The NBJC Blog

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is soliciting applications from interested interns and fellows desiring to learn about and lead in the movement to improve the lives of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and same gender loving (SGL) people. The internship/fellowship program provides a unique opportunity to students, and young and emerging professionals, interested in civil rights and LGBTQ equality to explore the unique intersections between and among these related efforts.

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In the Old Testament, the children of Israel asked Micah, “What does the Lord require of us?” Micah responds, very simply by saying, “...“To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” It is this idea of acting justly that should call faith communities, specifically Black faith communities, to support full passage of the Equality Act.

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I want to begin by thanking you, Congresswoman Watson Coleman, for your leadership and vision in establishing the Congressional Black Caucus Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health.

I am humbled and honored to be on this panel and to lead the work of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC). NBJC is the nation’s only civil rights organization uniquely and unapologetically focused on the intersections of racial justice and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) equality.

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“Students who do not feel safe and affirmed cannot be expected to demonstrate what they know and learn. This is not new news. We know that when students are not supported they disengage and dropout, which can impact life opportunities and future ability to earn money,” said David Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition. “In honor of Nigel, Jamel, Carl and so many other babies whose names we may never know, we need to act urgently to address the trauma, stress, and mental health needs of children, youth and young adults, especially those from racial and sexual minority communities.”

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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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This year ushered in the most diverse set of Congressional representatives ever. We’ve celebrated historic firsts, like the first Queer woman of color, Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.), who is also one of the first two indigenous women in Congress. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) became the first openly bisexual member of the Senate. Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) proudly displays a Transgender pride flag outside her office in support of the Trans community. With representation comes the promise of a voice, the promise of change.

 

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"We recognize those we have lost to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and acknowledge the work still required to end the epidemic. Today, given scientific, medical, and social advancements no one has to die as a result of HIV/AIDS.  Ending the epidemic in our lifetime is not a question of resources but a question of will. Will we fight to ensure that those most neglected and ignored receive the health care and legal protections we all need to thrive?

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As the world recognizes Transgender Awareness Week this month and International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) on November 20, NBJC continues to commit to building a coalition of organizations and individuals working to eradicate the epidemic of violence that haunts the lives of transgender people, especially transgender and gender non-binary people. Specifically during Transgender Day of Remembrance, we honor the lives of our transgender and gender non-binary family members who are no longer with us due to senseless acts of hate violence, and also call upon allies to step up and stand in solidarity.

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My #InvitingIn story started when I was 17 years old when I first came out to my best friend, then my mom. It was an interesting experience for sure! I remember I wrote my mom a letter and left it for her to find. Back then, I think it was a little dramatic how I did it, but it happened the way it was supposed to. I can remember my mom and I not talking that much about it. She has always supported me but I think it was hard for her at first to accept it—-having a queer son.

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This notion of #InvitingIn is a very privileged conversation that many people may never feel they can engage in due to life’s circumstances. With the state of the world and the work of community empowerment that still remains a priority for Black and Brown America, I understand why one can feel this way. However, I am here to tell you that while you may be facing oppression or rejection in life, there is always hope and for me, that has been found in building my community of support.

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