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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 11, 2019 - Volume 47 Issue 41
NBJC statement in support of the DC SCOTUS rally
Section One
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NBJC statement in support of the DC SCOTUS rally

WASHINGTON, DC (October 8, 2019) - As the US Supreme Court today hears arguments on cases concerning the application of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to anti-LGBT discrimination, hundreds of LGBTQ advocates from across the country are participating in the DC SCOTUS Discrimination Rally and calling out the efforts to legalize discrimination against marginalized communities. Among them is Nakisha M. Lewis, a speaker at the rally and an advocate with the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the nation's leading civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black LGBTQ/SGL people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.

In support of the rally, Lewis and David Johns, NBJC executive director, released the following statements. Nakisha Lewis, NBJC advocate, said, 'Black people have known what it is like to have their humanity called into question since the founding of this nation. It is our pushing against a racist system that yielded the Civil Rights Act of 1964. So, for those of us who live at the intersection of Blackness and queerness or transness to be here defending our right to exist, as we are by protecting the Civil Rights Act, is particularly painful and reminds us that bigots will go to great lengths to deny our humanity. But today having inherited a legacy of fighting back, we will not back down until all Black lives, including those that are LGBTQ/SGL, are legally protected.'

Johns said, 'The issue of employment protections against discrimination is something that matters deeply to Black people, especially Black LGBTQ/SGL people. Anyone who claims to care about democracy or humanity must be actively engaged in the effort to ensure that all parts of our intersectional identities are valued and protected.

'The ability for bigots to fire people based on actual or perceived sexual identity [or] gender orientation or expression is dangerous. We cannot allow the Supreme Court, the Trump administration, or lawmakers here on Capitol Hill to roll back the advancements made by Title VII and threaten the strength and ability of our nation. It is not acceptable for any type of pernicious discrimination to be legal. In fact, any type of discrimination that we live with should be outlawed, especially in Southern states, where this type of discrimination is legal.

'For the LGBTQ community, particularly Black LGBTQ folks, there's more at stake in the outcome of these Supreme Court cases being heard today - more than most of you care to acknowledge.

'While Black people continue to carry the weight, the lingering scars, and injustices of slavery, Jim Crow, and post-Civil Rights era discrimination, Black LGBTQ/SGL, trans, and gender-nonbinary individuals have the added burden of race- and gender-based violence and threats of violence in the United States[, which] too often goes undiscussed.

'Supreme Court justices, like Kavanaugh, are no doubt emboldened by the Trump administration, [which] also emboldened white nationalism, fueled hatred and fear towards our immigrant brothers and sisters, and demonized LGBT advocates in Congress. But our will to protect each other and protect our collective futures is stronger than that.

'We must ensure equal protection of all Black people under the law, and that means protecting Title VII[, which] safeguards us against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin and has huge implications for the health and wellness of Black LGBTQ/SGL people, our families, and Americans.'

The National Black Justice Coalition is (NBJC) is America's leading 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.

Courtesy of the NBJC

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