National Black Justice Coalition Statement on Equality Act Hearing
WASHINGTON — Late yesterday, the House Committee on Education and Labor held a hearing on the Equality Act, which would extend existing civil rights protections to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex. David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), released the following statement in response to the hearing:
“The National Black Justice Coalition applauds the witnesses who testified today in support of the Equality Act. Many issues facing LGBTQ communities were addressed, but it is also important to lift up and recognize those most impacted by a lack of federal protections.
“Black LGBTQ/SGL people disproportionately face extreme violence, have difficulty securing sustainable employment and are often barred from affordable housing. Black trans women in particular experience high rates of economic insecurity and homelessness as a result.
“Now, Congress has a chance to right these historic wrongs with the codification of the Equality Act. Protections included will ensure everyone can keep their jobs and access public accommodations so they can provide for themselves and their families. For our communities this is not just a matter of dignity, but a matter of survival.
“If we want to ensure all of us have the opportunity to be free — that is to be happy, healthy, and whole — we must ensure there are clear and consistent federal protections that include LGBTQ/SGL Black people. That is why the National Black Justice Coalition is calling on all of our representatives to pass the Equality Act.”