When Benjamin Jealous, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), visited Manhattan’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community Center last week, he also made history. It was the first time in history that the organization’s sitting presidents visited an LGBT center.
It’s part of an outreach effort to promote the “One Nation Working Together” march in Washington D.C. on October 2. Last year, the NAACP advocated against Proposition 8 and, in July, rolled out an LGBT Equality Taskforce at its annual convention.
In its story, The Root attributes this increased solidarity with the LGBT community to Jealous’ personal experience (he has a brother who’s gay) and his age, with younger African Americans favoring gay rights more than older members of the community.
In addition, studies also show that LGBT members of the Black community are more severely impacted by the lack of unity. The “One Nation Working Together” march will focus on jobs, an area where a large swath of the population is feeling the pain in this economy.
“The person who stands in my position needs to be prepared to stand up for the civil rights of everybody,” Jealous is quoted on The Root. “And it’s now my job to make sure there are no second-class citizens in this economy.”