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Black Pridefest Group Hugely Expanding its Mission

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A group that specifically works with dozens of Black Pride events both at home and abroad is expanding its mission to include other areas of interest to the African-American LGBT community.

The International Federation of Black Prides, which formed during 1999′s D.C. Black Pride event, announced the change late last week. The newly-minted Center for Black Equity–or CBE–will now focus on other issues like healthcare, jobs and social equality.

CBE President Earl Fowlkes tells OutQ News that CBE is now the ONLY black LGBT international group around because of its affiliation with foreign Black Pride organizations. He says CBE is merely “shifting away” from its previous goals.

FOWLKES: So we have this strong network–ok, now what are we going to do with these 350,000 people who come to Black Pride every year? So we need to do something that’s really more meaningful to their everyday lives as opposed to the two or three days that the Black Pride events take place.

CBE now joins the National Black Justice Coalition as one of the few organizations catering to gay African-Americans in the U.S. The coalition launched back in 2003 right after the dissolution of the National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum. At the time, the 15-year-old organization was the ONLY national black LGBT group.

The National Black Justice Coaltion syas on its website that it assumed a leadership role because of a lack of “authentic, meaningful representation and active participation from the African American LGBT community.”

CBE’s Fowlkes says there’s some truth in that description, adding that it’s now a matter of harnessing the support that already exists. He says CBE will “step up to the plate” and work to build the community from the bottom-up.

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