NAACP President reaches out to lgbt groups

by on September 27, 2010  •  In Race

A young and dynamic NAACP president – Benjamin Imgres Jealous – is behind what could be a turning point in coalition politics: the full embrace of lgbt equality issues as part of the upcoming (October 2) One Nation march in DC organized by the NAACP. Note coverage of lgbt issues as an integral part of the agenda in this morning's NY Times.  A Gay City News report of his speech last week at the NYC Lesbian and Gay Community Center provides a flavor -

A Rhodes Scholar who formerly worked at Amnesty International on issues of prison rape, the criminal justice system’s treatment of juvenile offenders, and racial profiling, Jealous earned a warm response from a crowd of more than 100 with a discussion about the possibilities for progressive change through coalition politics; his remarks showed him well versed in LGBT issues. Mentioning having in his family both HIV and a gender-nonconforming brother who’s been beaten up, Jealous talked about the NAACP’s advocacy for black gay student victims of homophobic violence at the hands of African-American attackers in a Coffee County, Georgia college; the school responded by kicking those assaulted out of their dorm.

“It is the NAACP in places like Coffee County, Georgia,” he said, “that is the civil rights institution, not the black civil rights institution, the people of color civil rights institution, the civil rights institution.” The group, he said, let the school "know that nothing like this would ever happen again.”

Jealous talked about the NAACP’s long push for the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act and about the work the group is doing in partnership with the federal Centers for Disease Control to target areas of high HIV prevalence in the African-American community, especially among young gay and bisexual men. Lamenting the fact that the public’s attention toward the AIDS crisis has lagged as infection rates remain persistently high and the population of those infected increasingly poor, with a larger proportion of people of color, he pointed to one such effort being undertaken this month in Brooklyn…

Jealous couched his remarks in the broader context of a participatory relationship he hopes will continue long past the march. In response to questions, he voiced receptiveness to having “a conversation” on a variety of topics… And he agreed with several questioners about the need to end the political dispersion of progressive communities in discrete silos, where they have too little dialogue with each other…

Details about the march after the jump –>

We are One Nation Working Together
The One Nation event is Saturday October 2, with the main program beginning at noon at the Lincoln Memorial. Many lgbt organizations have endorsed it and will participate. See you there –


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