Okay, I am back in Los Angeles. It was a long drive to and from Oakland but well worth it. I almost didn’t make it to Oakland. Before I got on the road, I was hit with the terrible news that one of my colleagues and friends died of a heart attack and that had drained me. But realizing the importance of this event and knowing my friend, he would have wanted me to be there so I kept it moving.
First, I want to say thank you to everyone that attended the National Black Justice Coalition’s reception in Oakland to kick off our Action Fund. It was good to be in Oakland and to be able to connect with community. Attendees included 16th District Nominee Sandre Swanson, Oakland’s Peggy Moore, Joe Hawkins and Roosevelt Mosby.
And that was pretty much the extent of my social activities for weekend.
After the reception NBJC convened, it’s annual meeting of the Board of Directors at the Oakland Marriott. I will say that I was extremely pleased that our annual meeting took place in California, After three years of traveling to D.C., I felt it was about time we switched to meeting to the West Coast.
While I can’t go in to detail about what was discussed, I will say that NBJC reaffirmed it’s commitment to the Black same-gender loving community. This is not to say that we lost our commitment, but that we are more determined and committed than ever to serving this community, the Black community.
One significant change that I am pleased to announce is that we have added the words “same-gender loving” to our mission statement. That means a lot to me as someone who identifies as both SGL and lesbian and realizes that a significant amount of people in our community do so as well.
The new mission statement reads: "The National Black Justice Coalition is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black same-gender-loving, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. The Coalition works with our communities and our allies for social justice, equality, and an end to racism and homophobia."
Many of you know that NBJC is an organization that is near and dear to my heart. As a co-founder and current board member I am very much involved with the direction of the organization. It is important to me that my community is represented at the local, state, and federal levels on issues that are relevant and important to us.
In three short years, we accomplished a lot including:
- Conceived and launched a groundbreaking advertising campaign in Black Newspapers in 2004 to end marriage discrimination in several key demographic outlets: Atlanta, Washington, DC/Baltimore, Los Angeles and Detroit.
- Held several high-profile town hall meetings on a diverse range of topics that impact Black communities including: marriage, health care, social security reform, HIV/AIDS, and employment and housing discrimination in: Oakland, Los Angeles, Charlotte, Baltimore, Bowie, St. Louis, Nashville, and Dallas.
- Hired a full time staff of four in 2005.
- Convened historic LGBT/SGL Leaders Summit in September 2005, the first gathering of its kind.
- Hosted NAACP reception in 2005, the first time a Black SGL organization has partnered with the NAACP at its national convention.
- Launched NYANSAPO – the quarterly magazine of NBJC in the fall of 2005, the only national Black LGBT/SGL magazine for civil rights.
- Co-convener of the Millions More Movement which resulted from holding the first face-to-face meeting with Louis Farrakhan that has ever been held with openly lesbian and gay leaders.
- Co-sponsored the “We are Family Weekend” in October 2005.
- Issued groundbreaking study of Black same-sex households
- Issued the renowned “Jumping The Broom” study , which was the first public document issued by a civil rights organization to specifically address marriage equality in the Black community. This is the first in a series of state-specific materials to address this topic for the future.
NBJC has been there and its only been with the support of our community.
Please take some time to get know us or more about us if you are already familiar with us. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved wherever you are including serving on a committee, volunteering, or serving as an intern. Feel free to email me for more information on NBJC as well.
If you are Black SGL, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender or a supporter of the Black gay community, you should be a member of NBJC. You are NBJC.
Pictured in the photo above, from left to right are Jasmyne Cannick (Los Angeles), Alan-Michael Graves (Los Angeles), Executive Director H. Alexander Robinson, Keith Boykin (New York), Hon. Darryl Moore (Oakland), Zandra Conway (Atlanta), Samiya Bashir (New York) and Kylar Broadus (Missouri).