The White House Office of Public Engagement has partnered with the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (The Task Force) to bring young African American LGBT emerging leaders to the White House to participate in a special Black History Month discussion entitled, Winning the Future: African American LGBT Emerging Leaders at the White House. Today, attendees will participate in a special discussion with Obama Administration appointees and African American LGBT emerging leaders with a focus on pursuing careers in government and public service. Attendees will also be provided with an update on current LGBT initiatives and the Administration’s policy priorities.
In this climate, leadership is important. The African American LGBT emerging leaders participating in the White House event are the young adults who are preparing to lead this movement and our community into the future. Hope and promise are all around us, but they will only be recognized if we remain vigilant and continue to identify talent and funnel young, brilliant minds into channels where they can receive everything they need to be successful. Ultimately, their success–individually and collectively–will signal our community’s achievement of equality. The next opportunity for such a gathering will be at "OUT on the Hill" 2011. Start preparing now!
Save the Date: NBJC’s Second Annual “OUT on the Hill” Black LGBT Leadership Summit | Washington, DC | September 20-25, 2011 | Download More Information
Reflecting on last week, perhaps the biggest development was the Obama Administration announcement that it would no longer defend Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court. Section 3 is the portion of the law that, for federal purposes, defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. DOMA was passed in 1996, and it has placed discriminatory and punitive restrictions on the ability of gay and lesbian couples to marry and provide the same protections for their families as those automatically available to other couples. Yet, when President Obama announced that he believed Section 3 of DOMA to be unconstitutional and said his administration would no longer defend it in court, the LGBT movement for equality took a huge step forward. As President Obama was demonstrating his unprecedented support for the LGBT community, the Maryland Senate passed a bill to recognize same-gender marriages. The local news was covered with images of some of Maryland’s gay and lesbian parents and their children who have been waiting too long to see their relationships recognized and treated with respect and dignity.
If you would like to learn more about NBJC’s work, please visit us at NBJC.org, “like” us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.
Onward and upward.
Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks
What the DOMA Decision Means for Black LGBT Families – The Root
NBJC Executive Director Sharon Lettman-Hicks was interviewed by Cynthia Gordy, a columnist who is now at The Root, about President Obama's decision to no longer defend Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court challenges. Section 3 is the part of the law that defines marriage between a man and a woman. In a rare and welcomed move, President Obama reversed his postion and has advised the Justice Department that he now believes that section of the law to be unconstitutional.
Change of Heart on DOMA Marks Historical Turning Point in Gay Rights – sdgln.com
When editors pull from statements released by prominent organizations and poll them in one column, it is referred to as a “round up.” This round up is a collection of quotes from national LGBT groups that commented on the President's DOMA announcement. NBJC is listed fourth.
Thursday Water Cooler: DOMA and Obama – 365gay.com
James Withers, a contributing editor at 365gay.com writes about the President's DOMA decision in his column this week stating, "Obama and DOMA. Not sure if anyone predicted the Justice Department would give up the ghost on the Defense of Marriage Act. As to be expected, gay rights organization applauded the move." The column quotes two organizations in his piece–Lambda Legal and NBJC.
GLAA Members and the Washington Wizards Present LGBT Community Night
The Washington Wizards present the LGBT Community Night on March 2nd vs. the Golden State Warriors. Come see some great basketball and celebrate the LGBT Community.
Game Details: Wednesday, March 2, 2011, 7:00 p.m.
CLICK HERE to buy discounted tickets and use promo code "community."
Morgan State University and Bmore Proud Host Symposium on Sexuality, Gender, Race, and Ethnicity
Morgan State University Women and Gender Studies Program and Bmore Proud present an Academic Symposium: "Intersections: Sexuality, Gender, Race and Ethnicity"
Date: Saturday, March 12, 2011
Time: 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Location: University Student Center Room 210
Keynote Speaker: Antonia Randolph, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Delaware
Registration: Faculty/Staff, $25; Graduate Students, $10; Undergraduate Students, FREE
Pre-registration required by March 1st.
Click here to register.
Statement of the Attorney General on Litigation Involving the Defense of Marriage Act
“After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny. The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases. I fully concur with the President’s determination.” – United States Attorney General, Eric Holder.
In Gay Rights Victory, Obama Administration Won't Defend Defense of Marriage Act – Washington Post
The Obama administration said Wednesday that it will no longer defend the federal law that bans the recognition of same-sex marriage because it considers the legislation unconstitutional, a sudden and rare reversal.
After Obama's Gay-Marriage Decision, 'A New World' – NPR
President Obama's assertion that the federal ban on same sex-marriage is unconstitutional has expanded the political debate on legal rights for gay Americans.
