NBJC Endorses U.S. Congressman Hank Johnson’s Inclusive Campuses Act
WASHINGTON, DC – The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the nation’s leading civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people, wholeheartedly endorses H.R. 6164, the Inclusive Campuses Act of 2016, which was introduced today by U.S. Representative Hank Johnson (GA-4). If passed into law, this measure would promote inclusion and empowerment of LGBTQ people at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other minority serving institutions. This federal legislation would take a critical step forward by authorizing Title III education funds to establish campus resource centers that provide support for LGBTQ students as well as programming resources and education about LGBTQ people to the entire campus community at our nation’s HBCUs and other minority serving institutions.
“We should be doing all we can to help everyone feel welcomed and included,” said Rep. Johnson, a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and The Thurgood Marshall School of Law. “As a proud graduate of two HBCUs, I feel this legislation is crucial in continuing the legacy of community and inclusion I felt as a student.”
· According to the Campus Pride Index, only 21 percent of HBCUs have active university-sanctioned LGBTQ-specific organizations on their campuses.
· Only three HBCUs include gender identity/expression in their nondiscrimination statements. (Source: Campus Pride Index)
· Many LGBTQ students face alienation and emotional distress while creating campus environments of fearful silence and passive intolerance. (Source: Campus Pride)
· LGBTQ Campus Resource Centers at HBCUs would demonstrate a commitment to “diversity, education, inclusion, protection, research, and support for all members of the campus community, which includes students, faculty, administrators, staff and alumni who [identify as LGBTQ] and often face additional barriers and stigmatization on campus.” (Source: The Black Closet; Victoria Kirby York)
“NBJC has consistently advocated for HBCUs to prioritize inclusion efforts for the LGBTQ campus population with an emphasis on creating a welcoming, affirming and nurturing environment where all can thrive,” said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, NBJC Executive Director and CEO. “We salute Congressman Johnson for sponsoring the Inclusive Campuses Act, which will assist HBCUs and other minority serving institutions to overtly bring awareness of, and dignity, respect and visibility to, its LGBTQ student population and the greater LGBTQ campus community. Our HBCUs should be leading the way when it comes to respecting and welcoming all people—free of any form of bias and stigma. This legislation would authorize critical investments that will not only help LGBTQ people feel welcomed, but will set the groundwork for developing a campus culture at HBCUs that embraces and nurtures this particular population, which has been ignored, marginalized and silenced for far too long.”
NBJC is committed to supporting public policy that empowers Black LGBTQ people and families to live their best lives without fear of violence, stigma or discrimination. With this commitment in mind, NBJC launched its Historically Black College and University (HBCU) LGBTQ-Equality Initiative in 2010 to improve the overall capacity for HBCUs to provide their students and community—especially the Black LGBTQ populace—with a 21st century education in a secure, welcoming and affirming environment. Over the last seven years, NBJC has proved to be a credible champion for an LGBTQ-inclusive climate at HBCUs and strategically positioned itself to expand the impact of the initiative on these campuses. To continue the promotion of the development of culturally competent administrative, faculty, students and staff support services for the LGBTQ population at HBCUs, NBJC will make the advancement and ultimate passage of the Inclusive Campuses Act a top priority of its advocacy efforts moving forward.