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Winter Edition 2013




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Fair Employment Practices: A Broken Bargain For LGBT Workers Of Color

US Senate Pass Employment Non-Discrimination Act 

Young, Gay, & Black In A Southern Town

MD Gubernatorial Candidate Taps Delman Coates As Her Running Mate

New York's New First Lady An Inspiration To Black Women

Hyattsville, MD Bans Discrimination Against Transgender Community

Morgan State Fraternity On Probation For Rejecting Gay Student

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Poor Black & Hispanic Men Are The Face of HIV


Homophobia In Black Communities Means More Young Men Get AIDS


Giving You Permission To Be

Zambia's First Lady Calls For An End To Homophobia

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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.


NBJC Honors the Life and Legacy of

Nelson Mandela

As the world mourns the passing of one of the most beloved figures for peace and equality, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) pauses to honor and celebrate the life and service of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. His legacy will be remembered as an example of struggle, sacrifice, perseverance and ultimate victory through his passionate belief in the good of the human spirit. 


NBJC, a civil rights organization dedicated to the eradication of racism and homophobia, stands on the shoulders of Nelson Mandela and will continue to be led by his work for justice and fairness for all. Through his unrelenting pursuit of racial equality and fight against segregation and poverty, Mandela dedicated his entire life to the liberation of all South Africans, while simultaneously displaying to the world why we are greater together than the differences that separate us. 


His journey from prisoner to president, embodies the fact that one person can make a difference in their community, nation and the world. May Nelson Mandela forever live in the hearts of all those called to bring about a better, more safe and loving world where all people are treated equal.


READ MORE: President Obama's Remarks at Memorial Service

fairemployFair Employment Practices: A Broken Bargain For LGBT Workers Of Color

– The Huffington Post



In partnership with the Movement Advancement Project, NBJC is pleased to announce the release of a new report focused on capturing the experience of LGBT workers of color. Writing for The Huffington Post, NBJC Executive Director and CEO Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks breaks down the impact of employment protections on Black LGBT workers: 

"Imagine if co-workers made disparaging remarks about who you are, what you look like, or whom you love and there was nothing you could do about it. Imagine if you worked just as hard as your colleagues, then one day a new manager walked up and fired you just because you are black, but you didn't have any recourse, either with your supervisor, the human resources manager, or the law.

That's the case if you are black and lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT)." 


senateendaUS Senate Pass Employment Non-Discrimination Act

– Black Enterprise


Without ENDA, African American LGBT workers face double, triple discrimination. Black Enterprise takes a look at how the recent passage of ENDA in the US Senate can help turn the tide on discrimination against Black LGBT people in the workplace: 

"ENDA will eliminate or reduce bias against LGBT workers of color, [Aisha] Moodie-Mills [of the Center for American Progress] points out hiring bias and on-the-job discrimination: barriers such as unwarranted background checks, inadequate or non-existent non-discrimination protection for LGBT workers, and the lack of mentorships and on-the-job support make it difficult for many LGBT workers of color to find good and steady jobs that provide them with the economic security they need to support themselves and their families."


ygbsouthernYoung, Gay, & Black In A Southern Town

– Slate



In 2012, Preston Gannaway was living in Norfolk, VA, looking for a coming-out story to cover for the Virginian-Pilot, where she was a staff photographer.  Gannaway met Tavaris "Teddy Ebony" Edwards, a 21-year-old gay man living in public housing in Chesapeake, VA, who came out when he was 16. Because Edwards represented several demographics rarely covered in the paper-gay, black, poor-Gannaway decided instead to focus on Edwards and his experience living in Virginia.

Gannaway ended up spending a year photographing Edwards while he was studying at Norfolk State University and Tidewater Community College. She documented him while he participated as a Spartan Guard in the Spartan Legion Marching Band at Norfolk State, as well as his involvement in the ballroom scene.



delmanMD Gubernatorial Candidate Taps Delman Coates As Her Running Mate

– Washington Blade


On Wednesday, November 13, Maryland gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur formally announced a prominent Prince George's County pastor who backed the state's 2012 same-sex marriage referendum as her running mate.


The Montgomery County Democrat who represents Takoma Park and Silver Spring in the Maryland House of Delegates introduced Rev. Delman Coates of Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton during a campaign event at American Legion Post 41 in Silver Spring.


"I am not just picking a running mate for an election season," Mizeur said. "I'm choosing a partner who's best situated to help me deliver on a shared vision for the future of Maryland."




nycfirstladyNew York's New First Lady An Inspiration To Black Women

– The Grio


As the incoming first lady of New York City, many are excited for what she may accomplish and how her experiences as a black woman will inform her decisions.


