Saturday, March 17, 2012, marks the 100th birthday of the late civil rights activist Bayard Rustin. Rustin was a proud Black gay man who was an indispensable architect of the Civil Rights Movement. His most noteworthy achievements include serving as chief organizer of the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, mentoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and helping to form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
As an effective bridge builder across a broad range of demographics, he spent more than 60 years involved in social, racial, economic, class, labor, anti-war and other justice movements, both domestically and internationally.
However, the story of this visionary strategist and activist, who dared to live as an openly gay man during the violently homophobic 1940s, 50s, and 60s, has rarely been told in mainstream or Black media.
Read more just click here —> NBJC Celebrates Bayard Rustin 100th Birthday 1912-2012
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has just ruled that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional! We knew all along that Prop 8 was wrong, and this ruling affirms what millions of people all across the country already know — loving, committed same-sex couples and their families should be able to share in the celebration and obligations of marriage.
This is a huge victory in the battle for marriage equality, but this fight is far from over.
The federal government still refuses to recognize our families. The so-called Defense of Marriage Act remains the law of the land, and thousands of loving families are denied the protections, rights, and responsibilities that other married couples take for granted.
The Obama Administration has refused to defend DOMA. It’s time for Congress to repeal it.
Take Action now: Tell your senators to pass the Respect for Marriage Act and repeal DOMA.
Let’s use this historic ruling as a catalyst in our fight for equality, and demand that the federal government recognize our relationships.
Just a few days ago I received an email that a 57-year-old black lesbian member who was living in the New York City shelter system had been gunned down outside of the shelter. Amber Hollibaugh, Executive Director, Queers for Economic Justice said, “Yvonne’s killing on Sunday underscores the reality that the police cannot be relied on to respond compassionately to low-income LGBTQ people when it concerns issues of safety in our communities. At QEJ, we are asking again, how many potentially dangerous situations every year have to end up in a police shooting? It cannot be accepted that calling the police can be deadly for low-income LGBTQ New Yorkers”.
Most of us have vibrant memories of the battles that have gone before: civil rights, marriage equality in California and New York, and the continuing immigrants rights struggle. We also do not forget the examples of fierce warriors like Audre Lorde, who said, “If I did not define myself for myself, I would be crushed into other people’s fantasies for me and be eaten alive.”
In addition to ongoing marginalization the current economic climate threatens housing, food security and health care among the aging. These forces are all the more challenging in light of continued marginalization and lack of integration of people of color and more so, LGBT elders of color into this dialogue.
As “baby boomers” age there is need to look at the rights and well-being of the aging.
There are those who stood up and fought on all these fronts that are continually being left out of the conversation.
People like Regina V. Shavers, Robert Spellman, Ira Jeffries, the founders of GRIOT, saw the need for us to have the space to speak for ourselves.
They would be pleased at the amassed potential of this community of organizational leaders and elders coming together to cooperatively continue the battle we have been waging individually and in small segmented groups, in Aging. It’s time for us to reassess how we can work differently to get our voices and our lives into this conversation. This convening offers us an opportunity to gather as a community of POC/ LGBT elders and organizational leaders who must frame the policy on Aging. Our work experience in addressing the disparities in health care, housing, immigration, social security are needed in a truly collective effort that enhances the quality of our elder’s lives. This network must build a united voice of POC organizational leaders and elders, and must reframe language so it inclusively meets the needs of the POC /LGBT communities. It would not be clichéd to say at this time, “Si, se puede!”
Article by Glen Francis, E.D., GRIOT Circle, also published in HUFFINGTON POST.
Successful aging requires access to approximate housing, quality health care, and supportive services – needs that will challenge and transform the system entrusted with providing these services for a rapidly expanding aging population. At the same time, the growing numbers of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) seniors and their increasing degree of openness and demands for fair and equal treatment are further challenging the elder care system to meet the needs of all seniors. This shift signals the urgent need to radically transform and redesign gerontological and geriatric health care paradigms.
Older Americans are also growing more radically and ethnically diverse. In 2000, an estimated 84 percent of persons aging 65 and older were non-Hispanic white, 8 percent were Hispanic, 2 percent were Asian/Pacific Islanders, and less than 1 percent was Native American/Alaska Native.
By 2050, estimates indicate that approximately 64 percent of persons age 65 or older will be non-Hispanic white, 16 percent will be Hispanic, 12 percent will be non-Hispanic black, and 7 percent will be Asian/Pacific Islanders. Service providers must take this growing diversity into account as they strive to provide quality services that genuinely meet seniors needs.
All elders contend with many of the same aging-related issues, however, LGBT seniors and people of color (POC) LGBT in particular face many unique challenges. These seniors are “thrice-Hidden” due to social discrimination on levels: ageism, racism, homophobia and heteroism.
LGBT seniors often face anti-gay to gender discrimination by mainstream elders care providers that renders them “invisible” and impedes their access to vital services. At the same time, LGBT elders frequently confront ageism within the LGBT community and the organizations created to serve the community’s needs.
This First National Convening on POC LGBT Aging is a collective declaration of the urgent need to reframe and transform the conventional “aging” health care landscape as it directly impacts POC LGBT elders. We must move beyond problem solving in isolation to forging sustainable and innovative collaboration among aging, health and LGBT network.
It is essential to collectively advocate for the integration of both ethno-geriatrics and adult transformational learning into all aspects of health care delivery for POC LGBT elders. This is a crucial time for advocates to communicate, hold each other accountable and present a untied front, especially during this period of national debate over the future of federal programs critical to the well-being of seniors.
VP, Talent Management, Diversity & Inclusion
Chief Diversity Officer, HR Group
Speaker Christine C. Quinn
LGBT and HIV/AIDS Community Report
Dear New Yorker,
After nearly two decades of advocacy, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is officially over.
No longer will LGBT Americans be denied the right to serve this great country of ours, nor will they be forced to hide a part of themselves in order to continue their service.
I’d like to thank President Obama, Senator Gillibrand, Congress Member Nadler, and the other members of Congress for ending this discriminatory policy once and for all. Special thanks as well to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the Human Rights Campaign, and all the other advocacy organizations for their incredible work in gaining equality in the military.
The end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell sends a simple, but powerful, message that we all deserve respect, regardless of who we love. This is an historic step for equality and the security of our nation and world.
Long-time Brooklyn couple considers nuptials as marriage equality act takes effect in New York State
By C. Zawadi Morris
On the eve of same-sex marriage equality in New York State, nearly five-decades of love has endured for one Brooklyn couple.
“It’s about time!” Jean Rowe and Thelma Simmons of East Flatbush say simultaneously. Often finishing each other’s sentences, it’s clear these women have known each other a very long time—49 years and eight months, to be exact. But who’s counting?
Jean is in her 70s and Thelma is 82. They are both African-American women. They have a gentle nature but possess subtle personality differences that clearly complement each other.
Their love took root while they were in their late 20s and early 30s, and together, over the past fifty years, they have seen the world change: They’ve watched economies bottom out and rise again and wars start and stop.
So many social and political revolutions have happened as they went about their lives during a time when it was unheard of for gay couples to be out about their relationship, much less consider same-sex marriage.
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