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May 23, 2013




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the NBJC E-Digest.

Why We're Speaking Up for Marco McMillian

Equality Forum Highlights

LZ Granderson Discusses Jason Collins' Announcement

NBJC Leadership Advisory Council Member Simone Bell Honored as a Harvey Milk Champion of Change

NBJC's Je-Shawna Wholley Receives Metro Weekly's "Next Generation" Award 

NBJC Leadership Advisory Council Member Rod McCollum Receives GLAAD Media Award

Brittney Griner Proudly Part of a Mission to Help Others Live in Truth

Nevada Senator Kelvin Atkinson's Coming Out Speech

Transgender Freedom Riders: The Fight for Transgender Equality in New York City

Black Churches Key to Illinois Gay Marriage Debate

Ebony Writer Takes Home GLAAD Award for Cece McDonald Report  

Every Child Deserves a Family Act NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION

Library of Congress Honors Bayard Rustin

Trans People of Color Coalition & National Center for Transgender Equality Lobby Day

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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.




This past month has been impactful for NBJC, the LGBT community, and our nation as a whole. Crime against our community is on the rise, and justice does not seem to be always on our side.


On May 9, NBJC held a national press conference in Clarksdale, Mississippi, with Parks & Crump, LLC, and the family of the late Marco McMillian, demanding a federal investigation into the murder of the black, gay mayoral candidate who was found dead on Feb. 27. NBJC secured Parks & Crump, LLC, which is the firm famously known for representing the late Trayvon Martin's family. On May 3, when the alarming autopsy report was released ruling Marco's death a homicide, NBJC quickly moved to action due to a lack of public outcry for this tragedy, and because the family welcomed our support and assistance. NBJC plans to stand firmly, visibly, and loudly with the family of the late Marco McMillian until justice is served.


Just this week, we saw a model example of the LGBT community standing up for a hate crime perpetrated against a Black gay man, Mark Carson, in New York City. However, we have also seen too many Black trans women murdered–Cemia Dove, Ashley Sinclair, Kelly Young–who have not been so fortunate to receive this level of support. We must all do more to speak out and advocate for the injustices plaguing our brothers and sisters. More importantly, we need to see an end to these heinous crimes, and see more justice served on behalf of our family–the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.


On a more joyous note, Delaware, Rhode Island and Minnesota became the latest states to pass marriage equality legislation, and the nation witnessed the first openly gay active player in the NBA, who is also Black. We are overcome with joy when we hear of marriage equality being afforded to our families, but remain focused on securing justice for those in the shadows like Marco McMillian, Cemia Dove, Ashley Sinclair, Kelly Young, Mark Carson, and the many other violent and tragic deaths within our community. The slow walk of balancing justice and equality remains at the heart of what we do.


Also in this issue of the E-Digest: GA State Representative Simone Bell selected as a Harvey Milk Champion of Change by the White House; NBJC's Je-Shawna Wholley receives the "Next Generation" Award from Metro Weekly; Library of Congress honors Bayard Rustin; College basketball superstar Brittney Griner comes out after signing with the WNBA; Give OUT Day a huge success; and more.


familystandMISSISSIPPI: NBJC Stands with Family to Call for Federal Investigation into Murder of Marco McMillian


Patricia Unger, mother of Marco McMillian; NBJC's Sharon Lettman-Hicks; Darryl Parks, Parks & Crump, LLC, family attorney

NBJC held a national press conference in Clarksdale, Mississippi, with the family of Marco McMillian and Parks & Crump law firm, calling for a full federal investigation into the Marco McMillian case. NBJC Executive Director and CEO Sharon Lettman-Hicks called the press conference after the release of McMillian's autopsy, and the failure of local authorities to respond to basic requests by the family. All parties involved are upset at the lack of action and concern being paid to the homicide of Marco McMillian.



familyseeksFamily of Slain Candidate Seeks Federal Inquiry

– New York Times


The family, who along with Mr. Meredith question whether Mr. Reed acted alone, is planning a news conference on Thursday in Clarksdale with Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks, the executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, a black and gay rights organization. They will be joined by Daryl D. Parks, from the Florida-based law firm Parks & Crump, who began working with the family over the weekend. Ms. Lettman-Hicks said in an interview that she was pressing the Department of Justice for assistance both because of frustration with the local investigation but also because, unlike federal law, Mississippi's hate crime statute does not cover sexual orientation. 



mcmahonNBJC Welcomes Derrick L. McMahon, Jr. as a Senior Fellow 


The National Black Justice Coalition is pleased to announce that it has selected Derrick L. McMahon Jr. as its newest Senior Fellow. As a Senior Fellow, he will bring a wealth of cutting-edge communication and organizing skills in support of NBJC's key programming and policy initiatives.


