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Today: Black And LGBT Congressional Staff Meet With Progressives On Marriage

by Tanya Domi on June 22, 2012

in Civil Rights,Marriage,News,Politics,Tanya Domi

Post image for Today: Black And LGBT Congressional Staff Meet With Progressives On Marriage

An historic conversation is taking place today on Capitol Hill, bringing African-American Congressional staff and LGBT Congressional staff and advocates together with progressive leaders to discuss marriage equality and beyond


An historic pride event is taking place on Capitol Hill this afternoon. The first gathering of the Congressional Black Associates and the LGBT Congressional Staff Association in partnership with the FIRE Initiative of the Center for American Progress (CAP), and they’re all coming together to discuss “Invisible Lives: conversations on the experiences, struggles and triumphs of Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Americans.”

A stellar lineup of moderators and speakers include: Jonathan Capehart, The Washington Post, Hilary Shelton, NAACP, Darlene Nipper and Stacey Long, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, Dorian Warren, Columbia University professor and Roosevelt Institute fellow, Sharon Lettman-Hicks, National Black Justice Coalition and Pastor Delman Coates, Mt. Ennon Baptist Church among others.

Aisha Moodie-Mills, director of CAP’s Fighting Injustice to Reach Equality is one of the lead organizers of the day’s events, told the New Civil Rights Movement earlier today that “this is the first time [Congressional] black staffers have engaged on LGBT issues, which is exciting.  [By participating] they are expanding the dialogue in the black community.”

The Congressional Black Caucus has not formally endorsed marriage equality to date, but it has one of the most progressive voting records in support of LGBT civil rights on Capitol Hill.

The panel discussion lineup follows:

12:30 p.m.
Marriage Equality

Why is marriage equality important to the Black community?

Michael Crawford, Freedom to Marry

Danielle Moodie-Mills, LGBT Policy & Racial Justice at the Center for American Progress

Hilary Shelton, NAACP Washington Bureau Director and Senior Vice President for Advocacy
Scott Simpson, Gumbinner & Davies Communications
Moderated by: Jonathan Capehart, MSNBC Contributor,Washington Post Editorialist

1:15 p.m.
Beyond Marriage
What current laws and policies hinder LGBT people and their families from receiving equal treatment?
Heather Sawyer, House Judiciary Committee
Stacey Long, National Gay & Lesbian Taskforce
Aisha Moodie-Mills, FIRE initiative at Center for American Progress
Moderated by: Michael J. Brewer, Congressional Black Associates

2:00 p.m.

Expanding the Dialogue
How do we build an affirming community for LGBT people of color?
Terra Moore, Center of Excellence for Transgender Health’s National Advisory Board Member
Sharon Lettman-Hicks, National Black Justice Coalition
Pastor Delman Coates, Mt. Ennon Baptist Church
Keli Goff, Author & Political Analyst
Moderated by: Dorian Warren, Columbia University, Roosevelt Institute fellow, MSNBC Contributor

The New Civil Rights Movement plans to circle back and talk to participants about what was accomplished and potential follow-up from today’s gathering. But no doubt, President Obama’s personal endorsement of marriage equality earlier this month has created political opening and support within the African-American community for unprecedented engagement on LGBT issues.

Gay flag image courtesy of Wikipedia.


Tanya L. Domi is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University who teaches human rights in East Central Europe and former Yugoslavia.  She is a Harriman Institute affiliated faculty member. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi was a nationally recognized LGBT civil rights activist who worked for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force during the campaign to lift the military ban in the early 1990s. Domi has also worked internationally in a dozen countries on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights, gender issues and media freedom.  She is chair of the board of directors for GetEQUAL. She is currently writing a book about the emerging LGBT human rights movement in the Western Balkans.

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