The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), on Sept. 22, concluded its 3rd Annual OUT on the Hill Leadership Summit in Washington, DC. Led by the noted and widely respected LGBT activist, Sharon Lettman-Hicks, this year's summit theme was “Own Your Power” and, that’s exactly what was delivered by the volunteers and hard-working staff of NBJC (Charles Brewer, Kimberley McLeod, Rodney Nickens and Je-Shawna Wholley). Wholley recently was accepted into GLAAD’s National People of Color Media Institute and noted CNN/ESPN Columnist, LZ Granderson, was this year’s chair taking on various leadership roles throughout the week’s events.
The conference kicked off with a reception hosted by Vice President, Joe Biden at The White House for "Emerging LGBT Leaders Day" and hosted an array of bloggers, activists, life coaches, executives, policy-makers and those striving for full equality and recognition of the LGBT community.
On the third day of the summit, the morning began with the powerful panel, “Honoring and Protecting the Lives of Black Trans Women.” Moderator, Laverne Cox, began the panel with shocking statistics, “Nine months, nine trans people killed.” This is where we are in 2012, and in 2011, trans women of color comprised 87% of the murders of trans women. Members in the audience of National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) nodded with unfortunate agreement. NCAVP has released various reports in the last year and reports that trans women of color are continuously and disproportionately affected by violence.
The panel was filled with provocation for the next steps in honoring and protecting these women, testimonials and the future utilizing “Trans 101” to educate the media and society. The trans panelists included, Rev. Camarion Anderson, Danielle King, Monica Roberts and Valerie Spencer. NBJC promises to host a panel next year that will celebrate the lives and accomplishments of black trans men to bring the dialogue full circle. The talk was a much needed discussion to bring the “T” fully into scope when “LGBT” is discussed.
In addition, the conference ran simultaneously with the Congressional Black Caucus’s annuyal meeting and hosted an Issue Forum in conjunction, “How the LGBT Equality Movement Has Impacted Black America and the Media Landscape.” The panel was comprised of Keith Boykin, Jonathan Capehart, Clay Cane, Laverne Cox, Carolyn Brown, LZ Granderson and was moderated by Jeff Johnson. The panel provided great insight into how various media professionals are “owning their power” and using their voice to be effective, yet celebrating the complexities of Black America.
Various attendees spoke to the power of NBJC’s effect to stimulate them “owning their power” and praised NBJC for its efforts at the closing briefing about the future of NBJC.
You can view photos from the week, here. See you at OUT on the Hill 2013!