HRC Celebrates Black History Month
February 10, 2011 by Carolyn Simon, Deputy Director of Digital Media
African-American leaders are some of the strongest voices advocating for equality. And no wonder. The civil rights victories during the 1960s, led by the black civil rights movement, helped propel civil rights advancements for many communities, including the LGBT community. There’s U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who gave an impassioned speech on the House floor, urging his fellow representatives to “vote yes” on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” There’s Whoopi Goldberg, a comedian, actor and a New Yorker for Marriage Equality. There’s Bishop John Selders, a founding member of HRC’s Religion Council, who speaks eloquently about the role of sexuality-based stigma in contributing to the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic – especially within communities of color. There are Drs. Johnnetta Cole and Michael Lomax, black educators and scholars who are unafraid to raise the issue of LGBT inclusion in black higher education. And there are Rosalyn Taylor O’Neale and Lee Daniels, who are showing our black LGBT youth that being black and being out as LGBT is a powerful way to walk in this world.
We salute and celebrate these and countless other African-American leaders – straight allies and LGBT people – each February as part of Black History Month. HRC is thankful each and every day that we can draw strength from the diversity of the LGBT community and our allies. Some of HRC’s most important initiatives – such as the Historically Black Colleges and Universities program – demonstrate that African-American LGBT people and straight allies are critical to winning the fight for equality. “Our sisterhood and our brotherhood – black, gay and straight alike – are found in the common hopes and dreams that we all share for full equality and freedom,” said Cuc Vu, HRC’s Chief Diversity Officer.