She has been an activist, poet, and even penned a now-famous essay for Essence magazine about her experiences as a lesbian. Published more than a decade before meeting the man she describes as "the love of my life," her piece I am a lesbian was intended to shatter stereotypes surrounding gay African-American women.


Upon meeting de Blasio, her past became a talking point, but never an issue.  "Other people told him in the beginning," McCray said in a recent interview. "Then at some point I gave him the article and said, 'Look, this is who I am and you should read this.' It shook him up. But he didn't show it. He was cool about it."



nbcwashingtonHyattsville, MD Bans Discrimination Against Transgender Community  

– NBC Washington


Hyattsville became the second city in Maryland to pass legislation banning discrimination against transgender people. The Hyattsville City Council passed the Human Rights Act in a unanimous 9-0 vote on December 2. The bill will prohibit discrimination on a variety of levels, but most notably includes protection for transgender individuals in employment, housing and public accommodations.



rejectedMorgan State Fraternity On Probation For Rejecting Gay Student 

– The Root


Morgan State University has placed its chapter of the fraternity of Kappa Alpha Psi on disciplinary probation until 2015, following allegations of discrimination over sexual orientation. The University confirmed the probation to FOX45 on Tuesday, December 3, and issued the following statement: 


"The Alpha Iota chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi has been determined to have violated certain university regulations, procedures and policies. As a result, the chapter has been placed on disciplinary probation until fall 2015. During the probationary period, the chapter cannot register as an official organization or student group with the university. The chapter cannot participate in any university sponsored event or activity, and cannot sponsor or host any event on or off campus."


hrcleadersNBJC Participates In HRC's HBCU Leadership Summit



From November 2-5, the Human Rights Campaign held the 2013 Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) Leadership & Career Summit.  The summit brought together 30 Black LGBT student leaders from HBCU's around the country for a four-day intensive summit on identity development, leadership training, career readiness and mentorship.  NBJC's Michael Brewer gave remarks and the full NBJC staff participated as mentors for the long running program. 


kylarout100Out 2013 Honorees

– Out Magazine


Many congrats to our good friend and NBJC Board Member Kylar Broadus, who was named one of OUT Magazine's 2013 "OUT100" most influential LGBT people! 

CHECK OUT the full slideshow of honorees, including noteworthy Black LGBT favorites Laverne Cox, Lee Daniels, Britney Griner, Janet Mock, and many more.


bayardA Tribute To Bayard Rustin: Presidential Medal Of Freedom Recipient

– The Huffington Post


On Thursday November 21, 2013, NBJC, in partnership with Baker & McKenzie LLP, hosted an intimate reception to celebrate Bayard Rustin receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Walter Naegle, Bayard Rustin's surviving partner, gave remarks about the essence of the Bayard Rustin that he knew and his experience receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in his honor.  NBJC Executive Director Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks gave remarks on behalf of the National Black Justice Coalition commemorating and congratulating the Rustin family for his contributions to the civil rights movement as a man who lived at the intersection of being Black and gay. Mandy Carter, NBJC's National Coordinator for the Bayard Rustin Commemorative Project, reflected on the Rustin tributes over the decades leading up to the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington.


Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Walter Naegle and Mandy Carter display the Medal of Freedom honoring Bayard Rustin.

Bayard Rustin was a master strategist and tireless activist. Mr. Rustin is best remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, one of the largest nonviolent protests ever held in the United States.


Fifty years after the March, Bayard Rustin was recognized posthumously with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. 


mfodnycMany Faces.  One Dream.  LGBT Economic Empowerment Tour Travels to New York City

On November 20, NBJC traveled to New York City to continue its LGBT Economic Empowerment Tour for Communities of Color, a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration.  Many Faces. One Dream. (MFOD) seeks to bring focus to thriving local communities' economic power and innovation in the small business sphere. Participants were greeted by SBA's NY District Director Monique Y. Fortenberry, Black Enterprise's Carolyn M. Brown, and Harlem Pride's Carmen Neely.  The two-day event progressed with panels, workshops and networking sessions focused on empowering our community with the information, mentorship, and advice needed to advance their respective business endeavors. TD Bank was the signature corporate sponsor for the NYC tour stop.


MFOD New York City convening partner organizations included Harlem Pride, Global Network of Black Pride and LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent.



transrememberTransgender Day of Remembrance

– The Huffington Post


The death of Rita Hester, a young transgender woman of color who was murdered in her apartment in Allston, MS, led to the creation of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is held each year on Nov. 20.