The administration's position on the Defense of Marriage Act "will affect every nook and cranny of gay rights," says James Esseks of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Conservatives Vow to Make Gay Marriage 2012 Issue – Washington Post
Angered conservatives are vowing to make same-sex marriage a front-burner election issue, nationally and in the states, following the Obama administration's announcement that it will no longer defend the federal law denying recognition to gay married couples. Conservatives also said they would now expect the eventual 2012 GOP presidential nominee to highlight the marriage debate as part of a challenge to Obama, putting the issue on equal footing with the economy.
Maryland Must End Discrimination, by Julian Bond – Baltimore Sun
Julian Bond has been a steadfast and stalwart advocate for LGBT rights, especially the right to marry. NBJC and Mitchell Gold produced a YouTube video of Julian Bond and his wife for the 40th Anniversary of Loving v. Virginia. Once again, Chairman Bond honors our community with his wisdom by rightly bringing our struggles under the auspices of the Civil Rights Movement.
Allums' Mom Says Son Kept from Playing – The Advocate
The mother of Kye Allums, an African American transgender basketball player for George Washington University, asserts that the school is preventing her son from playing. He is the first openly transgender person to play NCAA Division 1 basketball. Kye wants to help other transgender athletes.
Slideshow: US Presidents and the Black Leaders Who Moved Them – The Grio
Throughout history, African-American leaders have often provided critical insight, especially as it pertains to race relations, for presidents of both parties. Below is a list of some key advisors who were able to bend the ears of our commanders in chief through the decades. Some are well-known, while others worked in relative obscurity. Regardless of their status, these men and women offered key counsel during some of this nation's most turbulent and historic moments.
'Don't Ask' Repeal Training Set to Begin – American Forces Press Service
The chief of staff for the Defense Department's repeal implementation team recently said training will begin shortly for experts in certain specialties and leaders as part of the plan for finalizing repeal of the law that bars gay men, lesbians and bisexuals from serving openly in the military.
High-Ranking Father and Son are Unique in Naval History – Daily Press
"Father/son duo Melvin Williams Sr. 77, a retired command master chief, and his son, Melvin Jr., 55, a retired vice admiral and former commander of the U.S. Second Fleet in Norfolk, are making history. They have reached the highest enlisted rank in the Navy in their respective Naval specialties. Melvin senior equates the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal to what happened under Harry Truman with the integration of African American troops."
YouTube Star Antoine Dodson Discusses Being Bullied – VIDEO
Millions of YouTube viewers have seen Antoine Dodson sing the “Bed Intruder Song.” No watch him in this interview discussing being bullied as a child for being black and gay.
New York Latest Target of Black Anti-Abortion Billboards – The Root
It's safe to say that few things shock New Yorkers. But a new anti-abortion billboard erected in New York City's SoHo neighborhood has created a firestorm of controversy. It depicts the image of a pensive 6-year-old girl in a red sleeveless summer dress beneath these ominous and portentous words: "The Most Dangerous Place for an African American Is in the Womb."
LGBT Groups Protest Minister's Uganda Ties – Advocate.com
LGBT activists will hold a vigil to protest Rev. Lou Engle’s deep involvement in the “kill-the-gays” legislation in Uganda. LGBT groups are protesting the deliberate, orchestrated spread of homophobia in Africa and around the world.
WikiLeaks Cables Highlight Uganda Homophobia – Advocate.com
WikiLeaks has produced documentation that shows that Uganda’s leading anti-LGBT legislator, David Bahti, is attacking LGBT people to divert attention from Uganda’s socio-politico failings. Confidential memos chart a ‘chilling’ descent from tolerance to violent homophobia.
South African LGBT Activists Launch Unique Rainbow Flag – LezGetReal.com
South African LGBT activists launched a special rainbow flag, styled based on their home flag, to celebrate South Africa being the only African country to protect sexual orientation and gender identity in its Constitution. Activists there say the flag also represents the solidarity they have with LGBT people in Uganda and highlight the issues impacting their community, most notably, “corrective rape.”
Cold-Case Movement Sheds Light on Civil Rights Era's Darkest Crimes – The Grio
For several years, a broad-based movement has quietly taken up the effort to investigate unsolved civil rights-related murders. Where possible, the objective is to bring the killers to justice. As part of that effort, the first episode of a new cable television series called The Injustice Files, begins airing today on the Investigation Discovery (ID) network.
Is African-American Comedy Dying in Drag – The Grio
The Grio is having a conversation about Black male comedians in drag and bringing up issues of the portrayals of Black women by men in drag. The question is asked, do these performances portray black women as “angry, violent, and ugly?”