"I am delighted to welcome Derrick aboard as the newest addition to our team," says Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director and CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition. "His maverick brand of social media activism has accumulated a following of over 9,000 people and garnered praise for holding public figures accountable for harmful speech against the LGBT community. Through his communications savvy and social justice consciousness, Derrick has maximized the potential that social media activism and engagement offers to the Black LGBT movement."



partypurposeNBJC Participates in Give OUT Day Campaign, Hosts "Party with a Purpose" Happy Hour Event


On May 9, NBJC participated in Give OUT Day, a national day of giving for, and within, the LGBT community. In an effort to continue our dedication to Black LGBT youth, we dedicated all proceeds raised to the Black LGBT Emerging Leaders Initiative. The campaign consisted of programs such as NBJC's first Twitter Chat, entitled: You(th) Matter: Activating the Black LGBT Youth Voice.


Additionally, NBJC hosted its first Emerging Leader Happy Hour social. This event allowed Black LGBT young professionals to "Party with a Purpose" at MOVA Lounge as they cultivated networks with peers. Overall, NBJC placed 38th as a National Leader out of the 500 organizations that participated in Give OUT Day. Our success in gaining new supporters for the NBJC Emerging Leaders initiative moves us closer to fulfilling the demand of young people wanting to own their power!



youthprideNBJC Tables at Youth Pride Day 2013 

Youth Pride Alliance, a small, all-volunteer run organization dedicated to encouraging positive self-development and expression for LGBTQA youth, hosted a day of inspirational speaking, fun activities, and community fellowship during its annual Youth Pride Day event. Wade Davis, an out former NFL player, served as the keynote speaker. NBJC was proud to support and to be visible at this community event. 



everychildNBJC Attends Historic Press Conference for Every Child Deserves a Family Act


NBJC's Michael Brewer, Rodney Nickens and Sharon Lettman-Hicks pictured with Congressman John Lewis (second from the right) on Capitol Hill

NBJC's Public Policy Team attended a historic press conference on Capitol Hill for the re-introduction of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (ECDF). Speakers at the press conference included U.S. Rep. John Lewis (GA), U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), who all gave powerful testimonies in support of the legislation. Three foster and adoptive families also provided powerful testimony to the necessity of the legislation: Philip McAdoo and his son Zaden (Atlanta, GA; pictured below), Martin Gill and his son Nathaniel, Miami (FL), and Mary Keane and her daughter Anni, New York City (NY). NBJC Executive Director and CEO Sharon Lettman-Hicks stated, "It is time that the federal government set a benchmark that helps to guarantee that these families are afforded the legal status and governmental support that honors the dignity of all of our families, regardless of how they're made."





passagestudentNBJC Joins Coalition Calling for Passage of Student Non-Discrimination Act


NBJC joined a coalition of 82 national and state LGBT organizations committed to ensuring that all students are able to pursue an education free of discrimination and harassment. NBJC is requesting congressional support and co-sponsorship of the Student Non-Discrimination Act. This legislation will help to ensure a comprehensive federal ban on discriminating against and harassing public elementary and secondary school students across the country. SDNA would provide LGBT students with much needed federal protections. 


legalclientNBJC Attends LGBTQ Legal Client Awareness Training

Shaun Allende


NBJC's Rodney Nickens Jr. attended an LGBT Issues and Law forum about the unique challenges facing attorneys representing LGBT clients of color. The panel delved into the cultural and social challenges faced by lawyers seeking to represent LGBT clients in an increasingly complex and ever changing legal and political landscape. Attendees were able to interact with attorneys who serve, or seek to serve, the LGBT community. NBJC LAC member Shaun Allende served as a panelist.


speakingupWhy We're Speaking Up for Marco McMillian – Opinion Editorial

– The Grio


It has been more than 12 weeks since the body of Marco McMillian, a black mayoral candidate, who was also gay, was found on the Mississippi River levee, unclothed. After months of utter apathy from our collective community–the black community, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, our allies, and communities at the intersection–NBJC is breaking the silence and calling out the paralyzing hypocrisy plaguing us.



equalityforumEquality Forum Highlights

– G Philly


Equality Forum Logo

At the National Politics Panel, experts weighed in on DOMA, ENDA and the chance we'll have an LGBT presidential candidate in the near future.


