NBJC Give Props to Essence for Telling Black LGBT Story

Essence Magazine’s March issue will feature a 4-page spread on the story of a black LGBT woman who has served in our armed forces under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. This letter from the Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, really gets to the heart of what a significant gesture of embrace this is toward the black LGBT community.

It is only when we love each other that the love within us is “brought to completion” and that the bonds within our community are strengthened. Essence has demonstrated a willingness to use its ubiquitous presence in the African American community to say, “This Black woman is battling discrimination on her job that is so bad, that she has to hide her identity or lose everything she’s worked so hard to build.” Like our ancestors migrating to freedom using the North Star as a guide, she stepped out on faith and dared to tell her story to the greater community. If our people can drum up the courage to reach out for help, then we must assuredly greet them where they are and offer a beacon of hope to guide them toward the principles of freedom in an open and more inclusive society. As we continue on this path, we must keep in mind that, one day, our children will hold us accountable and say that—at this point in time—our people and our movement got it right.