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Groups hope to boost gay black political leadership

Mon, Feb 25th 2008, 16:29
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Conference of Black Political Scientists (NCOBPS) and the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute (GLLI) today jointly announced the establishment of the Bayard Rustin Award. The award honors outstanding contributions to the field of political science on the topic of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender African-Americans in electoral politics.  NCOBPS will administer a cash prize to the award’s recipient, to be presented at the group’s annual conference in 2009.

Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of GLLI, said he hoped the award would foster research that could lead to more openly gay African-Americans seeking leadership roles in their communities.  “More than 400 openly gay officials are serving their communities across America, but just a handful are African-American.  We hope to change that.  The strength of our democracy depends on leadership that reflects all Americans,” Wolfe said.

Dr. Desiree Selma Pedescleaux, president of NCOBPS, stated that the work of political scientists is vital to equalizing governmental representation:  “Acquiring quality data is always the first step in solving complex issues.  We hope this award leads to scholarship that helps the African-American LGBT community realize its leadership potential in electoral politics.”

The award is named after Bayard Rustin, the openly gay, African-American civil rights pioneer who organized the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, at which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.  Rustin was an influential organizer and adviser to Dr. King, and is said to have counseled King on non-violent resistance.  In his later years, Rustin advocated for gay and lesbian rights.

GLLI is a non-partisan, non-profit training and executive development organization aimed at equipping openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender leaders for success.  Each year GLLI trains hundreds of elected and appointed officials and community leaders.  The group will conduct one of its renowned Candidate and Campaign Trainings specifically for candidates of color April 24-27 in Baltimore, Maryland.

NCOBPS is a professional organization, with a membership of more than 300 political science faculty, students, elected politicians, and policy analysts. Formed in 1969 at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, its members are committed to the study and practice of black politics, both here and abroad.

The award is named after Bayard Rustin, the openly gay, African-American civil rights pioneer who organized the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, at which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.  Rustin was an influential organizer and adviser to Dr. King, and is said to have counseled King on non-violent resistance.  In his later years, Rustin advocated for gay and lesbian rights.

GLLI is a non-partisan, non-profit training and executive development organization aimed at equipping openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender leaders for success.  Each year GLLI trains hundreds of elected and appointed officials and community leaders.  The group will conduct one of its renowned Candidate and Campaign Trainings specifically for candidates of color April 24-27 in Baltimore, Maryland.

NCOBPS is a professional organization, with a membership of more than 300 political science faculty, students, elected politicians, and policy analysts. Formed in 1969 at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, its members are committed to the study and practice of black politics, both here and abroad.

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