Since Rita Hester's murder, hundreds of others have been murdered. This year more than 200 people have died at the hands of anti-transgender violence. Every two weeks, on average, someone is murdered in the United States in an act of anti-transgender violence. Internationally, you see these murders happening as a near-daily occurrence. 


deonijonesMan Accused Of Stabbing Transgender Woman Deoni Jones To Death Found Incompetent To Stand Trial

– Metro Weekly


Gary Niles Montgomery, the Washington man accused of stabbing transgender woman Deoni Jones to death in February 2012, was recently declared incompetent to stand trial and ordered to be held at St. Elizabeth's Hospital, where he will undergo psychiatric care for ''competency restoration.'' Montgomery, facing a charge of first-degree murder while armed, was twice found competent after his arrest, but his lawyers, Anthony Matthews and Colle Latin, objected to both findings and argued that the court needed to revisit the issue. D.C. Superior Court Judge Robert E. Morin heeded those objections and ordered a third mental evaluation. That evaluation was performed over a 30-day period at St. Elizabeth's Hospital, the D.C. Department of Health institution that houses defendants deemed incompetent to stand trial or in need of intense psychiatric care.


trans25Man Sentenced 25 Years In Transgender Hate Crime Case

– ABC Action News


Tavares Spencer, a Tampa man accused of nearly killing a transgender woman, was sentenced on Friday, December 6, to a minimum of 25 years in prison. He was convicted on all charges, including attempted 1st-degree murder, in late October of 2013. The trial included the testimony of the victim, Coko. "As I was still lying on the ground, he walked around me, and he pointed the gun, and then he shot me," Coko testified.


justiceislanTrans Women Of Color Demand Justice For Islan Nettles

– Elixher


On November 19, 2013, trans women of color joined the broader community to demand justice for Islan Nettles, a transgender woman of color who was brutally beaten to death in August 2013 by an attacker motivated by transphobic hatred. According to police, the brazen attack took place at the corner of W. 148th and Frederick Douglass Blvd, literally across the street from NYPD's PSA 6 police station, in full view of multiple surveillance cameras.


HImarriageThe Legacy of Aloha: What Marriage Equality Means To Hawaii

– The Huffington Post


As of December 2, gay couples will be able to wed in the Aloha State. Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act into law on Wednesday, November 14, during an invitation-only ceremony at the Honolulu Convention Center.


ILmarriageGay Marriage For Illinois

– The Huffington Post


Illinois became the 16th state to allow same-sex marriage, capping a 40-year push for gay rights that picked up major momentum during the past decade.


poorblackPoor Black & Hispanic Men Are The Face of HIV

– The New York Times


The AIDS epidemic in America is rapidly becoming concentrated among poor, young black and Hispanic men who have sex with men. Despite years of progress in preventing and treating HIV, the number of new infections nationwide remains stubbornly stuck at 50,000 a year among this demographic, who make up less than one percent of the population.


phobiaAIDSHomophobia In Black Communities Means More Young Men Get AIDS

– The Atlantic


Homophobia in Black Communities Means More Young Men Get AIDS. Social stigmas have paralyzed prevention efforts, activists and scientists say.  "The AIDS epidemic is a solvable problem. Ending AIDS is not just an aspiration. But despite recent advancements in diagnosis and treatment, the rate of new infections has stopped decreasing, remaining at a plateau over the last decade.  Why? At least part of the cause is the stigma against homosexuality in the black community."


permissiontobeGiving You Permission To Be

– The Huffington Post


The battle with HIV is prolonged because we spend more time placing blame and less time having honest conversations about sex and sexuality in our community. Many in the black church blame gay men for AIDS, and many black women hold bisexual men responsible. In reality, we exist in a community where young girls and women may have children with many different men, at times with no knowledge of who the father is. The same holds true for our young boys and men, who may have multiple "baby mamas" living in the same city or neighborhood. We all have culpability. This disease will continue to devastate our community until we stop resisting truth and end the finger pointing. The church avoids dialogue about HIV because the conversation would lend itself to talks about premarital sex, even though we know that it happens anyway.



zambiaZambia's First Lady Calls For An End To Homophobia

– Elixher


Zambia's first lady, Dr. Christine Kaseba-Sata, recently called for an end to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation during a reception hosted by UNAIDS in the country's capital, Lusaka.  UNAIDS is an agency that advocates for accelerated, comprehensive and coordinated global action on the HIV/AIDS epidemic.




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.