The panel included Equality Forum director Malcolm Lazin; Kirk Fordham, a longtime Capitol Hill operative and the executive director of Gill Action, an LGBT advocacy group; Sharon Lettman-Hicks, the executive director and CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition, dedicated to advancing the civil rights of the black LGBT community; and Kevin Naff, the editor of the Washington Blade. Sharon Lettman-Hicks argued that "ENDA suffocated because of marriage," even though the Congressional Black Caucus told her that "it's easier for us to stand up for ENDA than it is for gay marriage."



lzdiscussesLZ Granderson Discusses Jason Collins' Announcement



 LZ Granderson, Out on the Hill 2012 National Chair, discusses NBA free-agent center Jason Collins' announcement that he is gay.





simonebellNBJC Leadership Advisory Council Member Simone Bell Honored as a Harvey Milk Champion of Change


Simone Bell  

Georgia State Representative Simone Bell (D-Atlanta), an NBJC LAC member, was recently honored by the White House as a 2013 Harvey Milk Champion of Change. The honor recognizes openly LGBT state/local elected or appointed officials who are doing extraordinary things to create a more equal, safe, and prosperous future for their communities and the country. NBJC was proud to nominate Rep. Bell for the strong advocacy she provides for children, seniors, community building, and the LGBT community.



nextgenNBJC's Je-Shawna Wholley Receives Metro Weekly's "Next Generation" Award


NBJC's Je-Shawna Wholley was honored by Metro Weekly as one of the magazine's "Next Generation" award recipients. The awards were created to honor the achievements and potential of LGBT leaders under 30. Wholley was recognized along with AJ King, Joseph Lewis, and Michael Komo. Of the award, Wholley stated, "It's a shock, actually. You don't realize who's watching when you're in the midst of moving and just doing what feels right, essentially just doing my job." A reception honoring the recipients was held at Beacon Hotel in Washington, DC.



glaadrodNBJC Leadership Advisory Council Member Rod McCollum Receives GLAAD Media Award


Rod McCollum, founder of Rod 2.0, and an NBJC LAC member, won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Blog at the GLAAD Media Awards held in San Francisco. The awards recognize and honor media personalities for their accurate and inclusive representations of people in the LGBT community. McCollum, a graduate of GLAAD's National People of Color Institute, was recognized for the work he does to raise awareness of stories that interest the Black LGBT community.


grinercollinsBrittney Griner Proudly Part of a Mission to Help Others Live in Truth

– New York Times


When the NBA center Jason Collins announced he was gay last week, I was thrilled. Not only was I extremely happy for him, I thought that maybe, just maybe, his courage and the wave of positive reaction meant that we were on the verge of an era when people accept and celebrate one another's differences. I think that's what makes life beautiful: everyone is different and we can all learn from one another.




atkinsonoutNevada Senator Kelvin Atkinson's Coming Out Speech

– Rod 2.0


Nevada State Sen. Kelvin Atkinson publicly revealed that he is gay as the senate voted to repeal the same-sex marriage ban from the state constitution. "I know this is the first time many of you have heard me say that I am a black, gay man," said the senator.



freedomridersTransgender Freedom Riders: The Fight for Transgender Equality in New York City

– HuffPost Gay


A group of representatives from Housing Works meets every Tuesday from January to June to travel to Albany, N.Y., to speak with New York state legislators to encourage them to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). It's the transgender civil rights bill that would add gender identity and gender expression to the human rights law in the state of New York.



evonyoungMilwaukee Trial Dates Set in Death of Transgender Rapper

– Milwaukee Gazette


Five men will go to trial this summer for murder in connection with the disappearance and death of the 22-year-old transgender rapper Evon Young aka Yung LT. Trial dates were set for June and July in the case being prosecuted by the Milwaukee District Attorney's office, which has filed first-degree homicide charges against Victor Stewart, 27; Ashanti Mcalister, 19; Billy R. Griffin, 26; Ron Joseph Allen, 37; and Devin L. Seaberry, 23.



carsonIn Shadow of the Stonewall Inn, a Gay Man is Killed

– New York Times

Mark Carson did not hide that he was gay, and when he went out on the town he would often head to Greenwich Village, where years before he was born, much of the struggle for gay liberation unfolded. Yet late Friday night, just blocks from the Stonewall Inn, among the most important landmarks of that struggle, he was confronted with a man screaming antigay slurs, who then stalked him before pulling out a silver revolver and fatally shooting him, the police said.



