Black LGBTQ Emerging Leaders Day at the White HouseEach year, the HRC Foundation partners with the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) to bring together 150-200 Black youth to Washington, D.C., for a day of networking and engagement around national policy.

The day began with a round table discussion on economic empowerment and the financial state of Black queer and trans youth. While acknowledging the barriers LGBTQ youth of color face when entering the workforce, the panelists articulated economic success stories created by and for Black queer and trans youth that demonstrated the creative possibilities and resilience of LGBTQ millennials of color.

The conversation moved onto educational justice and creating space to affirm Black queer and trans lives in the academy.  Panelists offered ideas and resources on how emerging leaders could build coalitions and power on their college campuses. A great take-away from this conversation was the need for the institutionalization of affirming spaces on college campuses including LGBTQ people-of-color-specific curriculum and LGBTQ resource centers.

Finally, the Health and Wellness panel examined the health and well-being of Black LGBTQ youth, including their mental, physical and emotional health. A cornerstone of this conversation was HIV/AIDS and current health initiatives to provide access to quality and affordable health care.

The day concluded with a policy briefing at the White House where the group heard from leading White House officials from the Department of Justice, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, White House Initiative on HBCUs and LGBTQ staffers from the administration.

Afterwards, a networking reception was hosted at HRC with special guest remarks by Fallon Fox, the first out trans MMA fighter. Black LGBTQ emerging leaders left feeling empowered to live full, authentic, unapologetic lives in the fight for justice and equity.

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