Bayard Taylor Rustin was born in West Chester, Pa., March 17, 1912. He had no relationship with his father, and his 16-year-old mother, Florence, was so young he thought she was his sister. From his grandparents, Janifer and Julia Rustin, he took his Quaker “values,” which, in his words, “were based on the concept of a single human family and the belief that all members of that family are equal,”
As a teenager, Rustin wrote poems, played left tackle on the high school football team and, according to lore, staged an impromptu sit-in at a restaurant that would serve his white teammates but not him. When Rustin told his grandmother he preferred the company of young men to girls, she simply said, “I suppose that’s what you need to do.”
In 1937, Rustin moved to New York City after bouncing between Wilberforce University and Cheney State Teachers College. Enrolling at City College, he devoted himself to singing, performing with the Josh White Quartet and in the musical John Henry with Paul Robeson. He also joined the Young Communist League. Though he soon quit the party after it ordered him to cease protesting racial segregation in the U.S. armed forces. By this time he was already on the radar of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI.
Disappointed when the 1941 March on Washington was called off, Rustin joined the pacifist Rev. A.J. Muste’s Fellowship of Reconciliation, and when FOR members in Chicago launched the Congress of Racial Equality in 1942, Rustin traveled around the country speaking out. Two years later, he was arrested for failing to appear before his draft board and refusing alternative service as a conscientious objector. Sentenced to three years in prison, he ended up serving 26 months, angering authorities with his desegregation protests and open homosexuality to the point they transferred him to a higher-security prison.
The NAACP, the country’s oldest African-American civil rights organization, publicly endorsed the Equality Act, a federal LGBT anti-discrimination bill. “We support what it does — and we support it now,” Hilary Shelton, the organization’s D.C. bureau director, told NBC News on Friday. “It’s important that it gets through.” Shelton said the group had previously endorsed the bill in meetings with two of its sponsors, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I.
The organization’s support came into question earlier this week after Gregory T. Angelo, the former president of gay conservative group Log Cabin Republicans, implied the NAACP was not behind the bill. In an opinion piece titled “Don’t Fall for the ‘Equality Act,’” Angelo stated that “African American legacy civil rights groups are absent” from an “exhaustive list” of organizations supporting the Equality Act. He specifically cited the NAACP.
Quisling homo-CON Gregory T. Angelo should be bitch-slapped every hour, on the hour, and never get laid again, but I doubt he does now.
The amicus brief was filed on 10/30/2017 and draws a correlation between the fight for black civil rights and LGBT civil rights but flew under the radar and went unnoticed due to Trump and all the sexual allegation news.
In 2012, a same-sex couple sought to purchase a wedding cake from Masterpiece Cakeshop, owned by Jack Phillips. After Mr. Phillips refused on the grounds that his faith forbade him from providing cakes for same-sex weddings or celebrations, the couple filed a complaint with Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission. The Colorado Court of Appeals (where LDF also filed an amicus brief) upheld the commission’s ruling that he had violated the state’s anti-discrimination law. Mr. Phillips appealed to the Supreme Court, contending that he could not be forced to serve the couple against his First Amendment rights as both a Christian and a culinary “artist.”
“Mr. Phillips is arguing that the First Amendment creates a constitutional right for him to discriminate, and it simply does not,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF President and Director-Counsel. “For the Court to consider carving out an ‘artistic expression’ or religious exemption to anti-discrimination laws—without any principle to limit when discrimination can and cannot take place—would give individuals a near blanket license to discriminate. Mr. Phillip’s interpretation, in effect, would render state and federal anti-discrimination laws useless.”
The bakery’s arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop have troubling historical parallels to the way that religion was used to justify discrimination against Black Americans in the Jim Crow-era. In 1968, LDF litigated a landmark case in this area—Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises—which is factually and legally similar to Masterpiece Cakeshop: Piggie Park involved the owner of a barbeque chain, Maurice Bessinger, who refused to serve three African-American customers at one of his restaurants in South Carolina. Mr. Bessinger alleged that his religious beliefs allowed him to circumvent Title II of the Civil Rights Act—which bars discrimination in public accommodations such as stores, hotels, and theaters—contending that serving Black customers would “contravene the will of God.” In Piggie Park, the Supreme Court unanimously held that Mr. Bessinger violated Title II—similar to Colorado’s anti-discrimination law—because an individual’s religious beliefs do not excuse discrimination.
