In this spirit of resilience and rejuvenation,
NBJC is pleased to announce
three major faith community events
occurring in May, June and July.
The National Black Justice Coalition has worked with and supported the People of African Descent Conference and The Fellowship since their inception. We are consecrated allies in the Movement for LGBT rights standing at the door of the church, challenging the intersections of oppression and creating the foundations for a just future. These three events are bold steps in our liberation journey.
NBJC Congratulates Florida Judge Darrin Gayles
On April 8, Judge Darrin Gayles, was sworn in to serve on Florida’s Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court in Miami. Prior to his investiture, Judge Gayles, who is openly gay, served on the Miami-Dade County Court since 2004. In addition, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida from 1999 to 2004; as Assistant District Counsel for the US Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service, from 1997 to 1999; and as an Assistant State Attorney for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit from 1993 to 1997. He received his bachelor’s degree from Howard University and his law degree from George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC.
Spelman Hosted LGBT Summit for Black Colleges
NBJC Executive Director Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks and NBJC Board Member Donna Payne participated in a first of its kind summit at Spelman College in Atlanta on April 29. The summit convened to discuss diversity, gender and LGBT issues on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Billed as “Facilitating Campus Climates of Pluralism, Inclusivity, and Progressive Change at HBCUs,” it brought together students, administrators and practioners from across the country. The summit examined strategies and best practices that can be adopted at the schools as well as others with diverse student populations.
What is the gay black agenda?
The Grio featured an excellent article by Edward Wycoff Williams addressing the issue of “the black gay agenda”—what is it? We have made incredible progress, but there is still so much more to be accomplished. The Black Church and its obsessive allegiance to homophobia is addressed. “It seems the church remains the central, most important institution in African-American life and as such, sets the socio-political agenda. But if the ministers are preaching a message of intolerance, how can we expect children to not be bullied on the playground?” The struggle continues.
California lawmakers fight over bill to teach students about gay people's contributions
A proposal that would require that social science texts and other instruction include "a study of the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans … to the economic, political and social development of California and the United States of America, with particular emphasis on portraying the role of these groups in contemporary society" is causing a stir in the California Legislature. Battle lines are being drawn between supporters and those adamantly against any positive portrayal of LGBT people in social science texts. NBJC supports any efforts to bring our LGBT history, our stories to students. Stay tuned.
Phylicia Rashad’s Cure For Homophobia – “Mother’s Love Your Gay Babies”
Phylicia Rashad played the role of a loving mother on the hit CBS sitcom “The Cosby Show” in the eighties. In real life, Phylicia is showing how to be a loving mother by encouraging moms to love their gay babies. This is a proven cure for homophobia. Gay kids need their moms and dads to love them against all odds, all evil, and all dangers. Homophobia is one of those dangers. NBJC acknowledges and thanks Phylicia Rashad for her words and her actions on behalf of our LGBT sons and daughters.
A Gospel Singer Slims Down and Comes Out
The Root reports on DeJuaii Pace, a 45-year old gospel singer who has just come out of the closet. She is featured on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network show, “Addicted to Food”. In facing her food addictions and its underlying causes, DeJuaii has also faced her sexual orientation. She relates that her food addiction was related to her secret: being attracted to women.
Above Average: Lesbians taking risks to make a difference
NBJC recommends “The L Life: Extraordinary Lesbians Making a Difference.” This book features the coming out stories of accomplished lesbians, including Linda Villarosa. These are brave, risk-taking women who have helped to make the world a better place. Worth reading! Kudos to author Erin McHugh.
'The Hunt' is on for Alvin Ailey Dance Theater
The Los Angeles Times featured an article on the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, its new artistic director, Robert Battle, and his new, all-male work called “The Hunt’. The Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Troupe is on a North American Tour with its “furious and powerful ensemble work.”
Gay Officer Reinstated After Settlement
African American Andre Cooley has been reinstated as a deputy corrections officer after filing an anti-discrimination lawsuit against the Forrest County Sheriff’s Department in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He sued on the basis of sexual orientation, the first case of its kind in the state. Now the sheriff’s department will have a sexual orientation clause written into its non-discrimination policy.
Antigay Administrator Hired for H.R. Job
Speaking of African American homophobes, Crystal Dixon has been hired to lead a county human rights department in Michigan. Ms. Dixon had been fired from a previous job for writing a newspaper column arguing against civil right for LGBT people and extolling the ex-gay movement.
