February 1 began the celebration of Black History Month in recognition of the contributions, sacrifices, and achievements of African Americans in the United States and around the world. To help celebrate the powerful impact of Black History Month, Association Headquarters will be highlighting organizations that are an integral part of the Black community’s continued fight against inequality.
Continuing Historic Ties
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is a pillar of American Black history, assisting in the dismantlement of oppressive systems designed to undermine the Black community. Founded in 1909, the NAACP fights for Black equality through litigation, education, and lobbying. A historic example of their efforts was their immense support given during Brown vs. Board of Education (1954), which, in a landmark decision, ruled racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional.
Today, the NAACP continues to work for the advancement of the Black community at large, especially in matters of voter legislation, police brutality, and general support for those in need.
Derrick Johnson, the current NAACP President, and CEO, formerly served as the Vice-Chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors and is a longstanding member of the association. As a frontline activist, Johnson has fought against some of the most persistent civil rights injustices of the 21st century. His history is rooted in the American South, where he served as President of the NAACP Mississippi state chapter and was appointed as the Chair of the Governor’s Commission for Recovery, Rebuilding, and Renewal after his humanitarian work during the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
Through Johnson’s leadership, the NAACP is undergoing a “period of re-envisioning and reinvigoration,” in further support of the Black community and their fight for civil rights.
A Strong Presence in Civil Rights
The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) was established in 2003 in challenge of US government officials attempting to amend the Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage. NBJC was founded by eight civil rights leaders: Keith Boykin, Mandy Carter, Jasmyne Cannick, Donna Payne, Frank Leon Roberts, Sonya Shields, Roddrick Colvin, and Maurice Franklin. The group established NBJC to advocate for the needs of the African American LGBTQ+ community in the US.
NBJC has run several campaigns — Emerging Leaders Initiative; Black, Trans, and Proud; and OUT on the Hill, to name a few — to empower Black LGBTQ+ community members. Most recently, the coalition created a toolkit to address the impact of HIV/AIDS for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
David J. Johns, current Executive Director (ED) of the NBJC, began his tenure in September 2017, after serving in the White House under President Barack Obama.
In 2013, Johns was appointed as the first ED of the Educational Excellence for African Americans (Initiative). This initiative spanned across federal agencies and nationwide communities to improve development of education and workplace planning among African American students of all ages. With his deep history in government and politics, Johns’ advocacy and support for Black LGBTQ+ people is long-running and will continue under his leadership.
About Black History Month
*NAACP and NBJC are not AH Client Partners