“Piggie Park is an important reminder that we have been here before and it is doctrinally central to the resolution of the constitutional issues at stake,” said John Paul Schnapper-Casteras, Special Counsel for Appellate and Supreme Court Advocacy at LDF. “Piggie Park is also a remarkable story of progress: the 1968 ruling did not induce a major backlash or impede religious institutions or culinary artistry. Rather, people for the most part embraced the wisdom of this Court’s decision — and Piggie Park itself continues to operate a vibrant chain of stores where the current owner, Mr. Bessinger’s son, now speaks openly about rising above his father’s legacy on race.”
In September, the Trump Administration reversed its position on Colorado’s anti-discrimination law. In its latest brief in support of the bakery, the U.S. Solicitor General argues that certain businesses can refuse to accommodate LGBTQ customers under the First Amendment. The Administration’s involvement in this case could carve wide new exceptions into anti-discrimination laws and seriously hobble their enforcement.
“No matter how sincere or well-intentioned, we must see the bakery’s arguments for what they are,” said Coty Montag, Deputy Director of Litigation at LDF. “The bottom line is that religion cannot outweigh a person’s right to be free from discrimination. As laws and policies across the country are increasingly prohibitive of discrimination against the LGBTQ community, the Court should refuse to make an exception in contravention of them. We ask the Court to preserve the critical protections of the public accommodations laws, which shield us all.”
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (NAACP LDF, the Inc. Fund, or LDF) is a leading United States civil rights organization and law firm based in New York City.
The organization can trace its origins to the legal department of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People that was created by Charles Hamilton Houston in the 1930s. However, in 1940, Thurgood Marshall established LDF as a separate legal entity and, in 1957, the organization became totally independent of the NAACP.
The president of the NAACP and the head of the group’s Mobile branch are occupying the Alabama senator’s Mobile office until he withdraws from consideration as President-elect Donald Trump’s attorney general or the group gets arrested. The protest at Sessions’ Mobile Senate office was among several demonstrations held statewide against Sessions’ nomination.
Sessions was the U.S. attorney in Mobile in the mid-1980s when then-President Ronald Reagan nominated him for a federal judgeship. But the nomination failed amid allegations that Sessions made racist remarks toward a colleague, said the Ku Klux Klan was “O.K.” until he learned that members smoked marijuana and that he called the NAACP and liberal organizations “un-American” and “communist-inspired.”
“As a matter of conscience, the NAACP has chosen not to remain silent on this critical matter,” Birmingham NAACP head Hezekiah Johnson said outside Sessions’ Senate office in Birmingham. “Our main concern is centered around the reality of voter suppression. We have found no evidence of his ability, past or present, to be impartial and unbiased as the chief law enforcement officer of the United States of America, especially in the areas of civil rights, voting rights and equal protection under the law.”
The sit-in is being live-steamed on the groups FACEBOOK PAGE. Head on over and leave a post of support.
The executive committee of the state NAACP will ask the national leaders of the civil rights group for a nationwide economic boycott of North Carolina to protest the actions of the General Assembly, state NAACP President Rev. William Barber said Thursday.
“This legislature is trying to raise a new Confederacy in policy,” Barber said at a news conference. “This group doesn’t respect the Constitution. They do not respect the voices of the people. They do not respect the will of the people. They do not respect the vote, and it seems in some ways they do not respect just a little bit of money being removed from the state.”
Barber said the state NAACP takes issue with more than the legislature’s failure Wednesday to repeal House Bill 2, which he called “an anti-worker, anti-civil rights, anti-LGBT bill” because it prevents cities and counties from raising the minimum wage or enacting anti-discrimination protections. That was merely the final straw, he said, noting Republican lawmakers last week stripped incoming Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper of various powers and set set up partisan elections for the state’s highest court.
Back2stonewall.com agrees with the NAACP that a complete BOYCOTT of North Carolina must be continued and include ALL LGBT friendly companies, entertainers, conventions, and travelers refusing to set food and spend money in that hateful bigoted state. (That goes for you too Cindy Lauper.)
N.C. NAACP president William Barber whose Forward Together Moral Movement has organized numerous Moral Monday protests and acts of civil disobedience has vowed that his group will hold a “mass sit-ins” and protests at the North Carolina legislature if the states controversial and bigoted anti-LGBT law isn’t repealed by April 21st.
“We cannot be silent in the face of this race-based, class-based, homophobic and transphobic attack on wage earners, civil rights, and the LGBTQ community,” Barber said in a news release. “Together with our many allies, we will coordinate a campaign of nonviolent direct action along with other forms of nonviolent protest that will instruct our legislators with respect to the rights of all people.
