National Black Justice Coalition Stands With Community to Condemn Recent Anti-LGBT Attacks

TransGriot Note:  Press release from the National Black Justice Coalition


WASHINGTON, D.C. – FEBRUARY 9, 2012 – Our community is
now at a crossroads. Our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)
youth are calling out to us. This is the moment we make it unequivocally
that we are here, we are listening and we are ready to take action. In
light of the recent anti-LGBT attacks and murders of our Black youth,
the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), a civil rights organization
dedicated to empowering Black LGBT people,
is standing with community members to demand that this pattern of violence
against our own end now.


Earlier this week, a video of Brandon White, a Black gay
man in Atlanta, being brutally beaten went viral. The 30-second clip
shows a group of men suspected to be members of the gang Pittsburgh Jack
City kicking
and punching the unsuspecting young man as they repeatedly call him
anti-gay slurs.


Just last Thursday a Black transgender woman, Deoni
Jones, was fatally stabbed in Washington, D.C. According to a press
release from the D.C. Transgender Coalition (DCTC), an altercation
between the victim
and her attacker broke out at the bus stop, which resulted in the
victim being stabbed in the face. The Metropolitan Police Department
(MPD) suspect and is looking for a Black male, 30 to 40 years old.


Last month, new details emerged in the hazing death of
gay Florida A&M University student Robert Champion, Jr. Friends have
said they believe his orientation may have been a factor in the
severity of the brutal
beating that killed him. And those are just three of the incidents we
know about. Many more attacks, assaults, and incidents of harassment go


The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs has
found that violence against LGBT people is up 23 percent, with people of
color and transgender women as the most likely targets. Of the victims
in 2010, 70 percent were people of color, and 44 percent were
transgender women.


“Enough is enough,” says Sharon Lettman-Hicks, NBJC
executive director. “Our children are dying and they’re taking each
other’s lives. Simply because it’s anti-LGBT violence doesn’t change the
fact that it’s
Black-on-Black crime. We need to act now.”


Black LGBT people are at the intersection of laws like
the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act,
which were passed to protect people like Brandon, Deoni and Robert. But
federal law
enforcement alone will not address the systematic and societal
realities around violence in our community.


This tragic string of attacks is a clarion call that more
deliberate action within the Black community is needed now more than
ever.  Anti-gay violence is not only a civil rights issue; it is a Black
It is a Black issue because violence against gay and transgender
individuals is disproportionately affecting our Black youth. The civil
rights community can no longer stand on the sidelines while our LGBT
sons and daughters continue to suffer in silence.

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