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National Black Justice Coalition Applauds Biden-Harris Administration’s First Year in Office; Encouraged By Spirit of Collaboration

CONTACT: Brett Abrams | 

WASHINGTON – The first year of the Biden-Harris administration kicked off with executive orders requiring federal agencies to review programs and policies for systemic inequities while also updating discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity in line with the recent Bostock U.S. Supreme Court decision. In alignment with this priority, the National Black Justice Coalition rolled out its Policy Agenda and has been working alongside Biden-Harris White House and administrative leadership and staff to improve opportunities and outcomes for Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer+/Same-Gender Loving (LGBTQ+/SGL) people across the country.   

“The Biden-Administration entered the White House with a spirit of collaboration to ensure the United States government and economy were fortified in ways that support the most vulnerable among us, especially in the wake of the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus. While we have not achieved everything we hoped for, thus far, there is progress worth celebrating, which sets the stage for what can become a transformative presidential term. NBJC is most proud of the intersectional and nuanced approach the administration has taken to removing barriers to access and opportunity for all of us – including Black LGBTQ+/SGL people, and we look forward to the work that is to come,” said David J. Johns, Executive Director of NBJC. 

The work we are most proud of actively supporting thus far includes:

  • Creating the White House Interagency Working Group on Transgender Inclusion, Opportunity, and Safety, as a means to end the epidemic of violence against Black transgender women. 
  • Working with the Department of Justice Hate Crimes Division to increase LGBTQ+ cultural competency and investigations training and webinar opportunities with law enforcement officials and leaders across the country to include accountability for the deaths of Black transgender women who are often misgendered, deadnamed (misnamed), and have outdated photos used in investigations leading to cold cases. Framing restorative justice sentencing as a means to increase tips that lead to solving cases in communities with a frayed relationship with law enforcement alongside close community ties with their neighbors. 
  • Working with the White House and the Department of Justice to implement the recently passed COVID 19 and Jabara-Heyer Hate Crimes Acts to ensure the investigations of hate crimes are conducted by culturally competent investigators and public servants, including investigations of fatalistic violence against Black transgender women and other members of our community. 
  • Creating a one-stop styled website to facilitate better access to government programs intended to support Americans at their lowest, including when applying for support with the costs of food, healthcare, and housing support. 
  • Working with the White House and several federal agencies, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Education to not only include sexual orientation and gender identity in federal surveys and forms but to also be thoughtful in the use and presentation of data.
  • Collaborating with the Gender Policy Council to create the first of its kind National Gender Equity and Equality Strategy

Moving forward, we look forward to meaningful and measurable administrative action on the following: 

  • Issuing an Executive Order supporting investigations of the unsolved hate crimes resulting in fatalistic violence against transgender, gender-nonconforming, and Black LGBTQ+/SGL people.
  • Reducing and eliminating grants to law enforcement agencies that overly rely on identity-based profiling, harassment, and carceral responses. Increase funding to law enforcement agencies that provide rehabilitation and restorative justice as alternatives to incarceration and are working towards eliminating the levying of stiffer sentences based on stigma, bias, and prejudice expressed through consistently providing Black LGBTQ+/SGL culturally competent professional development.
  • In accordance with the Bostock implementation executive order, issuing guidance prohibiting discrimination based on religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), and marital status in the administration and provision of child welfare services to improve safety, well-being, and permanency for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning foster youth; and fund affirmation training, that is both racially & LGBTQ+ competent, for foster/adoptive parents of Black LGBTQ+/SGL youth.
  • Through Executive Order, establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to provide a comprehensive study of possible reparations for the descendants of Africans enslaved in the U.S and the generations of anti-Black systemic inequities that have resulted in significant loss of wealth. Additionally, the Biden/Harris administration should appoint an inter-agency task force to meaningfully respond to lessons from reparations-related actions that have taken place in governments around the world.
  • Increasing community awareness of government employment opportunities through targeted recruitment and demonstrated commitment to anti-racist, nonbiased hiring processes. Ensure Congress, Department of Labor, and other agencies remove barriers to employment (ban the box, decriminalize sex work and cannabis) through statute/laws and administrative/regulatory policies. 
  • Using sexual orientation and gender identity questions on all government forms and surveys with an option not to complete, similar to implementing the U.S. Census Bureau Pulse survey questions. Providing survey data and results in a manner that is user-friendly and accessible to adults who may not have completed high school and is easy to sort and filter by more than one identity at a time.
  • Working with the Department of Education to work with school districts to prevent the over-disciplining in schools of Black LGBTQ+/SGL kids. Continue working with the Department of Justice to prevent the over-incarceration/profiling of Black LGBTQ+/SGL people – particularly those in women’s prisons where LGBTQ+ people represent 42% of the population and are only 3% of the general population. 
  • Providing student loan relief by addressing barriers to canceling or discharging debt, lowering interest rates, and addressing increasing higher education costs.
  • Increasing investments in comprehensive, culturally competent mental health support in schools for students, especially students from racial and sexual minority communities, including prohibiting the use of conversion therapy in programs accepting federal funding and ensuring federally sponsored teacher training programs that have developmentally appropriate, intersectional, and universally inclusive content and language (use of personal pronouns, not outing students, etc.).
  • Supporting codification of COVID19 exceptions that have expanded access to existing federal healthcare programs such as the VA, Medicare, and Medicaid by broadening the scope of eligibility in addition to telehealthcare.
  • Providing funding for comprehensive and inclusive sex education.

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.