Welcome to the month of June, when we celebrate our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. There are so many ways we can show our support to LGBTQ members of our various communities at this time. This Pride Month, I am going to show my support for the LGBTQ community by learning more about (and donating to) the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer+, and same-gender loving (LGBTQ+/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.
I first learned about the organization from their trailblazing executive director, Dr. David Johns. Hearing him on a panel, you could feel the ancestors talking through him as he spoke about justice, equality, institutional structures, and our obligation to do the work. His famous refrain—“Teach the babies!”—serves as a reminder not only to amass knowledge about the problem and work toward longstanding and concrete solutions, but then pass that knowledge on to others, especially young people. I could only imagine James Baldwin and Bayard Rustin looking down and smiling at the work being done by Dr. Johns, his staff, and the group of allies he has assembled.
If you visit the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) website at www.nbjc.org, you can find information about myriad issues. Their 2023 Federal Policy agenda addresses awareness, access, and accountability. The site also provides their voter hub, resources to contact your elected officials about the Equality Act, and information about the work being done on Capitol Hill. The NBJC also provides a host of resources and toolkits that address everything from HIV to COVID, youth suicide prevention, and gender justice, to name only a few.
We have read the news and we know LGBTQ people are under attack. The dangers that Black trans women face and the subsequent deaths across the country are alarming and criminal. The growing number of laws in states that limit access to services for LGBTQ Americans represent a concerted and coordinated effort to strip LGBTQ individuals of their rights and freedoms, and as Black people, we know that discrimination and bigotry are never reserved for just one group—if they come for one, they will soon come for all. It is imperative that we stand shoulder to shoulder with LGBTQ groups at this time who are doing the work and on the front lines, working to change policy, hearts, and minds.
If you’d like to know more about the NBJC, I strongly encourage you to see the work they are doing. And as always, those of you who read this column know I believe in political tithing. We must financially support organizations doing the work to make our society and our country a better and safer place for us. Find out more at www.nbjc.org.
Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University; author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream”; and co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC and host of The Blackest Questions podcast at TheGrio.