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April 17, 2013






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the NBJC E-Digest.

Our Issues: Interview with the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC)

Same-Sex Marriage Supporters Again Gather Outside Supreme Court

Diversity Toolbox: LGBT Stories Need Ethnic, Gender Diversity

100 Amazing Trans Americans You Should Know

Police: Too Early to Call Transgender Woman's Death a Hate Crime

Atlanta's 'Mix Fest' Showcases Black LGBT Filmmakers, Artists

Living Outside the Safety Net – LGBT Families and Social Security 


Donté Stallworth, Wide Receiver, Joins Group Fighting Homophobia In Sports

Pink & Purple Weekend

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The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. NBJC's mission is to end racism and homophobia.




It is a bittersweet time for our organization and family. While we celebrate NBJC's growth, we also mourn the loss of our family member, friend and dedicated supporter, Hutson Inniss. We received word during the first week in April that our dear friend, Hutson, passed away. In this season and time of change and transition, we reflect on his invaluable contributions to our movement, to NBJC as a member of our Leadership Advisory Council, and to many, many lives in the LGBT community. 


We dedicate this edition of the E-Digest to his memory and gifts, especially in the area of health and wellness for all. 


We love you, Hutson. You will be missed. We will make sure that your memory is preserved, and your kind and gentle spirit is never forgotten.


– The NBJC Family


Our Issues: Interview with the National Black Justice Coalition




AfroPunk recently sat down with Spelman alumnus and NBJC Programs and Outreach Associate Je-Shawna Wholley to discuss the founding of the organization, influencing policy, experiences of queer Black people on Historically Black College and University as well as predominantly white college campuses, and what "queer" looks like in a modern context: "NBJC ensures that queer Black people are in the room when political conversations are happening and policy decisions are being made. We make sure the Black LGBT narrative, experience, and priorities are represented, and that our community has a seat at the table. When you're talking about economic empowerment, violence or homelessness, NBJC doesn't allow you to ignore how that's going to impact queer Black people."



ssgatherSame-Sex Marriage Supporters Again Gather Outside Supreme Court

– Washington Blade


Several hundred same-sex marriage supporters once again gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday as the justices heard oral arguments in a case that challenges the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. National Black Justice Coalition CEO Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Tyler Deaton of Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron and Earl Fowlkes of the Center for Black [Equity] are among those who spoke at a rally near the steps of the Supreme Court. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church gathered along First Street, N.E., but the vast majority of those who gathered outside the court backed nuptials for gays and lesbians.





toolboxDiversity Toolbox: LGBT Stories Need Ethnic, Gender Diversity

– Quill Magazine


The National Black Justice Coalition has a team of black LGBT experts who are willing to talk to the press, said Kimberley McLeod, communications director for the coalition. McLeod says her group has worked closely with national magazines to find LGBT people of color for news stories. Diverse voices in LGBT stories are crucial because media images have an impact on lawmakers, McLeod said. "I see the national conversation is not inclusive of people at the intersections of racial equality and LGBT equality," she said. "These multiple 'isms' that affect us are not being addressed in policy." 



farewellNBJC Bids Communications Director Farewell


The NBJC team congratulates communications director Kimberley McLeod as she moves on to her next chapter in life. The media strategist, LGBT advocate and founder of ELIXHER Magazine will be moving on to work full-time as a media consultant and as the editor-in-chief of her award-winning digital publication. "We are sad to see Kimberley go," says Sharon Lettman-Hicks, NBJC Executive Director and CEO. "She has been an invaluable contributor to the NBJC family, and has advanced our voice and visibility across the country. However, we're excited to see her pursue her dream as a social entrepreneur as she continues to amplify the presence and positive images of our community in the media."

nbjcrallyNBJC Rallies for OUR Love



On March 26-27, the NBJC team was on the ground at the U.S. Supreme Court for the United for Marriage Coalition rallies for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Prop 8 cases. NBJC was a proud partner of the coalition, which consisted of LGBT and allied groups, grassroots leaders, and families. NBJC Executive Director and CEO Sharon Lettman-Hicks provided remarks at the rally, sharing a compelling personal story about the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and discrimination.

sharonkeynoteSharon Lettman-Hicks Keynotes at Bolder Than Out Conference Empowerment Luncheon


NBJC Board Member Michelle E. Brown, NBJC's Sharon Lettman-Hicks, and MEGA Personalities Richard E. Pelzer II at the Bolder Than Out Conference.

