Press

National Black Justice Coalition Announces National Campaign for LGBT Civil Rights

Date: 
December 08, 2003

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

The National Black Justice Coalition, an ad hoc consortium of African American lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community leaders, held a press conference this afternoon at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. to announce a new national campaign to generate support for the civil rights of LGBT people, and to call upon African American civil rights organizations and political leaders to take a strong position against the proposed discriminatory Federal Marriage Amendment. The leaders announced a major fundraising drive and a targeted ad campaign to generate African American support for marriage equality.

Statement by National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman:

"The national campaign announced today is a welcome and essential step to counter the organized campaign of the religious and political right to use 'gay marriage' to pit the African American community against the gay, lesbian, bisexual and trangender community. The people and organizations who are behind this callous manipulation are masters at using wedge issues to divide America. If you take their hoods off, you'll see the same faces who vehemently oppose affirmative action, strongly support capital punishment, gleefully ridicule welfare recipients, and consistently block hate crimes and non-discrimination legislation.

As today's press conference shows, our two communities cannot be divided. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender African Americans have been key leaders at every juncture of our movement's progress and non-gay African American elected officials have been our staunchest allies. This is more than rhetorical posturing. The proof of our shared values is the way in which our communities vote: time and again, exit polls show that African Americans and gay people are the most loyal supporters the Democratic party has."

Those speaking at today's press conference included: Ken Reeves, City Councilor, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Rev. Michaele Moore, God's Living Spirit Church; Donna Payne, Human Rights Campaign; Keith Boykin, Bestselling Author; Mandy Carter, Freedom To Marry Steering Committee and Southerners on New Ground; Alicia Toby and Saundra Heath, black lesbian couple from New Jersey; and, Dr. Alvin Williams and Nigel Simon, black gay couple from Washington.

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.