I encourage everyone to continue to speak out against @PatMcCroryNC on Twitter. Back2Stonewall.com would also ask that are followers contact any conventions, musical artists, trade shows, businesses and ask them to boycott North Carolina and stand with the LGBT community in solidarity against this vicious and hateful anti-LGBT law.
These truly are trying times for our society where we have to ask what we are doing wrong. Why are the issues of racism, homophobia and sexism still plaguing our society? Why are the freedoms, rights, and protections that many have fought and died for in generations’ past being circumvented by those proclaiming God’s Law into the laws of man? Why do we have to fear for the safety of our children now, with more awareness and social consciousness, than any other generation before us while protections against discrimination are being ripped away? Why are women beginning to lose complete, autonomous control of what they can or cannot do with their bodies? Why are minorities still facing so much adversity?
The truth is that those issues never left us, rather they are momentarily placed in our periphery until we are forced to see what our extremists, or ignorance, or complacency has brought upon us. You see, the questions are never easy to say out loud while admitting the complexity to the answers because doing so leaves us with even more confusion than before. A quick look at the highly biased media is a testament of the roller coaster for the past several months and what it means to be a minority in this country.
Our very existence has been the epicenter for challenging the opinion of social constructs, political reform and change. The lows have been painful and the highs brief because it shows how much more work needs to be done. But the worst part of all of this is when adversity, animosity and sometimes violence that is being directed at us, those of us that understand the plight because it so often mirrors the same struggle, is never held prolonged attention to the other groups. In other words we don’t help each other out.
We are fragmented. We see each other during moments of great pain but don’t take the active steps to ease the pain. Possibly even prevent them. Why? Because one group feels like even though they understand our pain that they don’t truly know it. Or that by that associating with that group will make them look worse. Or complacency. Or apathy. Or who knows what else.
So much debate is also centered on how we are not listening to each other. What’s in place is awkward statements, tension then resentment. We should be united and feel united not like forced coworkers we exchange pleasantries to keep up appearances. Kind words are wonderful in times of great pain, confusion and doubt. At least they are for the short term. But what happens months later is a fleeting memory because we as a society have adapted the mentality where we will discard anything we feel does not directly affect us. Then this cycle of no progress continues. But we cannot allow it to continue this way.
As a gay African American man I do not always feel completely welcomed in the two groups I belong to. Maybe that is some latent insecurity of mine that I haven’t dealt with that bubbles up to the surface. Or maybe it is because I see the dissension between these two groups. Maybe it’s because of the numerous times one or both has confronted me about the other part of me they are unable to fully accept because of preconceived notions. I know it’s not just me that experiences the same sensation.
And when people like me witness tragedies that affect one group the most being ignored and cast aside it makes me extremely frustrated and sad. It makes me think of how much more progress would be made if these groups united together under the same cause. That I am constantly hoping that these groups will see the vested interests they share more rather than the differences. That all these groups will come together work together while supporting each other.
Just because we belong to a marginalized group does not mean we cannot not hold the same prejudices towards another minority. We cannot afford to be only for “us” anymore. We have to be for everyone.
For instance today a letter recognizing the travesty in our judicial system that denied Trayvon Martin and his family the justice they deserved this weekend was sent as a means of comfort. Will any efforts to prevent further travesties be made by the core LGBT groups like how to prevent things like this from ever happening again or will it be forgotten?
When will HRC and GLAAD and other Gay Inc. organizations realize that marriage equality is not the only focus that this community needs? When will they notice that there are people of color that are targeted in the same manner Trayvon was which led to his murder. That more comprehensive attention needs to be focused on the members of this community that feel like they have no voice at all because both sides continue to believe the other will take up the slack?
Same goes for the African American community leaders like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. When will the NAACP take steps to be truly inclusive of all its brothers and sisters that feel left out because our needs as queer men and women are far too often ignored? How many more cases like Mark Carson or Marco McMillian are going to happen before they acknowledge that there are people of color being left behind? Are they willing to see the bias that exists within the organization? Is it fear or willful ignorance that I feel like barely a mention was given to either of these men in a time where being of two minorities makes some of us even more 0f a target for hate, discrimination, and violence.