The Coalition for Justice and Respect (CJR), a Chicago-based civil-rights and social-justice organization of African-American LGBT individuals, hosted the Bolder Than Out Conference, April 5-7. The primary goal of the Bolder Than Out Conference is to build our movement's political power from the ground up to secure our overarching goal of full equality, social justice and dignity for Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. NBJC Executive Director Sharon Lettman-Hicks served as the Empowerment Luncheon keynote speaker and former NFL Player Wade Davis, who is black and openly gay, served as the opening keynote speaker.




nbjcimmigrationNBJC Supports Immigration Reform

NBJC signed on to a joint release with 26 join local, state and national immigration, civil rights and LGBT groups and advocates marching for justice for all immigrants on National Immigration Day of Action. We stood in solidarity with the immigration movement in calling on Congress to do the right thing and pass fair and humane comprehensive immigration reform. 


On April 9, NBJC Policy and Networks Associate Rodney Nickens attended an Immigration Forum at Howard University entitled "Immigration Reform in Black America." Held in partnership with the Congressional Black Caucus' Taskforce on Immigration Reform, the dialogue was led by CBC Taskforce on Immigration Reform Co-Chairs Rep. Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) and Rep. Steven Horsford (NV-04).


The following day, NBJC joined thousands of advocates of immigration reform, lobbied Congress and rallied outside the Capitol supporting sensible legislation offering a path to citizenship for the 11 million people who are in the country without documentation.


NBJC continues to educate Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members about the importance of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). Under current law, lesbian and gay Americans cannot sponsor their foreign national partners for residency in the United States. UAFA would allow LGBT Americans to keep their families together.





brunchNBJC Supports Openly LGBT Public Officials at Victory Fund National Brunch


Left to right: Courtney Christopher, NBJC Board Member Warren Christopher, Del. Mary Washington (D-MD, 43rd District),NBJC's Michael J. Brewer, NBJC's Rodney Nickens, Jr.

The NBJC team attended the Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch as guests of GLSEN's Director of Public Policy, Shawn Gaylord. The event celebrated and honored openly LGBT elected officials and candidates for office. Special guests included Loni Love from the "Chelsea Lately" show, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, Pennsylvania State Representative Brian Sims, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Victory Fund President and CEO Chuck Wolfe. 



longtowncallNBJC LAC Member Stacey Long Participates in Out & Equal Town Call


NBJC Leadership Advisory Council (LAC) Member and Director of Public Policy at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Stacey Long, participated in Out & Equal's monthly town call webinar to discuss the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) on March 28, 2013. Over the past several years, the LGBT community has witnessed some meaningful progress in federal laws and policies. The last U.S. Congress passed hate crime legislation covering both sexual orientation and gender identity, and they repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The current Administration has provided guidance for the inclusion of LGBT citizens on a number of important fronts, and the U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering the constitutionality of both Proposition 8 and the DOMA in its first time taking on marriage equality cases. A fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, however, has remained out of reach.


