National Black Justice Coalition

Advocating for a Brighter Future: Our Views, Our Issues & Our Lives

Felecia King



Felecia King, Project Specialist

LGBT HealthLink



Blogging from the National Black Justice Coalition’s Out on the Hill Conference.

So day 2 was not as invigorating as Day 1. However, I am noticing a common arising theme, African-American LGBT people, as a group, feel under-served, misrepresented and mistreated. It was “Issue Advocacy Day”, a Legislative Briefing. We heard from quite a few panelist that were amazing, in their own ways. They spoke about their experiences as being “OUT on the Hill”

First there was Robert Eskridge, who works as a legal counsel for the House Ethics Committee and is a Black gay man. He talks about some of the adversities that he has experienced in such a place as DC, and why it’s so important to know everything (Not really everything but, being well versed, especially in your field).

Michele Jawando, Vice President of Legal Progress for Center for American Progress. Michele tells everyone the importance of voting and knowing what it is you’re voting for, know who you are placing into office, know what laws your voting for or against.

Twaun Samuels the Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Maxine Waters was also a panelist and spoke about his experience as a Gay Black man on the Hill, and he believes it did not have any effect on his career. He’s not alone in his thinking, Brandy Hall, HouseCall IT, Systems Administrator, felt that it didn’t negatively affect her career, but sometimes she has to prove herself to the people she works for.

photo 2I am also noticing that no matter where these people live, where they were raised, they are experiencing or having the same feelings of inequality. From the panel discussion they took their issues and questions to the Hill, speaking with representatives from California, New York, and a few others. The issues were raised to the representatives in hopes that things would change.

There wasn’t much time for questions but the advice given was empowering and simple at the same time. Advice like; being an example in your community and teaching the others around you, having a voice, knowing your voice, and using your voice.


Many Faces One Dream!

Felecia King

Felecia King, LGBT HealthLink

So, I wake up at 6:30am, to the sound of angry motorist, rushing through DC’s narrow streets, off to make the doughnuts, or change the idea of the doughnut, who knows. I rush to the suitcase to put my #OOTD (Outfit Of The Day, for my Hashtag junkies) together, for the 2014 Many Faces One Dream Conference hosted by The US SBA (Small Business Administration) and the NBJC (National Black Justice Coalition). I manage to come up with khaki slacks, white button up, purple and white checkered tie, brown boots, and a denim jacket. After I suit up I hit the DC streets and talk to everyone I pass by (for directions, of course) in attempts to get to the train/subway/metro.

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I finally get to the NASA Headquarters, where the first event, of many more, is taking place. The conference opens with a video, which opens with a quote from President Obama:

“We’ve got a lot of hard work that we still have to do, but we can already point to extraordinary progress that we’ve made… on behalf of Americans who are gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender.”

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Out comes Sharon Lettman-Hicks, CEO of the NBJC, as the video ends. She started with a quaint welcome alongside Eugene Cornelius Jr., Deputy Associate Administrator for Field Operations for the U.S. SBA. As I looked around the room it was filled with people who looked like me, but were from all over the country and had all different types of experiences in their LGBT communities.

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There were many representatives present Sam McClure, with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Carolyn Brown, with Black Enterprise (the magazine), Curtis Lipscomb, with KICK, and others. The convention was themed around Equity for the Black LGBT Community. Strong statements were being thrown around all day, tempers flared, but passion filled and consumed the room.

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Cornelius Jr. said, “I’m not looking for cavalry to come and save my community, I am the cavalry and we are going to save OUR community”. Bankers came in to discuss the 5C’s of credit (Character, Collateral, Capacity,Credibility and Capital) , and a huge appearance made by Maria Contreras-Sweet, the 24th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet on April 7, 2014, who taught us the nothing is impossible.

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As the day came closer to the end and we heard from the SBA, Bankers, Business Executives, Lenders, it seemed like everyone had come to a consensus that the black LGBT needed to “own their own power”, by becoming financially stable and owning their own businesses. And, this is where the big questions start to arise… How do we get the black LGBT community involved in a world that may not even exist in their minds? Is mental health an issue that we need to deal with? How do other communities manage to become so successful?

We’ll have to stay tuned to find out.


Yet another life lost to smoking

We are deeply saddened to report that Bill Busse, a Tips From Former Smokers ad participant, has passed away. The cause of death was heart disease, which is very common for smokers. Bill shared his story on the Tips From Former Smokers Campaign about the affects that smoking had on his health (made more severe by diabetes, which he had since childhood).

The CDC released a statement from Tim McAfee, Director, CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health on the passing of Bill Busse. The CDC asks that you please direct any questions and/or condolences to The CDC will make sure that your correspondence is forwarded to Bill’s family.

Bill’s health problems didn’t stop him from heroically coming forward towarn other smokers of some of the dangers they faced if they don’t quit smoking.  Nor did his health problems stop Bill from enjoying time with his kids.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bill’s wife, two children and two step-children, as well as his parents and his sister.

