On October 22, The Maryland Black Family Alliance (MBFA), a coalition of straight African- American leaders who advocate for the rights of the African American LGBT community, premiered their new film, Maryland Voices of Equality. The documentary, directed by noted filmmaker Kalima Young, aims at educating the black community about the importance of fairness, justice, and equality for all families, including for gays and lesbians. It discusses the crucial role of Bayard Rustin and other black gay and lesbian activists in the Civil Rights Movement and highlights the personal stories from MBFA leaders such as state Delegate Jolene Ivey (D-Prince George’s); Carl O. Snowden, the director of the Maryland Attorney General Office of Civil Rights; and Rev. Larry L. Brumfield, chair of Pride and Faith.
And the film has a powerful supporter: Chairman of The Board for the NAACP and honorary member of the MBFA, Julian Bond.
"GLBT rights are civil rights; there are no 'special rights' in America,” said Bond. “Everyone has rights – or should have – and I am happy to join the Maryland Black Family Alliance in this battle for justice and fairness.”
This film allows the true diversity of the LGBT community to shine, especially the support for marriage for gay and lesbian couples from African-American straight allies.
"It is time for the country to understand that African Americans who are committed to equality and justice for all recognize the despair and harm inflicted upon our fellow Americans solely because they are gay and lesbian,” said Elbridge James, Director of the MBFA. "Liberty and justice for all means just that – not for some but for all.”
On October 22 at Coppin State University, the film premiered to a jammed pack audience. “It was an amazing experience to look out and see a standing room only crowd of African American students, professors, mothers, fathers, elected officials, as well as representatives from organizations from across Maryland -- in unified support for equality, justice and fairness,” Lea Gilmore, MBFA’s Program Director told GLAAD. “We were humbled by the collective response of support and we know we did the right thing in making this film.”
Here’s a look at Part 1 of Maryland Voices of Equality:
Watch Part 2 here.