Listen to the podcast here



youthawarenessNBJC Endorses National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day


NBJC Policy and Networks Associate Rodney Nickens attended a congressional briefing honoring National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (April 10) in cooperation with Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13). NBJC was a proud supporter of this day, which acknowledges and addresses the needs of youth.



howardforumNBJC Presents at Howard University Forum on LGBT Issues



On March 25, NBJC's Rodney Nickens presented on a panel hosted by the Howard University School of Social Work. The interactive dialogue entitled "Changing Health and Human Service Practice to Meet the Demands of Changing Policy," highlighted policy and practice implications of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT), the Obama Administration's support for marriage equality, and the LGBT inclusive Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).


giveoutJoin NBJC on Give OUT Day, National Initiative for LGBT Giving

On May 9, NBJC is participating in Give OUT Day. Give OUT Day is a new national initiative that will engage hundreds of organizations and mobilize thousands of people on a single day across the country to give in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community. It is a chance for LGBTQ groups large and small, to work across the wide range of issues and activities that matter to the LGBTQ community from sports to policy change, families to the arts. It is a chance for members of the LGBTQ community and our many allies to stand up and show our support for our community together on one day.





thankbeThank Black Enterprise for its April Cover Story "Gay Marriage & Its Impact on Black Wealth"


The April issue of Black Enterprise features lesbian couple, Mignon Moore and Elaine Harley, and breaks down the harms caused by denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry. Last year, the publication won a GLAAD Media Award for its July 2011 "Black & Gay in Corporate America" cover story. Read more at and pick up the latest issue on stands, available April 30.


Tweet this message of support to the publication:


I join @NBJContheMove & commend @BlackEnterprise for their LGBT-inclusive April cover & for continuing to tell the FULL Black narrative.


trans100100 Amazing Trans Americans You Should Know

– BuzzFeed


The brainchild of We Happy Trans' Jen Richards and Antonia D'orsay, executive director of This Is How, the Trans 100 represents an effort – which will hopefully be reflected across the LGBT community – to break down implicit (and explicit) transphobia in media coverage by highlighting the diversity of trans Americans. Janet Mock, a noted trans activist and member of this year's list, declared during her keynote address at the Trans 100 Launch event on March 29 in Chicago, "I am here tonight because of the 99 other names on the inaugural Trans 100 list and the unrecognized thousands who are not on this list whose quiet acts are changing lives."


NBJC Note: Congratulations to this year's Trans 100 honorees! Family, friends and community partners we've worked with closely were honored, including our board member Kylar Broadus, Earline Budd, Monica Roberts, Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, Ja'briel Walthour, and KOKUMO. Congrats again to all!



tooearlyPolice: Too Early to Call Transgender Woman's Death a Hate Crime          

– ABC News


Police in Baltimore City are investigating the murder of a transgender woman. "Kelly Young" was born "Rodney Little." Early Wednesday morning police were called to a home in the 2200 block of Barclay Street for a report of a shooting. Rescue crews found Young inside of the home; she died at the hospital. She grew up along Pennsylvania Avenue in West Baltimore. On Thursday her family and friends came together to remember her life and call for the killer to be brought to justice.





foundshotTransgender Woman Found Shot to Death in Oak Ridge Area

– CF News 13


A transgender woman was found shot to death Thursday morning in a wooded area in the Oak Ridge area of Orange County. Investigators did not immediately release much information, but did identify the victim as 30-year-old Ashley Sinclair. Deputies spent Thursday morning in the woods along Rio Grande Avenue, where the victim was found after a 911 call came from neighbors just before 6 a.m. saying shots were fired in the area of the 1600 block of Nimrod Lane. A neighbor said they saw a black sedan pull up and then heard four shots fired.





shelterrejectsD.C. Shelter Accused of Rejecting Trans Women

-Washington Blade


 A shelter for homeless women located three blocks from the U.S. Capitol is violating the D.C. Human Rights Act by refusing to admit transgender women unless they provide "documentation" of a legal name change or gender reassignment surgery, according to separate complaints against the facility by two transgender women.



solomanSoloman Harris, 8th Grade Student, Allegedly Shot By Bullies With BB Gun

– Orlando Sentinel


The last place a mother thinks her child will get shot is in class. But that's exactly what happened to Soloman Harris, an eighth grade student at Curtiss Middle School, he told NBC. In the heartbreaking video above, Harris said he was shot in the back and face as he sat in class by two classmates who regularly bully him.




