Keynote Presentation for Lesbians of Color Symposium. Sponsored by the Hispanic Gay and Black Coalition.
March 3, 2012
Mandy Carter is an internationally known African-American lesbian social justice activist with
a 44-year movement history of social, racial and lesbigaytrans justice organizing since 1968.
Presently, Ms. Carter is involved in national organizing efforts to acknowledge, honor, and celebrate
Bayard Rustin to mark the centennial-100th of his birth in 1912. Bayard Rustin was a tireless crusader for justice, a disciple of Gandhi, a mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr. and architect of the historic 1963 March on Washington that will have its 50th Anniversary in 2013. Rustin dared to live as an openly gay man during the fiercely homophobic 1940’s, 1950’s, and 1960’s. In January 2012, Ms. Carter was inducted into the International Federation of Black Prides IFBP-Black LGBT Hall of Fame.
Raised in two orphanages and a foster home for her first 18 years as a ward of the state of New York,
Ms. Carter attributes the influences of the Quaker-based American Friends Service Committee, the former Institute for the Study of Nonviolence, and the pacifist-based War Resisters League for her sustained multi-racial, multi-issue organizing.
But, it was specifically her participation in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired 1968 Poor People’s Campaign organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) that solidified her life-time commitment to nonviolence. The Poor People’s Campaign was the last project that Dr. King
was working on before his assassination in Memphis, TN on April 4, 1968.
Mandy was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as part of the 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005 in order to recognize, make visible and celebrate the impressive and valuable, yet often invisible peace work of thousands of women around the world. And while the “1000 Women” didn’t win the Nobel Peace Prize the second pillar of the project included a book about the 1000 peace women, an interactive online platform, and traveling exhibit.
Ms. Carter helped co-found two ground breaking organizations. Southerners On New Ground (SONG) and the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC). SONG was founded in 1993 at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Creating Change Conference held in Durham, NC. SONG’s purpose is to build
progressive movement across the South by developing models of organizing that connect race, class, culture, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity. She is one of the six co-founders. She served as its Durham, North Carolina-based Executive Director from 2003-2005.
NBJC, founded in 2003, is a national civil rights organization of concerned Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people dedicated to fostering equality by ending racism and homophobia. Since 2003, NBJC has provided leadership at the intersections of mainstream civil rights groups and mainstream LGBT organizations advocating for the unique challenges and needs of the African American LGBT community that are often relegated to the sidelines.
History was made at the 100th Anniversary Convention of the NAACP when they rolled out their NAACP LGBT Equality Task Force in 2009. A new partnership of the NAACP and the NBJC, the Task Force was announced in a session of the NAACP Centennial Convention in New York. NBJC provided background research on LGBT issues such as Hate Crimes, ENDA, Safe Schools and HIV/AIDS.