National Black Justice Coalition Celebrates Confirmation of First Openly LGBTQ+ Cabinet Secretary Pete Buttigieg
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the National Black Justice Coalition celebrated Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s confirmation as Secretary of Transportation as a historic moment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer+ (LGBTQ+) people; particularly for children and youth who now have an additional possibility model, as well as for elders who remember not being able to work openly as an LGBTQ+ federal employee without risking their livelihood — or worse.
“It was only fifty years ago that LGBTQ+ people were not permitted to work as civil servants in government,” said David J. Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition. “To have an openly gay man lead a government agency, one generation removed from prohibition of civil service for LGBTQ+ people, represents how far our nation has advanced in the pursuit of LGBTQ+ equality.”
Access to affordable, quality, reliable and quick public transportation and well made roads, bridges, and interstates are key indicators of success in employment, as well as opportunities for parent engagement and support of youth in schools and extracurricular activities. Access to affordable, quality, reliable and quick public transportation are priorities for Black LGBTQ+ people. According to a Demos report, “To Move is to Thrive,“ African-American workers commute by public transit at nearly 4 times the rate of white workers.” Public commuters of color, on average, also commute for more than an hour traveling to and from work. Time consumed by public commuting can have a significant impact on Black parents being able to play meaningful roles in the lives of their children and families. Public commuting time can also impact the ability of Black people to meaningfully participate in important roles with community based organizations, faith communities, and other important social anchors.
Additionally, more Black families are being forced out of their long time communities in the inner city to the suburbs, due to rising property taxes and rent in the face of gentrification. Many of our nation’s suburbs lack the public transit options of the cities they border, making transportation to work an even more complicated venture for the many Black families without access to a car. The same report highlights that Black people are three times as likely as white people to not have access to a car.
Further, according to the Williams Institute brief named “LGBT African American Individuals and LGBT African American Same Sex Couples,” Black LGBTQ+/Same Gender Loving (LGBTQ+/SGL) people live predominantly where other Black people live, not in predominantly LGBTQ+ communities like our non-Black counterparts. This means that public transportation is critical for our communities to thrive.
The National Black Justice Coalition looks forward to partnering with the Department of Transportation under Secretary Buttigieg to ensure the needs of Black LGBTQ+/SGL people are represented and included in the policy and programs that take place under his leadership.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, February 2, 2021
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