ohioarrestArrest Made in Ohio Trans Murder Case

– Washington Blade


Police in the Cleveland suburb of Olmsted Township, Ohio, have arrested a 36-year-old man for the murder of transgender woman Cemia "Ce Ce" Dove, 20, whose body was found April 17. With the assistance of members of the FBI's Fugitive Task Force, Olmsted Township police on May 3 apprehended Andre L. Bridges at his residence in Parma, Ohio, another nearby suburb of Cleveland, according to Police Lt. Matthew Vanyo. Vanyo said Bridges was being held in the Cuyahoga County Jail in Cleveland.



morehousemixMorehouse Hosts International LGBT and Arts Festival Events


Mixfest-the first international LGBT film and arts festival for people of color was held in Atlanta, GA, April 12-14. People from across the country came out to participate in this celebration of freedom and wholeness. The majority of this celebration took place at Morehouse College with the help of the ever-evolving LGBT student group, SafeSpace.



nccuNCCU Opens Arms to LGBT Students

– Campus Echo


April 9 commemorated the opening of North Carolina Central University's (NCCU) first LGBT Student Resource Center. The LGBT Center is located in G-64 of the Alphonso Elder Student Union. The center is supported by Creating Open Lives For Real Success (C.O.L.O.R.S.) and Dominating Overly Motivated Studs (D.O.M.S.). The opening of the center marked NCCU as the first HBCU in North Carolina and the second among all HBCUs to have a center dedicated to the LGBT community.



olderhealthHealth Equity for Older LGBT People of Color

– HuffPost Gay


"Health Equity and LGBT Elders of Color" explores 10 policy areas where health and wellness can be improved for older LGBT people of color (a population that encompasses multiple groups that are diverse across race, ethnicity, culture, language of origin and more). The report examines policy topics such as federal funding gaps, the ways in which health reform implementation can reach marginalized people, LGBT-specific barriers within programs such as Social Security and much more.



minnesotaMinnesota Becomes Twelfth State with Marriage Equality



Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed marriage equality legislation into law. Twelve states and Washington, DC, now recognize the freedom to marry. Gay and lesbian couples will be able to marry starting August 1.



rhodeislandRhode Island Senate Passes Marriage Equality Bill

– Queerty


The Rhode Island Senate approved legislation that would end a ban against the marriage of same-sex couples in the state. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives approved a similar bill in January. The Senate's version will return to the House sometime next week before it is sent to Governor Lincoln Chafee, who has promised to sign the bill.



delawareDelaware Becomes the 11th State to Extend the Freedom to Marry to All Families

– Equality Delaware


Following overwhelming support in the House of Representatives, the Delaware Senate passed marriage equality — sending the bill to Governor Markell, who signed it into law. Delaware is now the 11th state to allow all loving couples to share in the freedom to marry.



blackchurchBlack Churches Key to Illinois Gay Marriage Debate

– San Francisco Chronicle


Black churches–where the pulpit has always been political–are deeply divided over their support for same-sex marriage and are central to the Illinois measure's passage. On either side of the issue, pastors and politically active congregations have waged intense campaigns with robo-calls, columns and sermons.



marclamonthillEbony Writer Takes Home GLAAD Award for Cece McDonald Report

– Advocate


Marc Lamont Hill received a GLAAD Media Award over the weekend for an extensive piece he wrote on about CeCe McDonald, the transgender woman who was charged with manslaughter after defending herself from an attack.



dayofactionEvery Child Deserves a Family Act NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION

On May 30, Family Equality Council, PFLAG National, and families across the country will meet with their Senators and Representatives to ask them to support opening homes for all of America's foster youth. Join them for the nation's biggest Lobby Day for LGBT families. RSVP now to learn how to schedule a meeting with your legislator.


RSVP now to learn how to schedule a meeting with your legislator. 


bayardrustinLibrary of Congress Honors Bayard Rustin


June 5, 2013 

Library of Congress

101 Independence Ave, SE

Washington, DC 20215

The Library of Congress Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender Employees (GLOBE) in association with the Blacks in Government (BIG) present A Celebration of Bayard Rustin & the 50th Anniversary of the March 1963 March on Washington. Please join us for a discussion of civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, prominent strategist for the 1963 March on Washington, led by Mandy Carter, National Coordinator of the National Black Justice Coalition's Bayard Rustin 2013 Commemoration Project.


Rustin's papers, held by the Library of Congress, will also be displayed.


See Flyer for Details 


endadayTrans People of Color Coalition & National Center for Transgender Equality Lobby Day


June 17, 2013 

U.S. Capitol

First St. NE/SE

Washington, DC 20215

Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC) & the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) have teamed up to ensure trans people across the country are represented and visible in the fight for justice. The two organizations are hosting a Lobby Day at The Capitol where people can share their stories and give face to the legislators who will vote for our equality in the workplace.


Sign-up HERE 





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.