The National Black Justice Coalition ( NBJC ) , the nation's only Black gay civil-rights organization, issued a statement in response to President Bush's State of the Union address.
'President Bush George W. Bush said that marriage is a sacred institution and that it is our responsibility to our children and grandchildren to honor and to pass along the values that sustain a free society. We agree,' NBJC stated.
'Equality and fairness are core values of a free society,' said NBJC President Keith Boykin. 'The President's support for an anti-gay discriminatory amendment to the U.S. Constitution doesn't honor those values.'
'Separate has never meant equal for African Americans and the same holds true for millions of gay and lesbian couples in America,' commented Jasmyne Cannick, NBJC Board member.
'Our greatest responsibility is to our community and ensuring that we all have the same opportunity to provide our families with a healthy life in a society where all people are fully empowered to participate safely, openly, and honestly in family, faith and community, regardless of race, gender-identity or sexual orientation.'
'We applaud the President's support Reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act and his acknowledgement of the need to address the rising cases of HIV and AIDS in Black communities,' the group stated.
'Treating people with AIDS is critical, but so are efforts to prevent the continued spread of HIV,' said H. Alexander Robinson, NBJC strategic director and a former member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. Robinson noted that the administration's focus on 'unproven abstinence-only programs' and prevention initiatives targeted 'primarily to individuals who are already infected' has led to significant reductions in federal funding for prevention programs for Black gay and bisexual men. 'We hope the president will direct his new Secretary of Health and Human Services to follow the science and support the full scope of HIV prevention and education efforts.'
Board of the National
Black Justice Coalition:
Keith Boykin ( Board President ) —Author; New York, NY
Jasmyne Cannick—Public Relations Director; Los Angeles, CA
Mandy Carter—Community Activist; Durham, NC
Roddrick Colvin, Ph.D. ( Board Secretary ) —Professor; New York, NY
Maurice Franklin—Pharmaceutical Executive; New York, NY
Reverend Irene Monroe—Theologian; Boston, MA
Donna Payne ( Board Vice President ) - Community Activist; Washington, DC
Sylvia Rhue, Ph.D.—Theologian; Los Angeles, CA
Sonya Shields—Development Director; New York, NY
Strategic Director is H. Alexander Robinson ( Washington, DC ) .
See www.nbjcoalition.org .