fearless, creative, and resilient spirits of LGBTQ folks of color; promoting the community and alliance building amongst the Atlanta University Consortium’s student body; and most importantly, affirming and taking pride in LGBT identities–-culturally, spiritually, and holistically.

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Our movement for full equality for LGBT people continues to gain momentum. We’ve seen tremendous strides in terms of marriage equality (a total of 17 states now grant the freedom to marry) and most recently with the increased visibility of black LGBT public figures. ButUganda’s current crisis and the close call in Arizona remind us that we must remain vigilant—that despite the many trails being blazed, we are still very much in the heat of the battle and all is not won yet.
Basketball star Jason Collins recently made history as the first openly gay male player in a major sports league when he joined the Brooklyn Nets. Earlier this year, Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts spoke about her longtime girlfriend for the first time on national television. Trans legends-in-the-making Laverne Cox, breakout actress of the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black, hate crime survivor CeCe McDonald, and New York Times bestselling author Janet Mock are leading the national conversation around transgender equality.

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While the America we live in today is more tolerant and accepting than decades and centuries past, we still have a long and arduous road ahead. Despite false claims that we live in a "post-racial" society, African Americans still face prejudice and systemic racism regularly. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people still combat discrimination and are denied access to basic protections. When you exist at these intersectional identities, simply trying to provide for yourself and your family becomes a battlefield.
At the National Black Justice Coalition, we have been fighting for over a decade to help LGBT African Americans live fully empowered, authentic lives. We know that Black LGBT people can struggle to find acceptance not only in mainstream America, but also within their own LGBT and African American communities. Now we have the figures to back up what we witness firsthand daily.

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The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is proud to partner with Athlete Ally to launch a list honoring lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) leaders of color in sports. We composed this list of LGBTQI people of color who have emerged as the leaders and the legends in the global effort for LGBT inclusion in sports.

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On the evening of Wednesday, February 26, 2014, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer heard us all loud and clear and vetoed Senate Bill 1062! On Monday the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce join forces with fellow organizations from the National Business Inclusion Consortium (NBIC), including the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the National Black Justice Coalition, and United States Business Leadership Network: Disability at Work, in sending a strong letter to the Governor demanding the veto and calling on our collective affiliates, corporate partners, and small businesses to follow suit. We asked, you listened and our collective voice was heard!

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...Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks, executive director and CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition, is one of 15 newly appointed members. Since 2009, Lettman-Hicks has headed NBJC, a national civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. NBJC’s mission is to end racism and homophobia. The Washington, DC-based organization was started at a press conference on December 8, 2003. Today, it is a leading national voice on behalf of LGBT persons of color.

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In a puzzling turn of events, Judge William Thomas, a judge for Florida’s 11th judicial circuit in Miami-Dade, will not become the United States’ first black, gay male federal judge.  Elected to his current post in 2005, Thomas was first nominated by President Obama in November 2012 to a seat on the Miami-based U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

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As the world mourns the passing of one of the most beloved figures for peace and equality, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) pauses to honor and celebrate the life and service of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.  His legacy will be remembered as an example of struggle, sacrifice, perseverance and ultimate victory through his passionate belief in the good of the human spirit. 
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On this day, thousands will gather across the globe to observe Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR). It is on this day that the world will pause to honor and remember the lives of our loved ones lost due to anti-transgender violence.  Many of those whose names are sounded on this day will never be recognized by the mainstream media--meaning the public outrage over their senseless deaths will never take place. Today, we say their names for the world to hear. Today, we speak out about the heinous crimes being committed against a whole segment of our community. Today, we hold accountable the perpetrators of those crimes, the failed justice system investigating those crimes that are still unsolved, the media outlets that mis-gender and disrespect the victims of those crimes, and society for failing to create safe and affirming climates, thus making such crimes possible and acceptable. 

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In my years as an advocate for racial equality, I've heard countless stories from black men, women, and youth about barriers faced in school, college, finding a job, keeping a job, and being treated equally in the workplace. Despite laws that promote equal access to employment and protect workers from unfair practices, black workers can be subjected to hiring bias, unequal pay, and discrimination. We've worked tirelessly to enforce workplace protections so that all black people can have a fair shot at getting ahead.
 
Now, those laws aren't perfect, but imagine if we didn't have them. Imagine if co-workers made disparaging remarks about who you are, what you look like, or whom you love and there was nothing you could do about it. Imagine if you worked just as hard as your colleagues, then one day a new manager walked up and fired you just because you are black, but you didn't have any recourse, either with your supervisor, the human resources manager, or the law.

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