Gail Marquis, Former Olympic Basketball Player, Shares Love Story With Audrey Smaltz  

– Huffington Post


In 1976, Gail Marquis was playing on the first U.S. women's basketball team to compete in the Olympics. Around that time Audrey Smaltz was knee-deep in the fashion industry. Fast forward to 2011, when the basketball star and fashion commentator wed in New York City's Central Park. Today, Marquis and Smaltz work together with Freedom To Marry to help legalize same-sex marriage across the United States. Take a look at the video above of the happy couple sharing their incredible love story.





hastingsHastings on Supreme Court Challenges to Proposition 8 and DOMA

– Office of Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL)

On March 26, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) issued the following statement as the Supreme Court hears oral arguments over the next two days in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, which challenges California's Proposition 8, and the case of United States v. Windsor, which challenges the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): "It is clear that both Proposition 8 and DOMA lack constitutional authority and must be overturned. At this momentous time in our nation's history, I am hopeful that the Supreme Court will ultimately recognize the equal rights of same-sex couples. Likewise, I will continue working tirelessly with my colleagues in Congress to achieve nothing less than full equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. It is simply the right thing to do."





endaMarriage Is Great, But Many LGBT People of Color Need Job Safety 

– Colorlines

Contrary to the aspirational images wealthy white men in popular media, such as the gay-millionaire couple on NBC's hit-comedy "The New Normal" or the upwardly mobile denizens of "Will & Grace," LGBT Americans are more likely to be poor and less educated than their peers, and come from communities that have been historically, economically marginalized. More than half of LGBT people in the U.S. are women, and black Americans, Asian Americans and Latinos make up a greater proportion of those identifying as LGBT than do whites. 



jamalAtlanta's 'MIXFEST' Showcases Black LGBT Filmmakers, Artists

– GA Voice   


MIXFEST, which dubs itself as the "only festival dedicated to showcasing LGBT film + creative arts" debuts in Atlanta this weekend with a full lineup of films and artist showcases. Dedicated to highlighting women and youth as well as new voices, MIXFEST is hoping to "establish itself as the preeminent destination film +arts event for the LGBT community, family, friends & allies." Maurice Jamal, writer, director and actor in "The Ski Trip" and "Dirty Laundry" is chairperson of the fest and states on the MIXFEST website that now is the time to promote LGBT artists of color.  

MIXFEST was supported by Black AIDS Institute, Safe Space at Morehouse College, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Black Justice Coalition.  

NBJC Note: Maurice Jamal serves on NBJC's Leadership Advisory Council (LAC). 



hrcsafetyLiving Outside the Safety Net – LGBT Families and Social Security



Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people live in 99.3 percent of all U.S. counties, work in every sector of the economy, and are raising at least 250,000 children, according to The Williams Institute. These working families have experienced the impact of the current economic downturn alongside the rest of America. However, systemic discrimination coupled with a lack of uniform relationship recognition increases the risk of poverty for same-sex couples, their children, and the growing number of LGBT older adults. Due to this discrimination, LGBT people – especially the elderly – have lower incomes and are less likely to be able to save for retirement or disability.


Read HRC's briefing: Living Outside the Safety Net: LGBT Families and Social Security  



stallworthDonté Stallworth, Wide Receiver, Joins Group Fighting Homophobia In Sports   


NFL wide receiver Donté Stallworth has joined Athlete Ally, a group dedicated to fighting homophobia in sports. His decision to fight for gay rights was inspired in part by his brush with death last month, when he and his girlfriend were nearly killed in a hot air balloon accident.


According to a statement from Athlete Ally, the event "triggered a desire to do his part to make the world a better, safer place and that includes for LGBT individuals in sports."



pinkpurplePink & Purple Weekend 

Friday, May 3 – Sunday, May 5   

Washington, DC


From dancing under the stars to honoring leaders and allies, hosted by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, Pink & Purple Weekend is a celebration of how far we've come as a community and looks ahead to where we're going.





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.