Center for Black Equity

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The Center for Black Equity (known until 2012 as International Federation of Black Prides) is a coalition of Black gay pride organizers formed to promote a multinational network of LGBT/SGL (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Same Gender Loving) Prides and community-based organizations.

Founding[edit]

The Center for Black Equity (CBE) is an organization birthed from a history of pride in the LGBT community. Before its time there were celebration of LGBT pride in DC hosted by the Club House a LGBT club that was occupied main by the Black LGBT community.[1] The Club House started hosting what was called "Children's Hour", a themed party celebrated on Memorial Day. The "Children's Hour" brought members of the LGBT community together in celebration and awareness for each other. The Club House hosted this event for fifteen years before being forced to stop in 1990. Unfortunately, the Club House had to cease business due to financial problems and key members of the staff being affected by AIDS.[2]

After the Club House closed down there was a void left. Children's Hour had been a unifying celebration for the LGBT community and all of sudden it was gone. This absence inspired a group of Black queer men and women, Welmore Cook, Theodore Kirkland and Ernest Hopkins, to join together and carry out the legacy of "Children's Hour" and from there became Black Pride.[3] This continuation of Black Pride events went on for eight years, expanding to multiple cites, states, and continents. In 1999 Welmore Cook, Theodore Kirkland and Ernest Hopkins, the founders of Black Pride, decided to create a more inclusive organization that would serve as a network that would connect all Black Prides together to have unifying message that would increase their chances of visibility, outreach to prevent and educate the Black LGBT community on HIV/AIDS, and funding opportunities. They would title this organization as the International Federation of Black Pride (IFBP).[4]

This network of encompassed Black Prides from all over the world ; Albany, NY; Buffalo, NY; Rochester, NY; Boston; New York City; Newark, NJ; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Baltimore; Washington, DC; Raleigh-Durham, NC; Charlotte; Columbia, SC; Atlanta; Jacksonville; Central Florida (Tampa); Jackson, MS; Memphis; Nashville; New Orleans; St. Louis; Indianapolis; Chicago; Detroit; Twin Cities (Minneapolis); Little Rock; Dallas; Austin; Portland; Los Angeles; San Diego; Toronto, Canada; London, UK and Johannesburg, South Africa. The following Black Prides are in the IFBP membership pipeline: Columbus, OH; Oakland, CA; Gainesville, FL; Orlando; Virginia Beach and Greensboro, NC. Also, Latino Prides in New York; Boston; Portland, OR; Chicago and Washington, DC.[5]

The IFBP organization decided that their brand wasn't aligning with their mission and services that had and is still growing today. On July 28, 2012, the board of IFBP decided to change there brand from International Federation of Black Pride to Center for Black Equity (CBE).[6] This strategic move made by the IFBP allowed for more programs to be included underneath the CBE umbrella. The organization was no longer a committee dedicated to one event during the year, the organization had begun year round advocacy for social justice, HIV/AIDS awareness, and Black LGBT consciousness. Redefining IFBP to CBE allowed for all the work and programs to be included under this one organization.

As IFBP[edit]

The International Federation of Black Prides was organized during D.C. Black Pride of May 1999 by a coalition of Black Pride organizers representing Chicago, North Carolina, New York City, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, and Washington, DC. The coalition saw a need to organize the twenty plus Black Prides in the United States and abroad for the purpose of developing sponsorship strategies, providing technical assistance, networking, mentoring, and supporting one another. IFBP acquired its IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit status in November 2004.

A sponsorship plan to attract funding for member Black Pride organizations was in development as of 2012. Sponsors will have a presence at all IFBP events and will allow member organizations to grow without the consequence of overcharging Pride attendees. In addition, IFBP is working towards developing a magazine for members and respective communities.

As the CBE[edit]

In 2012, the IFBP Board of Directors voted to rebrand and restructure the organization as the Center for Black Equity. While it continues to serve as a coalition for organizers of Black LGBT pride celebrations, the CBE now branches out to promoting social justice outreach to Black LGBT populations. Earl Fowlkes, the founder and president of the IFBP since 1999, remains president as CEO of CBE. CBE now serves as a membership-supported organization supported by member organizing committees of local pride celebrations.

Importance[edit]

The Center for Black Equity serves as a beneficial tool for Black LGBT persons who deal with the duality of being black and LGBT.[7] CBE is the only organization in the world strictly focused on the Black LGBT experience. The disproportionate affect of HIV/AIDS on the black LGBT community compared to their white counterparts serves as a driving force within CBE. The Black LGBT community also face work discrimination, issues in housing opportunity, and lack of medical access more than White LGBT persons.[8]

The CBE intentionally networks with CBOs (Community Based Organizations) to reach to the Black LGBT community to do health screenings, and they assist in connecting them to care and making sure they stay in care. This support system is an integral part in the Black LGBT community that is disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, Black gay and bisexual men account for the highest number of HIV/AIDS cases in the United States.[9]

Black LGBT diagnoses of HIV is the highest for multiple reasons socioeconomic factors, smaller exclusive networks, and lack of awareness of HIV status are three major reasons that directly affect the Black community. The Black LGBT community needs an exclusive group that puts their needs at the forefront. The Center of Black Equity strives to meet the needs of the Black LGBT community not only by supporting the community, but having an organization with members who reflect the population being served.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Children's Hour · The ClubHouse, 1975-1990 · Rainbow History Project Digital Collections". rainbowhistory.omeka.net. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  2. ^ "Children's Hour · The ClubHouse, 1975-1990 · Rainbow History Project Digital Collections". rainbowhistory.omeka.net. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  3. ^ "Center for Black Equity". Center for Black Equity. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  4. ^ "Center for Black Equity". Center for Black Equity. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  5. ^ "Center for Black Equity". Center for Black Equity. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  6. ^ ""International Federation Of Black Prides" Becomes "Center For Black Equity" | National Black Justice Coalition". nbjc.org. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  7. ^ "Center for Black Equity". Center for Black Equity. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  8. ^ Director, Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks Executive; CEO; Coalition, National Black Justice (2014-03-13). "The State of Black LGBT People and Their Families". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  9. ^ "African American | Gay and Bisexual Men | HIV by Group | HIV/AIDS | CDC". www.cdc.gov. Retrieved 2016-11-30.

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