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Staff Announcement: From Fellows to Fulltime Employees, NBJC Names New Outreach and Policy Associates

Washington, D.C. – November 15, 2012 –The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) has named Rodney Nickens, Jr. as the Policy and Networks Associate and Je-Shawna Wholley as the Programs and Outreach Associate. In his new role, Nickens will guide and support NBJC federal legislative strategies. Wholley will build and strengthen NBJC’s relationships with community partners.

"From day one, Rodney and Je-Shawna have been invaluable additions to the team. Their commitment to NBJC is undeniable," says Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks, NBJC Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer. "They have proven time and time again that as emerging leaders, their innovation and enthusiasm is critical to propelling this movement forward."

Nickens first joined NBJC in 2011 as a senior fellow after organizing around LGBT justice issues with the Barbara Jordan/Bayard Rustin Coalition, and, simultaneously, working on his master's degree which focused on Black public opinion on marriage equality. As a fellow, Nickens was responsible for coordinating the organization’s policy-based programming and played a key role in executing this year’s OUT on the Hill Black LGBT Leadership Summit Issue Advocacy Day.

“I am excited to begin this new phase in my career and to advance NBJC's legislative priorities in congress, specifically as it relates to workplace discrimination, economic empowerment, safe schools and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention,” says Nickens. “This is a unique moment in the fight for civil liberties, and I am honored to expand my role at NBJC and in the LGBT equality movement.” 

Wholley first joined NBJC in January 2012 as a senior fellow after graduating from Spelman College and serving as the president of the LGBT student union, Afrekete. She has been honored as the recipient of the 2011 Campus Pride Voice & Action National Leadership Award for her tireless efforts to make Spelman College and the Atlanta University Center a more inclusive environment for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) gay and transgender student body. Additionally, she was instrumental in the research and planning of the historical Audre Lorde HBCU Summit at Spelman College, which focused on the social climate regarding LGBT affairs on HBCU campuses.

“It has been a blessing to do this work that has been a form of ministry for me every day,” adds Wholley. “NBJC is my family, and I look forward to serving alongside the exceptional staff, Board of Directors, and Leadership Advisory Council members.”

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The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. NBJC's mission is to end racism and homophobia.


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.