DADT certification likely mid-summer
In early April, Pentagon officials told a House subcommittee that training for implementation of repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has gone “extremely well so far” and that certification to Congress might come by mid-summer. Some Republican members of Congress are still resisting the repeal.
OutServe Launches Magazine
The gay service members network called OutServe has started a new publication for LGBT personnel actively serving in the military. As the military winds down Don’t’ Ask, Don’t Tell, this magazine will help service members negotiate the new terrain and let them know that “they are not alone” and that they are doing a great service to America.
Pentagon Discharged Hundreds of Service Members Under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' In Fiscal 2010: Report
OutServe will be needed as we learn that the Pentagon discharged hundreds of military personnel in 2010 under DADT. 261 service members were drummed out of the service in 2010 and although that number represents an all-time low, it reminds us that DADT is still in effect and must go through military procedures to be eliminated.
Disparities: Illness More Prevalent Among Older Gay Adults
Results from the nation’s largest state health survey, the California Health Interview Survey, shows that older lesbian, gay and bisexual adults in California are more likely to suffer from chronic physical and mental health problems than their heterosexual counterparts and are less likely to have live-in partners or adult children who can help care for them.
Local LGBT Organization Launches Smoking Prevention and Cessation Campaign
Washington, D.C. (March 30, 2011) – The Mautner Project (MP), a non-profit organization aimed at reducing cancer rates among the 8.1% of D.C. residents who identify as LGBT, is launching a public education campaign to promote smoking prevention and cessation. This campaign, entitled SmokeLess LGBT D.C., is being funded through a Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Gay marriage a right — not a poll question
Columnist Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald has been a champion of LGBT rights for many years. His pithy articulation has helped many see reasoned thought on LGBT rights. Mr. Pitts writes about gay marriage as a right–not something to be granted at the whim, mercy or sufferance of the majority. Most of us know what the outcome would be if basic human rights for African Americans were put to a majority vote. NBJC salutes Leonard Pitts for his consistently heroic stances on justice.
The Financial Hurdles Gay Couples Face
NBJC calls for the end of DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, which legally denies federal benefits to gay and lesbian couples. The demise of DOMA would be beneficial to gay and lesbian couples as this New York Times article points out that there are so many financial and quality of life hurdles for gay and lesbian couples to overcome as long as DOMA is in effect.
Shift In Policy Regarding Binational LGBT Couples
There may be a welcome sea change for binational LGBT couples. Thousands of men and women from other countries have been waiting for the United States Government to rule on policies affecting their green cards, deportations, status, etc. DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, is still an obstacle but there appears to be a confirmed policy shift from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Member of NJ Same-Sex Couple has Deportation Hearing Adjourned in Wake of Holder Decision
Henry Velandia and Josh Vandiver got married in Connecticut last year. Velandia is scheduled to be deported to Venezuela, his country of origin, and is petitioning the US Government to stay in the United States because he is the spouse of a US citizen. Had they been a heterosexual couple, the immigration status of Velandia would not be in question. But on Thursday, May 5, US Attorney General Eric Holder set aside a Board of Immigration Appeals ruling in a similar case. Because of the Attorney General’s historic move, Velandia’s deportation has been placed on hold. NBJC urges the immediate end of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which keeps families on hold, separated or broken when immigration status is a factor.
I preached against homosexuality, but I was wrong
For years, Rev. Murray Richmond preached against homosexuality. He thought he was doing the right thing. Then he met real life situations with gay men and eventually found that he was, as he says, “wrong.’ It was a long process, but he finally concluded that his heart and mind would have to change.
Is Religious Right Conceding on Gay Rights Issues?
Rev. Richmond is not alone. As this next article reveals, some religious leaders have seen the handwriting on the wall and are beginning to acknowledge that marriage equality will soon be the law of the land. Young evangelicals and several denominations support gay marriage. Our religious colleagues, Rev. Rebecca Voelkel and Rev. Cindi Love, are quoted.
Catholics lead the way on same-sex marriage
Jonathan Capehart reports the findings that Catholics are actually leading the way on approval of marriage equality for LGBT people. The numbers are impressive, even “historic”. Rank and file Catholics see healthy, happy gay and lesbian couples in their families and friends and see a call, a duty for social justice.
Overturn of Domestic Partnership Rights Thwarted
Michigan House Republicans failed in their effort to overturn domestic partnership rights. The Republicans needed two-thirds of the House to overturn domestic health partner benefits but not enough Democrats joined them in their vote.