The story of Carlos Vigil is a prime example of the need for unity. This teen felt so lost because of the pain and shame that was being placed upon him that he felt he had no other reprieve than to take his own life. Were there other factors that contributed to his untimely passing like that of his ethnicity or race? Sadly we will never know the answer but why ever leave something like that to chance? It is our responsibility as activists and advocates to stop assuming and reach out whenever we see someone struggle, whether they belong to our community or not because they are all a part of community.
So where do we start? We need to look at various organizations that are fighting for equal rights. I’ve written several times about the intersectionality that exist within our society that makes so many feel left out because they are being left out, cast aside, or sadly forgotten. This dichotomous existence, an intersection of self where one’s cultures conflict or are apathetic to each other. It’s like a family where we see two parents fighting in front of their child then looking for them to pick a side. It makes coming out harder because you feel like no one will listen to what problems you face by other members of either community.
This is not limited to LGBT people of color. It goes with gender, class, age, education, and many other demographics work within this paradigm. It is a demanding emotional exercise to constantly feel you have to reconcile aspects of yourself that within yourself work so well but to the rest of the world doesn’t fit. Ignoring it by the leaders of these groups only make it worse.
We see that lesson in the interview given by Juror B37 of Trayvon’s case as a prime example of what willful ignorance looks like and what happens afterward. All the while she describing why a she sided with a murderer rather than a child, her rhetoric was nothing but it’s not our problem, its theirs”. She so easily believed that the issues we have faced in the past like racism have already been dealt with when in reality they still plague our society. Since she believed it didn’t directly affect her that she only focused on the person she related to, the murderer.
Another example is the controversy surrounding the Cheerios commercial of an interracial couple and their daughter that was subsequently followed by the torrents of racism after it aired. Then we see children being interviewed about the controversy and then are grateful to hear they are fine with the notion of races mixing. It’s heartwarming and innocent. But it is also a part of the problem. We assume all will be well even from not knowing if the sample of children that participated in this feel good antidote was demographically diverse. Because if they were all from big northern metropolitan cities like New York, they aren’t a true representation because there are children in the south that certainly would have already been taught to hate differences.
What I’m saying is that our society too often is willing to blindly accept anything that helps them escape the truth. And even though we should be concerned with how our views affect the future, we need to be just as focused on the adults who have the power now. The ones that are on varying levels teaching hate. This is an example of us not dealing with what is right in front of us. It makes us complacent and more willing to accept more of the same.
Well I’m sorry but I have had enough of that formula. There is too much frustration and hurt that means we have to make analogies or be crass in order for you to hear our collective voices when we tell each other we all have a component the other side(s) need. How many more times will we keep ignoring each other instead of taking formal steps to build the nonexistent bridges?
I do not want these layers of prejudice and hate and ignorance and apathy and division we quietly accept in this country to pass on to another generation. I do not want our generation to continue the same traditions of fear based either in faith or bigotry that we encourage by not openly discussing our differences to bring forth understanding. And I don’t want us to continue the dialogue where we are too rigid in our mindset or beliefs that we are bot at least willing to see and hear a viewpoint different than our own.
There are a lot of families in pain right now. We need to ensure that no other family has to go through it.
Many people are worried about their right to vote after the Supreme Court’s decision to dissolve stipulations of the Voting Right Act (VRA) that racial/ethnic minorities could not be discriminated against while voting. Members from the NAACP, Gays and Lesbians Task Force and others involved with immigration are now working together on an initiative to restore this injustice that has far reaching implications. Here’s more:
A broad cross section of social justice organizations — from environmentalists to immigrant reform-focused — came together last week to announce a concerted fight to restore voting rights lost when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a key provision of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional last week. Among the groups assembled for the “tele-townhall” conference call were the NAACP, the environmental groups Sierra Club and Greenpeace, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, NCLR, Voto Latino and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, all of which were represented by their leading directors pledging pro-active fights against voter suppression efforts.
Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said that his organization’s 2.1 million members “are ready to fight” to preserve voting rights in America by “knocking on doors, making phone calls and lobbying Congress.” Brune said that the same people the Sierra Club is fighting for attacking clean energy and climate change protection laws are the same people who are trying to restrict voting.
“We know that to protect our environment we must protect our democracy,” said Brune.
Well before the Supreme Court decision, the Sierra Club joined forces with the NAACP for what’s called the “Democracy Initiative,” a coalition dedicated to defending progressive election reform initiatives and protecting the right to vote.
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force executive director Rea Carey said the SCOTUS decision on DOMA was sweet but, “The sweetness does not erase the bitterness.”