A tip for smokers, from the man himself; “Make a list and put the people you love at the top, put down your eyes your legs your kidneys and your heart, now cross off all the things you’re okay with losing, because you’d rather smoke.”

You can view Bill Busse’s videos here.

Pride · social media · Tobacco Policy · Uncategorized

New Tips From Former Smokers Ad Features Effects of Tobacco & HIV

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     Felecia King

    Project Specialist

   The Network for LGBT Health Equity


This week, the CDC launched the next phase of the Tips From Former Smokers Campaign, and this time they are tackling the issue of tobacco and HIV. The ad features Brian, who smoked for 30 years, and suffered a stroke as a complication of his HIV and tobacco use. (read more about Brian’s story HERE)

Smoking is especially harmful to people who are living with HIV. For example, smokers with HIV:

  • Are at higher risk than non-smokers with HIV of developing lung cancer, head and neck cancers, cervical and anal cancers, and other cancers;
  • Are more likely than non-smokers with HIV to develop bacterial pneumonia, Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP), COPD, and heart disease;
  • Are more likely than non-smokers with HIV to develop two conditions that affect the mouth: oral candidiasis (thrush) and oral hairy leukoplakia; and
  • Have a poorer response to antiretroviral therapy.
  • People with HIV who smoke are also less likely to keep to their HIV treatment plan and have a greater likelihood of developing an AIDS-defining condition and dying earlier than non-smokers with HIV.

(the above examples are from <– Click the link for more info!)

For these reasons, smoking is a significant health issue for all individuals, but it is even more of a concern for people living with HIV, who tend to smoke more than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 19% of adults in the United States are smokers. However, the smoking rate is two to three times higher among adults who are HIV-positive.




It’s Not Too Late To Get Covered!

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Felecia King
Project Specialist
The Network for LGBT Health Equity

LGBT people make up for 3.5 percent of all Americans, bringing us to about nine million people. And, one in every three LGBT people don’t have health insurance (which is more than two times higher than the national average). The many health disparities that LGBT people face, such as societal stigma, discrimination, and denial of civil/human rights, are some of the reasons that many of us lack health coverage. For example, 82 percent of uninsured LGBT people reported discrimination in the process of getting on the same plan as their partner. But, times are changing: “Have No Fear! ObamaCare is here”!

ObamaCare, technically called the “Affordable Care Act”, or the ACA, is a (QUITE controversial) law, which ensures that all Americans have access to health insurance that is, just like its title says, affordable. the ACA was signed by President Obama in March of 2010, and went into effect Jan. 1, 2014. It makes affordable care possible by offering the consumers discounts or tax credits on government-sponsored health insurance plans, and expanding the Medicaid assistance program to include more people who don’t have it in their budgets to pay for health care.

Oct. 1, 2013 marked the official launch of open enrollment of the ACA. In February alone, some 700,000 people have enrolled and since the official launch over four million people have signed up for the ACA. With the deadline around the corner it’s not too late to get enrolled. If you haven’t signed yourself up for health insurance, you still have until March 31, 2014.

It is possible to buy insurance outside of the open enrollment period (ending March 31st, 2014) if you qualify for a special extended enrollment period due to a qualifying life event (such as marriage, divorce, birth or adoption of a child, or loss of a job). People who opt out of all health coverage options will have to pay an “individual responsibility payment” (either 1% of your annual income or approx. $100/year), and will also have to pay the entire cost of all their medical care (with no government subsidies). For more information on opting out, click HERE.

The Affordable Care Act is not going to solve all the problems afflicting the health care system, and establishing care for so many previously uninsured people is bound to be complicated (and at times awkward). However, the ACA represents “one giant step for mankind”, toward addressing injustices in the health care realm, and connecting millions of Americans, including LGBT Americans, to the health care that they and their families need to live happier and healthier lives.

A study by the Center for American Progress discovered that a whopping 71% of uninsured LGBT people don’t know their options under the new healthcare act. LGBTQ people are less likely to be insured, and less likely to seek or be able to access preventative care. While the Affordable Care Act is in the beginning stages, this is the perfect opportunity to spread the word in our communities about the significantly expanded options available now, including:

  •  LGBT people and their families have equal access to coverage through the new Health Insurance Marketplaces in every state.
  •  Plans will cover a range of essential benefits such as doctor visits, hospitalizations, reproductive health, emergency-room care, and prescriptions.
  •  No one can be denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
  •  Financial help is available to pay for a health insurance plan, based on household size and income.
  •  There is family coverage that is inclusive of same-sex partners

Check out these powerful images below, and feel free to download and  share!

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get covered

part three

Health Care



Need help getting enrolled? Check out

Need additional assistance? Many LGBT Centers around the country have received funding to train and provide “certified educators” to help community members

navigate ACA enrollment…call your local LGBT Center and make an appointment with an expert!

Also Check out our previous blog post about the ACA: