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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
July 13, 2007

LGBT group hosts gathering
at NAACP convention

Detroit--Proving the lengths they have come in just three and a half years, the National Black Justice Coalition held a reception during this year’s NAACP national convention, honoring the efforts of and for African American LGBT people in the city.

The NBJC is a national group advocating for the rights of LGBT African Americans. Their reception, featuring the inaugural presentation of the “Power of Us” Awards, brought over a hundred people out on July 10.

The keynote speaker was Charles Pugh, a news anchor on WJBK Channel 2 in Detroit. Pugh also provides stories of interest to the gay community three days a week at WJBK, and has a daily hour on WJLB 97.9 FM.

His radio show is the only time the station diverts from its all-music, hip-hop and R&B format. He was given carte blanche by the station manager to speak his mind, something that Pugh said he found very empowering.

“I mean, I’m already empowered, but he gave me permission,” he said to laughter from the crowd.

Pugh began his presentation talking about gay men and lesbians being vilified from the pulpit by some black ministers, referring first obliquely and then directly to Marvin Winans, pastor of Perfecting Life Church in Detroit. The scion of a gospel family and a former recording artist, Winans spoke out against hate crime protections for LGBT people in a recent sermon.

Pugh argued that Winans’ comments show that the pastor believes that gay people shouldn’t have those protections because they deserve violence against them, which Pugh found unacceptable.

He also discussed his history with Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who said while he was running for the office that he did not want his sons being around gay men, believing them to be poor role models.

“I’m the best role model in the city of Detroit!” Pugh all but shrieked, bringing on gales of laughter from the audience.

Kilpatrick’s earlier ignorance, however, was changed after a number of discussions with Pugh. While he said the mayor is not necessary “there” yet, Kilpatrick’s office did send a gay member of the administration to offer his congratulations to the NBJC reception.

Pugh and NBJC Executive Director H. Alexander Robinson then presented awards to the Black Pride Society, who produce the Hotter Than July festival; the Ruth Ellis Center, which serves queer homeless youth; Karibu House, a nascent community center for LGBT people of color; the statewide groups Triangle Foundation and Michigan Equality; the alorde Collective, a group promoting the health of African American lesbians; the Positive Dialogue Group a social and support group for men; Unity Fellowship Detroit, an open church, and the city’s oldest LGBT congregation, and Full Truth Fellowship Church, which also has a congregation in Cincinnati.



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