H. Alexander Robinson

Dr. King Created the Road That NBJC Travels

Filed By H. Alexander Robinson | April 04, 2008 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, The Movement
Tags: Bayard Rustin, Martin Luther King Jr., MLK, National Black Justice Coalition, NBJC

Although assassinated 40 years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream continues to live throughout America and throughout the world. As an heir and a product of Dr. King's legacy and vision, the National Black Justice Coalition strives to ensure that Kingian principles are applied in our efforts to end racism and heterosexism and gender bias.

Dr. King's focus upon non-violence in order to enact change is a focus of NBJC. Sadly, we still live in a world where we are inundated with reports of anti-gay violence against the LGBT community. For this reason NBJC's mission is to create a world where all people can live openly, honestly in all aspects of life.

Instead of fighting community violence with violence or with fiery rhetoric, NBJC's Kingian response has led us back to the source; a beloved community needing knowledge, conversation and theological understanding on topics dealing with sexuality and masculinity within a culturally relevant context.

As a result, NBJC's extensive initiatives have allowed us to broker conversations with Black church congregations across the nation, lead local and national community forums on the issue of anti-gay violence and politically lobby for legislation providing for stronger protections and prosecutions of bias crimes.

By talking openly and honestly about our differences, finding common spiritual and social ground, and creating multiple solutions born from an area of love versus anger, NBJC has been successful in changing the hearts and minds of scores of individuals over a relative short period time of its existence.

Dr. King was a champion for racial justice. NBJC has often spoken out and partnered with other civil rights leaders to shine the light of awareness on the many inequities that exist within the American legal system from disparate sentencing to racial profiling to issues of employment discrimination in corporate America .

Racial justice is a core component of our work and similar to Dr. King, NBJC envisions a day where America will fully acknowledge its racist history and current institutional racism and move forward as a cohesive nation of diversity and fairness.

In his final days with us Dr. King moved the nation beyond race and ministered to us about the need to achieve economic justice as well. While America is still considered to be the greatest country in the world, we have 36 million people who live in poverty, 13 million of which are children and 47 million people who are medically uninsured.

With a similar passion, NBJC has dedicated itself to increasing the financial literacy of our constituency understanding that in addition to addressing the external factors which have conspired to create the current economic disparities faced by Black Americans, we have a personal and collective responsibility to lift as we climb.

Our vision of an empowered community is the single thread which ties together our plans for this month for NBJC's Power of Us Conference. We will have workshops focused on investing, homeownership, retirement, and many other facets of how to close the economic gap in America .

As a multi-faceted civil rights organization, NBJC seeks to always be on the forefront of cultural change, leadership and empowerment. Like our forefather, the late Bayard Rustin, the Black and openly gay lieutenant of Dr. King, we are strategic with a purpose and a vision for the future.

It was Rustin who introduced Ghandian principles to Dr. King. It was Rustin who organized the 1963 March on Washington , and it was Rustin who did not allow his sexuality to be a reason for him not to lead.

Hence the National Black Justice Coalition stands on the shoulders of giants who created a pathway for us to follow with tools and principles of significance to share with the world.

We believe there can be not better tribute to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. than to seek justice and aspire to live his dream. We miss his passionate leadership but though his timeless words, we are even today moved to action.

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Alexander, I think it's interesting that you've extended King's framework to its logical conclusion to include supporting gay rights, since MLK never actually spoke about them while he was alive. It's kind of like how people try to say Jesus was against the gays, even though he never said anything about them, either.

Great post!

Serena, thanks for the comment. I don't know that I would say that supporting gay rights is the logical conclusion of Dr. King's vision. I do agree that Dr. King's message of racial and economic justice must be fully inclusive if it is ever to be realized.

On the other hand, those who would read into Jesus message of salvation for all and his condemnation of the evils of greed as a condemnation of same gender love are not only wrong but self serving.

Again, thanks for reading the column.