On Wednesday, the National Black Justice Coalition announced that, as of the beginning of the month, David J. Johns has been named the new executive director.
The NBJC is an organization dedicated to helping those that live at the intersection of black and gay, serving the LGBTQ community and those living with HIV/AIDS.
“Growing up as a little Black boy in Inglewood, California, I did not meet or see people who showed up in the world like me — strong Black men who are equally proud about their Blackness as they are about being same gender loving (SGL),” Johns said in a statement concerning his appointment.
“I want people to see me, to know that I exist — that we, as a community, refuse to hide or check parts of who we are at the door, shrink or otherwise fail to show up in our fullness — knowing who we are and whose we are. I assume this responsibility, in part, because it’s important for me to show up for younger people the way I wish adults had shown up for me — fully, honestly and without apology.”
“During my tenure, I plan to focus deeply on the empowerment of the Black family, which includes the families we are born into as well as those we create — while honoring the opportunity to remain a central repository for advocating for and responding to the needs of Black LGBTQ/SGL individuals and communities. Critical to this work is engaging all Black people in transformative dialogues that honor the diversity of Black families and the roles that Black LGBTQ/SGL people continue to play — in both family and community — and advancing policies that ensure civil rights for Black LGBTQ/SGL people,” Johns continued.
Johns was the first executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans by President Barack H. Obama in 2013 and had previously served as a senior education and workforce development policy advisor to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.