Black History Month | NBJC Creating Change & LGBT White House Briefing

For White House Briefing:- Young leaders note, I encourage all concerned with LGBT rights in America and globally to consider the question of  the criminalization of being gay as it impacts our LGBTI brothers and sisters and gender free persons on the continent of Africa…. Melanie Nathan

by Melanie Nathan, 02/03/2012

Black History Month is an observance of the history of the African diaspora in a number of countries outside of Africa. Since 1976, it is observed annually in the United States and Canada in February, while in the United Kingdom it is observed in October. In the U.S., Black History Month is also referred to as African-American History Month.

Black History Month was begun as “Negro History Week”  by historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926. His goal was to educate the American people about African-American history, focusing on African Americans‘ cultural backgrounds and reputable achievements.

As LGBT people of color celebrate Black History Month in the U.S.A., NBJC Group reports it is critical that today “we plant the necessary seeds in the fertile groundwork those before us have already laid. It was with that in mind that NBJC took Baltimore by storm at this year’s Creating Change, a national conference on LGBT equality hosted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.”

“We kicked things off with a lively movement-building session titled “Can You Hear Me Now? We Are Black Too: Electrifying the Black LGBT Base.” Moderated by filmmaker Maurice Jamal and NBJC senior fellow Je-Shawna Wholley, the workshop delved into how we as Black LGBT people can mobilize.

A panel of advocates talked candidly about what factors hold us back as a community and what changes need to happen so that we can effectively strategize. The takeaway? We must utilize untapped resources and no longer be complicit in our oppression by settling for less than we deserve.”

Later, NBJC partnered with the National Education Association’s Office of Minority Community Outreach to present a town hall meeting that focused on the challenges LGBT youth of color face. ESPN/CNN writer and commentator LZ Granderson guided the youth-led discussion. Youth leaders and experts in youth advocacy explored themes like empowerment, creating safe spaces for our young people, and ensuring that youth from all walks of life have a seat at the table.

Finally, at “Jumping Beyond the Broom: Why Black Gay and Transgender Americans Need More Than Marriage Equality,” NBJC Executive Director Sharon Lettman-Hicks joined Center for American Progress advisors Aisha and Danielle Moodie-Mills, to discuss why there are a host of other protections that Black LGBT people need in addition to marriage equality.

“But we didn’t stop there!” the report continues, “NBJC’s presence was felt throughout Creating Change with founder and NBJC Leadership Advisory Council member Mandy Carter and current board member Kylar Broadus leading workshops and a display table providing materials pertinent to our community. Our work continues.”

The group, NBJC is highlighting its push, urging the U.S. Department of Justice to launch an immediate investigation into the death of Florida A&M University student Robert Champion Jr. as a potential anti-gay hate crime.

In addition this Black History Month, the WHITE HOUSE POLICY BRIEFING FOR BLACK LGBT EMERGING LEADERS  is noted for February 24, 2012:-

Leaders in communities are invited to participate in a policy briefing at the White House for Black LGBT Emerging Leaders. Priority will be given to emerging leaders, ages 18-30, to attend. This event will be an opportunity for young leaders  to learn more about President Obama’s commitment to equal rights for all Americans and the important steps his Administration has taken to ensure health, well-being, security, justice, and equality for black and LGBT Americans.

At this briefing, attendees will have the opportunity to:

  • Interact directly with senior Obama Administration officials who will discuss important LGBT policy updates related to non-discrimination, health, and international human rights;
  • Identify opportunities to collaborate with the Obama Administration in breakout sessions on youth entrepreneurship, safe schools and communities, faith-based outreach, and HIV/AIDS prevention;
  • Participate in a listening session with the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs);
  • Provide candid and constructive feedback to White House and agency staff;
  • Get engaged with upcoming White House outreach efforts to black, LGBT, youth, and faith-based communities.

In addition, we will also offer an East Wing tour from 11 AM to Noon, with an hour-long break for lunch (on your own) between the end of the tour and the start of the briefing.

Note from Melanie Nathan:- I encourage all concerned with LGBT rights in America and globally to consider the question of  the criminalization of being gay as it impacts our LGBTI brothers and sisters and gender free persons on the continent of Africa; while we still struggle for equality in the USA, our LGBTI family are criminalized with harsh prison sentences in Africa. The White House must do more and we would be remiss as a community if we did not make this an imperative mission on the part of the Obama administration, which has come out and condemned human rights abuses against gays, lesbians and transgender people in Africa, promising to do more! It must be more than mere words and it is our job to push!  Young leaders ought to take this up too at the briefing.

If you are interested in sponsoring an emerging leader or attending this event, please contact MarQuis Fair at no later than Wednesday, February 8, 2012.

Picture Credit Goes to Simon Deviant, Cape Town, taken Cape Town Pride 2011.

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