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‘This is a very big deal’

Change is in the air and prominent local black LGBT activists say its effects will be palpable at this weekend’s Black Pride festivities.

It’s debatable what led to the timing of President Obama’s announced change of heart on same-sex marriage — he told ABC’s Robin Roberts in a May 9 interview that he “think(s) same-sex couples should be able to get married,” an unprecedented statement for a sitting U.S. president — but whether it was the timing of the North Carolina amendment to ban same-sex marriage, Vice President Joe Biden’s shockingly unbridled comments the weekend before on “Meet the Press” or just the final stop on his self-proclaimed “evolution” on the issue, the announcement came as a shock to many, especially since it’s an election year. But the comments and the subsequent announcement by the NAACP of its endorsement of same-sex marriage make for a radically altered climate for D.C. Black Pride and several other piggy-backing black LGBT events happening this weekend….

Sharon Lettman-Hicks, who prefers the term “sister of the movement” to straight ally (she’s married to a man but is also executive director of the LGBT rights group National Black Justice Coalition), agrees.

“I was extremely proud,” she says. “I was in shock and awe, but also just extremely proud that he would do this in such a polarizing political climate, but he was willing to step outside of the world of politics and really put human dignity first.”

READ MORE at the Washington Blade

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.