Socially loud! Can you hear us?


The Vision for NBJC in 2018 & Beyond: Liberation for all of Black America

By David J. Johns, NBJC Executive Director


Growing up, I rarely saw people who looked like me, who showed up in the world as I did—equally proud of and settled into their Blackness as well as their queerness. For me, this meant embracing same-gender attraction as a fundamental part of who I am and how I move through the world. As a Black boy growing up in a non-nuclear family in Inglewood, California, the possibilities for my masculine identity as well as romantic and intimate relationships were constructed by shallow social understandings of “traditional” and accepted behaviors that rendered the diverse and life changing contributions of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and same gender loving (SGL) people invisible. For me and for too many Black LGBTQ/SGL youth and young adults, the contributions of individuals like Bayard Rustin, Marsha P. Johnson, Audre Lorde, Essex Hemphill and, more recently, Tarell Alvin McCraney are rendered invisible, which makes the image of existing in the world as both Black and LGBTQ/SGL that much more challenging. I, like many others, have been struggling to find or create a community where diverse reflections of Blackness allow for the myriad possibilities that actually exist in reality. This dire need in my personal life is what makes me so passionate and excited about the work I am privileged to lead as executive director for the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the nation’s leading civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black LGBTQ/SGL people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.

NBJC’s Empowerment Agenda

When leaders do a better job of centering and responding to the needs of the most often neglected and ignored people within society, the holistic health and wellness of an entire group of people improves—benefitting all members of the community. By highlighting the unique experiences of the most marginalized members of our families and communities, we have the power to address unique needs that are often overlooked and ignored. This approach undergirds my philosophy of community empowerment and development and elucidates the path toward full health and wellness of the Black family and the full liberation of the Black community. Fundamental components of this work include the following:  

Creating space(s) to center (identify and discuss) and the needs of members of the community most often marginalized, neglected and rendered invisible.

  • Curating stories humanizing and celebrating the diverse experiences of Black LGBTQ/SGL people.
  • Providing platforms for Black LGBTQ/SGL people to talk about their experiences and to enroll others in ensuring they thrive.
  • Changing “traditional” narratives by focusing on the usage of affirmative language used to engage or talk about LGBTQ/SGL people to facilitate the healing and community strengthening required to work better together toward shared liberation.


Champion efforts to and support the work required for communities to work better together to support the members of our community most often marginalized, neglected and rendered invisible.

  • Supporting community led, collective impact by facilitating convenings to overcome of alienation, misunderstanding and victimization.
  • Establishing and re-setting community tables where caring and concerned adults engage in the tough work of having courageous conversations to better addressing unmet needs of those most often neglected and ignored.  


Leveraging policy and practice to ensure Black families have the resources required to accomplish the aforementioned goals.

  • Translating information that is digestible and culturally competent is critical to the work of supporting the members of the Black community most often neglected, ignored or rendered invisible. This is inclusive of public policy activities and resources designed to fill capacity gaps, center the most marginalized members of our community and to otherwise move closer to the goal of collective liberation for Black people.
  • Leveraging the power of communications to challenge hearts and change minds regarding the unique and enduring contributions made by Black LGBTQ people to the Black commuinty more generally and to society at large.  


To support the aforementioned goals, during my first full year as Executive Director, NBJC will host a number of forums and otherwise engage in efforts better understand and, as a result, subsequently enhance the lives of Black LGBTQ/SGL individuals including in ways that strengthen relationships with the greater Black community and that improve the health and wellness of the Black community as a whole.  A number of these efforts will include robst communications engagements desigend to celebrate the diversity of and contributions made by our community.  By improving the capacity of the greater Black community to talk about and to engage with the Black LGBTQ/SGL community we can lift the veil that has too often obscured or rendered the contributions made by Black LGBTQ/SGL individuals invisible.  

Throughout my tenure at NBJC we will work to support communities, where Black people live, in better understanding both the needs of and unique contributions made by Black LGBTQ/SGL people.  In addition we will work in concert with Black people who are not LGBTQ/SGL to strengthen the entire Black family, fortify the Black community and ultimately contribute to collective liberation of Black America. This vision of a unified Black community requires a collective investment in the holistic health and wellness of every member of the Black community—most especially the least of these. This will be NBJC’s  foundational commitment to the communities it serves in 2018 and beyond.

Will you sew a seed of support for this vision of a whole, happy and healthy Black community by making an end of the year/holiday donation to support NBJC:

Thank you in advance for all that you will do in the New Year to support the strategic goals of NBJC.


David J. Johns

Executive Director

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.