WASHINGTON, DC – 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:

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WASHINGTON, DC – Every student has a right to an educational experience where they feel safe, engaged, and supported. However, the fact remains, that for too many students, especially Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving students (LGBTQ/SGL) find college campuses and K-12 schools to be hostile and unsafe spaces, which makes it challenging to learn and develop the skills, experiences, and credentials needed to succeed in the global 21st century labor market. Black transgender and gender nonconforming people face unique and sometimes disproportionate challenges, including hate crimes that make it harder for them to succeed in school and in life.

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The image of rural America is often white, working class, and socially conservative — and most definitely not where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same-gender loving people live.  This mental picture is largely reflected in the media and in popular depictions of rural America, but the reality is that millions of people of color — including Black, Latinx, Native, Asian, Middle Eastern, and multiracial people — live in rural United States, and many of them are LGBTQ/SGL. 

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WASHINGTON -- Later yesterday, the House Committee on Education and Labor held a hearing on the Equality Act, which would extend existing civil rights protections to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex. David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), released the following statement in response to the hearing:

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WASHINGTON, DC-- This morning, news broke that the charges against Jussie Smollett for allegedly orchestrating a hate crime have been dropped. In response to the news David Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), released the following statement:
 
“While many have taken it upon themselves to stand as judge and jury by rushing to dismiss brother Jussie Smollett’s allegations of a hate crime, it is important to remember that Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same-gender-loving people people experience acts of hatred and bias more than other groups of people. While there are still details about the case that we may never know, it is an important reminder that we should never rush to judgement, especially people in power.

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