National Black Justice Coalition Statement on Nigel Shelby Suicide: “This Must End”
WASHINGTON – Over the weekend it was reported that Nigel Shelby, a high schooler in Huntsville, Alabama, died by suicide. In response to the tragic news, National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director David Johns released the following statement:
“Nigel Shelby is our little brother, a beautiful Black boy, a high school teenager who died by suicide after being the target of homophobic bullying, according to reports. Nigel, a student at Huntsville High School in Huntsville, Alabama, was reportedly 15 at the time of his death. Today, he should be in school, learning and laughing, but instead his family is making plans to lay his body to rest. This must end.
“Our babies are under attack. They are not allowed to take up space in worlds that they have been invited into and are not responsible for creating. Nearly 75% of LGBTQ students report feeling unsafe, bullied, and harassed in schools throughout the country. Too often the sad reality is when they muster the strength to report hate crimes and incidents of ignorance, if their reports are even investigated, the issues remain unresolved. This must end.
“We owe it to our babies to do the work required to ensure NOT A SINGLE CHILD feels like they have to explain, hide or justify who they are and how wonderfully and intentionally made they are. We owe this to them — ALL of them. Let this be a part of the legacy of Nigel’s life. The National Black Justice Coalition looks forward to supporting educators, schools and school districts in increasing their cultural competence to better meet the learning and development needs of Black LGBTQ students.”