BOSTON - Darnell Williams, President of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts and Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, a Washington D.C.-based advocacy organization working on behalf of Black LGBTQ people, will participate in a rare public forum exploring race and homophobia.
The Feb. 19 event, titled "Aren’t I Black Too? Embracing LGBTQ Individuals in the Journey Towards Racial Unity" will explore what it means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer in black communities and will feature heterosexual leaders from communities of color, as well as LGBTQ individuals.
"This is an important conversation for our community to be having," said Williams. "From the high rates of HIV infection in Black men and women, to the ongoing debate about marriage equality, it is important that Black communities come together to recognize differences and begin to explore solutions."
Williams will serve as a guest panelist for the event which will also include Rev. Michael Walker, minister of Messiah Baptist Church in Brockton; Ben Perkins, Project Director of The Fenway Institute; and Mandy Carter, a longtime LGBTQ activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Kim Parker, an educator in Newton Public Schools. Lettman-Hicks will deliver the keynote address.
"From the high rates of HIV infection in Black men and women, to the ongoing debate about marriage equality, it is important that Black communities come together to recognize differences and begin to explore solutions."
"We want to encourage dialogue around some of the issues that divide us even though we all come from communities of color, which should help in uniting us," said Corey Yarbrough, Executive Director of the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition.
The forum takes place Saturday, Feb. 19 from 2 to 4 p.m. at First Church in Roxbury, 10 Putnam St., Roxbury. Free. The event will be hosted by the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition and sponsored by the Multicultural AIDS Coalition, MassEquality, Boston Branch NAACP and Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts.