National Black Justice Coalition Comments on Jussie Smollett Arrest
“…we can't forget that there are hundreds of hate crimes, brutal and deadly acts of violence and threats against people in the LGBTQ community, including Black people…”
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, news broke that Empire Actor Jussie Smollett has been arrested for allegedly filing a false hate crime report. In response to this news, David Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), released the following statement:
“It is important for cases to be tried in courts — legal courts, not courts of public opinion. While we know the allegations don’t look good for our brother Jussie, we will not be judge and jury.
“There is an issue bigger than Jussie. The sad reality is that Black LGBTQ and same-gender-loving (SGL) people are victims of hate crimes, prejudicial laws and blatant forms of discrimination daily. Just in the past few months, Dana Martin, the first transgender woman killed this year in Montgomery, Alabama, was found shot to death in a vehicle in a ditch. A second Black gay man has died in the home of Ed Buck, a wealthy Democratic donor, and he has never seen the inside of a jail cell.
“There is a history of violence against Black people, especially Black LGBTQ/SGL people and gender non-binary individuals in the United States that too often goes undiscussed and un-investigated.
“No matter the outcome of this incident, we can't forget that there are hundreds of hate crimes, brutal and deadly acts of violence and threats against people in the LGBTQ community, including Black people. The continued epidemic of violence faced by Black LGBTQ/SGL people cannot be ignored and will not go away if we continue sweeping the truth under the rug.
“Let this moment highlight what’s happening to our community and empower us to change it through everyday actions like recognizing the power of our words to hurt, harm or heal, and longer-term efforts like passing critical policies like the Equality Act.”