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WASHINGTON--On June 24th, Avary Palmer, a Black trans man, was drugged and raped by a United States Marshall. Palmer shared his experience via Instagram. In response to the horrific incident, National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director David Johns released the following statement:
“Violence against Black people, Black trans people must come to an end. Sexual violence affects every demographic and every community; however lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people experience sexual violence at similar or higher rates than heterosexual people. We do not have an exact count of the frequency with which Black trans people have been sexually assaulted because federal statistics are limited and we know that there is significant under-reporting. We do know that these violent acts disproportionately plague Black LGBTQ/SGL people and the hate filled rhetoric attacking diversity and difference coming from the White House is multiplying prejudice. 

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WASHINGTON -- In response to the first night of Democratic Debates, David J. Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition released the following statement:
“Tonight’s Democratic debate officially kicks off the long road to the 2020 election – the outcome of which will be pivotal in determining America’s future. An eclectic array of Democratic candidates is eager to challenge Trump’s tenure as president and are poised to speak to diverse issues including the economy, border security, and climate change. 

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WASHINGTON--Today, the Supreme Court announced their ruling on the controversial citizenship question that was slated to appear on the 2020 census, blocking the question temporarily. In response, David Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition released the following statement:
“The 2020 Census is critically important to ensuring democracy in America.  Not only does a complete and accurate Census provide better data on the diversity that exists throughout the country it also enables the equitable apportionment of resources to meet critical needs.  

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WASHINGTON -- Today, June 27, is National HIV Testing Day. In recognition of the day, David Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), released the following statement:
“With recent advancements in technology, healthcare and making space for Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, we are proud to celebrate a day where HIV testing and awareness no longer carries the weight of a death sentence. Testing should be a tool that each of us uses to ensure that our community--the beautifully diverse Black community continues to thrive in the face of white supremacy and anti-Blackness. Let us take full advantage of opportunities like National HIV Testing Day to ensure that we can invest all of our resources into thriving.

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WASHINGTON -- Today, June 28, is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Resistance. On June 28th, 1969, as the Stonewall Inn was being raided by New York police, it is said by many that Marsha P. Johnson, a Black transgender freedom fighter threw a shot glass against a mirror which instigated moments of resistance that lasted for days, igniting the Gay Liberation Movement. This is still known as ‘the shot glass heard around the world.’

In recognition of the anniversary, David Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), released the following statement:

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WASHINGTON --  On June 25th, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced a new President will take office in August, Alphonso B. David, an accomplished and nationally-recognized Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transexual Queer and Same Gender Loving (LGBTQ/SGL) civil rights lawyer and advocate. David will be the first civil rights lawyer and the first person of color to lead the HRC.

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On Thursday, June 13, Zoe Spears (23) was killed in Fairmount Heights, Maryland, a Washington D.C. suburb. Spears is the tenth Black transgender woman murdered in 2019. She was killed just a few blocks away from where Ashanti Carmon, another Black transgender woman, was found dead in March of this year. Both Spears and Carmon were members of a tight-knit community; however, authorities deny any connection between their deaths.

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WASHINGTON--Last week, we lost another member of the Black Trans Community. Layleen Polanco, a 27-year old Black trans woman, was found dead in her cell at Rikers Island, where she had been serving time for an alleged assault and possession of a controlled substance. Polanco was held in an unit specifically intended to reduce possible violence against trans and gender non-conforming people. She was found unresponsive in her cell and pronounced dead after an hour of revival attempts. The nature of Polanco’s death is still being investigated.

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According to the Human Rights Campaign nearly 80% of LGBTQ/SGL teens report feeling depressed. Data suggests that LGBTQ/SGL youth experience violence and bullying nearly twice as much as children who are or are presumed to be heterosexual. 74% of LGBTQ/SGL students report feeling unsafe, bullied, and harassed in schools throughout the country according to GLSEN. LGBTQ/SGL students are five times more likely to attempt suicide compared to their heterosexual peers.

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Huntsville, Alabama-- On April 18, 2019, 14-year-old Nigel Shelby died by suicide after constant homophobic bullying for being gay. This Monday, June 10, Nigel Shelby’s mother Camika Shelby will announce that she is retaining nationally renowned civil rights attorneys Benjamin Crump, Esquire and Jasmine Rand, Esquire, to investigate the circumstances involving her son’s death, the bullying he experienced at Huntsville High School, and his school administrators’ role in his decision to take his life. Crump and Rand are best known for their work as nationally renowned civil rights attorneys who represented the family of Trayvon Martin. 

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