NBJC Endorses Equality Act

The National Black Justice Coalition upon today’s introduction in Congress of the Equality Act, has endorsed this sweeping and unprecedented piece of federal legislation.

If enacted, the Equality Act would expand basic human rights protections for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender) and gender nonconforming Americans based on their actual or perceived gender identity or sexual orientation. 

The Equality Act adds key LGBT rights protections to existing civil rights laws including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 to ensure like other protected classes (race, religion, national origin) LGBT people cannot be legally discriminated against in the United States. 

The Equality Act also provides federal protections on the basis of sex and sex-based stereotypes in both public accommodations and federally funded programs..

“Without a federal non-discrimination measure like the Equality Act in law, the current framework of LGBT civil protections–or lack thereof– within states and local jurisdictions provides a majority of LGBT Americans with no clear legal defense from discrimination,” said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, NBJC Executive Director & CEO in a statement.. “When a person is both Black and LGBT, discrimination–and the evils of blatant and systemic racism–is too common place  and faced on a number of levels that are fundamentally unacceptable in a democracy.   As such, NBJC supports the Equality Act, which would provide vital legal protections to so many in the Black LGBT community who are particularly vulnerable to discrimination in our nation.”

According to a UCLA Williams Institute study, 3.7% of all adult African-Americans identify as LGBT people, representing more than 1 millions Black LGBT Americans. Significant populations of Black LGBT people like in southern states that in many cases have no local or statewide non-discrimination protections that cover LGBT people.  The Equality Act’s passage would ensure that the most vulnerable LGBT citizens–which includes Black LGBT ones, would have recourse when they are treated unfairly because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

‘The heightened attention we have seen in recent years, months, and days about the mistreatment of black people in regards to policing, racial profiling and senseless violence demonstrates that the fight for true equality continues.  Even with key civil rights laws on the books meant to prohibit discriminatory treatment, we continue to live in a nation grappling with the plight of racial justice,”  added Lettman-Hicks.

“The movement for equal justice under the law calls for us to continue to place pressure on those in power to make and enforce laws that protect us all–no matter our background.   That is why NBJC will continue to fight to see an end to all forms of racism in our nation and world, while simultaneously working to see the day when measures like the Equality Act are signed into law.”

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