Black Civil Rights and Faith Leaders Combat Divide & Conquer Strategies
"NoWedge 2012: A Memo to Black America" presented a unified, grassroots movement among Black civil rights and faith leaders in response to right-wing tactics to "drive a wedge between gays and Blacks." Launching at Covenant Baptist Church in Washington, DC, the Black community and faith leaders issued a national declaration regarding the need for a unified and organized response to attempts to create tensions among the Black community with the LGBT community. As the election cycle continues to unfold with 6 months until election day, a meeting of this type is of the utmost significance. On the local front, there have been some clergy who have publicly affirmed their positions about the LGBTQ community but the dialogue is far and in between. This item from the National Black Justice Coalition resonated with COP 24/7 and I believed that such a meeting would be beneficial to occur on our own turf. The collaboration of those below could be mirrored in Little Rock if we could assemble like minded allies to share our concerns and perceptions of our working associations and allegiances. I've heard from many of you who have stated that "why don't we do this or that?" or "why do we seem divided as a community and can we not come together?" If that's the issue the next step is to stop talking about it or waiting on "someone" to make it happen. Don't forget that each and everyone you needs to be the "one" who forges ahead with getting it done. Congrats to NBJC for gathering these leaders and moving ahead with the conversations.
- Pastor Joseph W. Tolton, The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries
- Sharon Lettman-Hicks, National Black Justice Coalition
- Rev. Candy Holmes, Metropolitan Community Churches
- Rev. Cedric Harmon, Many Voices
- Rev. Dennis Wiley, Covenant Baptist Church
- Pastors, clergy and community activists of Global Justice Institute, Unity Fellowship Church Movement and The Freedom Center for Social Justice.
President Barack Obama's recent affirmation of marriage for same-gender couples has sparked a nationwide dialogue. Black faith and community leaders feel the urgency to get in front of the dialogue and fight any conservative tactics to "divide and conquer." "The campaign will frame President Obama's personal position on marriage equality as a call to fairness and justice guided by his faith and political sensibilities," says Pastor Joseph W. Tolton of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries.
The campaign will strategically focus on educating voters on the strategy of organizations such as the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which has intentionally targeted African Americans in the interest of fracturing the progressive base on the single issue of marriage equality. Black voters are urged to remain engaged through the election and to be aware of these "wedge" tactics that are geared towards community members. Recently, NOM's ill tactics were publicized and brought to the fore by the Human Rights Campaign, who then partnered with GLAAD in the effort to elevate the national dialogue.
"We must not--we will not--let our differences divide and weaken us. Earning a living, providing for the people we love, and being safe in our communities are basic human needs and all of our priorities. So let us own our collective power and stand in solidarity. As my (s)hero and political pioneer Barbara Jordan once said, 'One thing is clear to me: we, as human beings, must be willing to accept people who are different from ourselves,'" states Sharon Lettman-Hicks, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition.
The growing support of Black faith leaders, activists and public figures who also support President Obama's position on marriage equality continues to grow. After Obama's recent affirming announcement, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, the NAACP, Will Smith and Jay-Z have all voiced their support. In an interview with CNN, Jay-Z referred to Obama's decision as "the right thing to do as a human being," he went on to say, "It's discrimination, plain and simple."
In a press release through the National Action Network, Rev. Sharpton delivers unwavering support: "I am prepared to fight, as I have since 2003 in the faith community, about the rightness of the position that the President has now taken."
The "NoWedge 2012: A Memo to Black America" campaign will drive community members to NoWedge2012.com to expand the conversation among African Americans, the LGBT community and those living at the intersection. This campaign aims to be a catalyst for voter participation in the 2012 election cycle as alliances are created across faith, race, orientation and gender identity.
The NoWedge 2012 campaign focuses on educating voters on the strategy of organizations such as National Organization for Marriage, that have tried to fracture the progressive base of African Americans by using marriage equality and "wedge" tactics. NoWedge stands united for progressive values that are holistically beneficial for Black America. It is paramount that Black Americans get the facts and are well informed as the media has made much noise about the Black communities resistance to gay rights framed as civil rights particularly within the dominant Black church. For more information, please visit www.nowedge2012.com.
The LGBTQ health journal OMNIBUS being produced by The Living Affected Corporation as apart of HRSA's Healthy 20/20 initiative is in production and is tentatively slated for a mid-June release. Another first of its kind for Arkansas, the journal will explore health dilemmas and challenges beyond the realm of HIV and AIDS and the impact of navigating the health care system for gays and lesbians. The thrust of the periodical involved gathering material and source content from a wide array of contributors including both clinicians and end users. According to the organization, many within the LGBTQ community cite that some providers are "culturally" deficient and additional sensitivity training plus general awareness could be improved. The journal is the latest publishing effort of the group which focuses on addressing social determinants around the organizations "H.E.F.T.E.," ( housing, education, food, treatment and education) concept in dealing with crafting and distributing healthy sexual messages as prevention intervention in marginalized communities. Additonal editions are being planned to continue to discover barriers and improvements from a gay and and lesbian perspective. For more information and advertising opportunities in future issues contact; firstname.lastname@example.org