On Saturday, October 20, New York-based LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent held a forum in Harlem, NY entited “Empowering Ourselves: Using Faith as Our Anchor.” Through a series of prayers, group discussions and keynote addresses, Faith Leaders empowered their community members to challenge notions that their sexual orientation and spiritual and religious identity are mutually exclusive. Bishop Yvette Flunder of NoWedge 2012 and the founder of the City of Refuge United Church of Christ delivered the morning’s keynote and The National Black Justice Coalition’s (NBJC), Executive Director and CEO, Sharon Lettman-Hicks also delivered a powerful keynote speech during the afternoon, in which she encouraged the African American community to mobilize and “own your power”. This was also the strong message at this year’s OUT on the Hill sponsored by NBJC.
In addition, GLAAD worked in partnership with Faith Leaders to lead the group discussion, “We Tell Our Stories, You Tell Yours,” providing best pracitces for how LGBT people of faith can tell their stories within their communities and to the media. The staff of Harlem Pride, community members, clergy, artists and educators attended the group discussion and were engaged to make significant social change in their local communities and among their families.
During the group discussion, the attendees were also able to preview a video project that Faith Leaders has launched, “Telling Our Stories.” Joseph Tolton, Dr. Wilhelmina Perry, Kevin McGruder and Electra Cummings are just some of the participants who have told empowering stories on camera and are spokespeople for the campaign. Faith Leaders will continue to distribute this among their constituency and beyond.
“As people of faith, we believe in the spiritual values of love, inclusiveness, and respect for all people,” a strong message that Faith Leaders continually pushes forward.
To learn more about LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent, visit their website, here.
GLAAD applauds LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent for their tireless work to send out fair and accurate images about the faith community, and their strong mission to empower the black community.