May 21, 2012
Here at NCLR, we know that LGBT people of color face some of the greatest injustices our movement strives to address. Racial and economic oppression mean that LGBT people of color are often poorer, have worse health outcomes, and are more vulnerable to hate crimes than their white counterparts. LGBT youth of color face harsh and unfair discipline in schools.
This weekend, the nation’s leading civil rights organization made it clear that they too understand that reality.
On Saturday, the NAACP announced their official support for marriage equality. The organization’s Board of Directors—a pantheon of influential policy-makers, business leaders, clergy, and civil rights luminaries—voted to take yet another stand for equality in their long and historic legacy of championing civil rights.
The truth is, the NAACP has been our ally in this fight for years now. Back in 2009, the NAACP’s then-Chairman, Julian Bond, gave a rousing speech at the National Equality March in Washington, DC. He had this to say:
“We know that good things can come, and they don’t come to those who wait—but they come to those who agitate. Forty-six years ago, I was in another march, at the other end of this mall. Marching with me then were a quarter of a million others—white and black and brown, women and men, gay and straight. And standing at the podium, at the feet of the statue of Abraham Lincoln, right beside Martin Luther King Jr., was the gay man who brought us all here that day, who organized the march, Bayard Rustin. It doesn’t matter the rational—religious, cultural, pseudoscientific—no people of good will should oppose marriage equality. When my neighbor enjoys protection from discrimination, he or she becomes my ally in defending the rights we all share.”
Today at NCLR, we’re celebrating this historic announcement. Black leaders have been among our staunchest defenders in fight after fight for full equality, and, with this weekend’s historic announcement, that partnership got a little stronger.
Likewise, as LGBT advocates, we must be allies ourselves. We must recognize that racial justice is an LGBT issue both because of its importance to LGBT people of color and because of its centrality in the broader fight for equality in which we are all engaged. When we join with others to stand up for the dignity and equality of all people, we are immeasurably stronger. We salute the NAACP for its historic leadership and for once again blazing a trail that will make it easier for many others to follow.