The election of Barack Obama rocked America last November. Therefore, I think it is only fitting to highlight an organization that bridges the concerns of the LGBTQ and African American communities: the National Black Justice Coalition.
NBJC is a Washington, DC-based civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black same-gender-loving, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. The Coalition works with these communities and their allies for social justice, equality, and an end to racism and homophobia.
NBJC envisions a world where all people are fully empowered to participate safely, openly and honestly in family, faith and community - regardless of race, gender-identity or sexual orientation.
I asked Jasper Hendricks, NBJC Director of Field Operations and Political Programs, how the LGBTQ community at-large might help the most with the issues that communities of color face. He said, "by being supportive and understanding of cultural differences while willing to work TOGETHER in addressing all of the issues the LGBT community is facing today."
This sentiment was echoed by Pam Spaulding, the editor and publisher of one of the best blogs on the internet. When discussing the NBJC, Pam said, "by educating and communicating to members of the black faith community and challenging other LGBT organizations to engage in open discussion about our families, our myriad cultures, and our legal and legislative challenges, NBJC can make a difference. We can achieve civil equality by focusing on what we all have in common."
The coalition work NBJC engages in is one of the most fruitful ways to move our collective concerns forward. Putting our own time and energy into the concerns of other groups and movements means that we simultaneously build goodwill towards our concerns, while working to help, educate and speak out on problems that others face.
Beyond advocating for others, this type of coalition work also understands that we are all always so much more than the boxes that define us. Many of us stand at the crossroads of several identities, and beyond.
The National Black Justice Coalition works under this presumption. NBJC's main legislative priorities this year are gaining the passage of the federal hate crimes bill known as the Matthew Shepard Act and passing the inclusive Employment Discrimination Non-Discrimination Act, known as ENDA.
Both acts protect the LGBTQ community as a whole by explicitly stating that all people in the United States of America should be protected at the federal level, from hate crimes and employment discrimination - without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
Continue your Pride 2009 celebration in the nation's capital by attending the National Black Justice Coalition's reception honoring openly lesbian Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, U.S. Representative from the Second District of Wisconsin, openly gay Congressman Barney Frank, Chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services, and longtime ally Congressman John Conyers, Chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on June 17, 2009.
RSVP here, and for you job-seekers out there, the National Black Justice Coalition is searching for a new executive director.
Call them at 202-319-1552 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.