#GivingTuesday: Why I #GIVE2NBJC and So Should You
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” — President Barack Obama.
Time and time again, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) has worked to empower young Black LGBT leaders. As a young, Black, lesbian woman, I know how important it is to be included at the table and armed with the knowledge and resources necessary for social and political change. Through programming such as the White House Policy Briefing for Black LGBT Emerging Leaders and its annual OUT on the Hill Black LGBT Leadership Summit, NBJC has committed to equipping our next generation of leaders with the tools necessary to own their power. Most recently, NBJC has launched the Black LGBT Emerging Leaders Initiative, an intentional effort to create more programs and sponsorship opportunities dedicated to empowering and mobilizing young Black LGBT leaders between the ages of 18 and 30.
This sense of responsibility has led me to spearhead a signature initiative for NBJC by spreading the word about the importance of giving back on Giving Tuesday, November 27, and beyond. Giving Tuesday is a national campaign with hundreds of charities, organizations and non-profits purposed to celebrate and encourage more giving during the holiday season.
HERE IS MY STORY
When I graduated from Spelman College in 2010, I had no idea what I was going to do next. One thing was certain – I had found my purpose and that purpose was to change the social climate of this world to reflect one that was open, loving and culturally diverse. How that translated “professionally,” I had no clue. I had been engaged in campus organizing throughout college but where else in the “real world” would I be able to make the same type of difference? That’s when I came across NBJC, a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black LGBT people like me.
Here, at NBJC, I am not only equipped to fight for my own rights, but it is an expectation that I do the same for others. I have a family here – one that reaches beyond the staff that I work alongside. This family consists of the students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that are facing bullying and isolation because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. In this family, Robert Champion Jr. is my brother. I am Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover’s aunt. Deoni Jones is my cousin. And I am your sister. I take pride in the work that I get to do each day at NBJC. Whether it’s speaking out against anti-gay hate crimes on a panel or encouraging my peers and loved ones to become philanthropic stakeholders in this movement, I do this work for my community. I do this work for you.
At the end of the day, NBJC is making the case that gay and transgender people are Black, too, and that we deserve, no, we demand a seat at the table. An investment in NBJC is an investment in our collective power.
Personally, I decided to give to an organization that best represents who I am and is doing the work to better my life. Join me and make a contribution today.
Je-Shawana Wholley serves as NBJC's Programs and Outreach Associate.