“Those who seek to deny any of our votes seek to deny all of our votes,” said Carey. “I do have hope and we can’t stand for this, the LGBT community will not stand for this.”
Finally organizations are banding together because they see the far reaching implications the VRA decision could not only have on African American voters and Latinos, but also to the LGBT community. As I have written about over the past few weeks it is time for us to be united more than ever. This imbalance seems to loom over the marginalized groups in the country.
But imagine how much could be done if we actually sought out common ground with each other. If we collectively spent time uniting under one cause, equality. My intersectionality of my race and sexual orientation has been a blessing in that I can see the strengths these groups share. We would have better rules in place to protect our rights. We would no longer have to tiptoe around when we are seeking out equal rights.
But how do we do this? How do we go about encouraging this union without it disintegrating? Those are the areas we need to address so we can see more unity and become the real movement for equality.
In an op-ed for Politico, civil rights leader, former chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Julian Bond calls for all Americans to come together to support of LGBT equality and also speaks out against the planned “religious exemptions” that are currently in the version of ENDA (The Employment Non-Discrimination Act) that is to be brought up before Congress.
“ENDA follows in the mold of life-changing civil rights laws that, for decades, have prohibited employment discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, age and disability. However, there are some who feel that ENDA must allow religiously affiliated organizations — far beyond churches, synagogues and mosques — to engage in employment discrimination against LGBT people.
We haven’t accepted this in the past, and we must not today. In response to the historic gains of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, opponents argued that their religious beliefs prohibited integration. To be true to their religious beliefs, they argued, they couldn’t serve African-Americans in their restaurants or accept interracial marriages.
Indeed, during consideration of the landmark Civil Rights Act in 1964 (and again in 1972), there were attempts to provide religious organizations with a blank check to engage in discrimination in hiring on the basis of race, sex and national origin — like the one now proposed for ENDA — and both times we said no to those efforts. We weren’t willing to compromise on equality. We weren’t willing to say that African-Americans were only mostly equal. Today’s struggles are similar in that we shouldn’t accept only partial equality for LGBT people.
Let me be clear. Religious liberty is one of our most cherished values. It guarantees all of us the freedom to hold any belief we choose and the right to act on our religious beliefs. But it does not allow us to harm or discriminate against others. Religious liberty, contrary to what opponents of racial equality argued then and LGBT equality argue now, is not a license to use religion to discriminate.”
The current sweeping and unprecedented religious exemption in ENDA goes far beyond churches, synagogues, and mosques and allows discrimination against LGBT people in any religious associated business. It effectively gives a stamp of legitimacy to LGBT discrimination that our civil rights laws have never given to discrimination based on an individual’s race, sex, national origin, age, or disability and renders ENDA impotent and gives a pass to those who discriminate against the LGBT community the most.
Well the Human Rights Campaign had one of its many parties this past Friday in Washington, DC as it hosted its 16th Annual National Starfucker Dinner.
Hosted by new $360,000.00 a year HRC president Chad Griffin in a rare public appearance after keeping a very low profile since hired over 6 months ago. Other speakers included Dustin Lance Black and Newark’s hero mayor, Cory Booker, and Griffin (the highest paid event host in history) presenting the National Equality Award to the NAACP and its president, Ben Jealous and the HRC’s Ally for Equality Award to actress Sally Field with . (Now don’t get me wrong I LOVE Sally Field but what the fuck? Aren’t there more relevent, active and in the now allies *cough* Ben Cohen, Pauley Perette, Chris Kluwe, Miley Cyrus, Vanessa Williams, nd Josh Hutcherson to name a few. *cough*)
Being the mother of a gay son. Sally did deliver a nice talk though about the biological innateness of being gay. “Sam is what nature intended him to be,” she told the audience. She knew well before her son that he was gay, of course, and had wanted to explain it all to him, but thanks to her other sons’ insistence, she let Sam find his own way. And she couldn’t be more proud.
Parents who kick out their children or turn their backs, she said, need to realize “these children have something important to teach their parents:” Love and acceptance. Some children are gay, she explains, “So the f*ck what?”
But what was the relevance of honoring her over others who are more visibly outspoken? STARPOWER and Ticket Sales.
All in all it was just another night at Gay Inc. with the gay elite paying $275.oo a ticket for a catered dinner, to run elbows with the stars, and tell each other just how fabulash they are while ENDA is still stuck in Congress after 20 years and Federal DOMA still stands.