For Immediate Release
December 25, 2023
Contact Information

Jordan Wilhelmi

(BPRW) National Black Justice Coalition Announces Dr. David J. Johns As New CEO, Welcomes New Board Of Directors

Johns Will Continue As Executive Director While Assuming Expanded Role Of Outgoing CEO And Board Chair Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks

(Black PR Wire) WASHINGTON – Recently, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), a leading national Black LGBTQ+/same-gender loving (SGL) civil rights organization, announced Dr. David J. Johns as its new chief executive officer, effective January 2, 2024, assuming the role from outgoing CEO and Board Chair Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks, who has served and led the organization since 2009. Dr. Johns will also continue in his role as executive director.

“Dr. Johns is the right leader at the right time under today’s conditions in America. He is bold, tenacious, and unrelenting in advocating for causes of racial justice, inequality, and LGBTQ+ rights,” said Lettman-Hicks. “After recruiting him to serve as my successor as the executive director in 2017, I have had the privilege of watching him grow into a magnanimous and fierce leader among leaders. He understands the role and excels at every level of leadership. He will seamlessly step into the CEO role as he continues to serve as the executive director.”

Lettman-Hicks will officially end her tenure as the CEO/Board Chair at the end of 2023. She served as the executive director/CEO from 2009 to 2017, and then assumed the CEO/Board Chair role in 2017. Lettman-Hicks is responsible for many of NBJC’s accomplishments over the last two decades, including the creation of OUT on the Hill’s Black LGBTQ+ Leadership Summit, the 100-to-Watch Black LGBTQ+ Emerging Leaders Initiative, the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Initiative, and the Black LGBTQ+ Health and Wellness Initiative. 

“Sharon has been a champion of our mission and an active accomplice in ensuring that every member of our beautifully beloved community gets closer to freedom,” said Dr. Johns. “We’re thankful for the gift of her time, talents, and treasures and are exceedingly excited about all that’s to come.”

Johns continued,  “While progress has been made in recent years to acknowledge and address the often overlooked needs of Black LGBTQ+ people in America, life-threatening attacks and deep disparities persist. By most quality of life indicators, Black LGBTQ+/SGL people occupy the lowest rungs, and NBJC is uniquely equipped to continue solving problems, shifting conversations, and strengthening connections, enabling members of our beautifully diverse community not simply to survive, but to thrive. I celebrate our 20-year history of meaningful and measurable shifts in competence, culture, and quality of life for Black LGBTQ+/SGL people and those who benefit from our labor and love. Over the last 20 years we’ve climbed higher up the equity ladder and  I am excited about and prepared to lead NBJC into the next chapter of the story that my colleagues and I are writing as we all get closer to being free – which for me includes being safe, healthy, and treated equitably at a minimum.” 

Johns has announced a new Board of Directors as part of the transition. The new Board will see the departure of Lettman-Hicks as Board Chair, as well as Attorney Kylar Broadus as a Board Member, and welcome four new members, alongside returning Board Member Ben Crump:

  • Manassas Park (VA) Councilman Darryl Moore is the first and only openly gay Black man elected to public office in two different states: California (City Councilman in Berkeley) and Virginia (City Councilman in Manassas Park). Moore also serves on the steering committee of the NBJC Good Trouble Network.
  • Dr. Marcus Anthony Hunter is the Scott Waugh Endowed Chair in the Division of the Social Sciences, Associate professor in sociology, and Chair of the Department of African American Studies at UCLA. He is the author of Black Citymakers: How The Philadelphia Negro Changed Urban America and coauthor with Zandria F. Robinson of Chocolate Cities: The Black Map of American Life
  • Lauren Mims, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Applied Psychology at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Dr. Mims was formerly Assistant Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans during the Obama Administration and a member of the White House Council on Women and Girls, the U.S. Department of Education Policy Committee, the U.S. Department of Education Socioeconomic Diversity Working Group, and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Working Group.
  • Courtney Snowden is the founder and president of The Blueprint Strategy Group, a boutique government and public affairs shop in Washington, DC. She previously served her hometown as the Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity in Washington, DC, appointed by Mayor Muriel Bowser. Before that, she was a Principal at the Raben Group, Senior Lobbyist for the National PTA, and Federal and National Policy Manager for the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
  • Attorney Ben Crump is the founder and principal owner of Ben Crump Law and the nation’s foremost lawyer and advocate for social justice. He is listed amongst the Most Influential People of 2021 by TIME100, Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 Most Influential African Americans, The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Lawyers, and the 2014 NNPA Newsmaker of the Year, and is unofficially recognized as Black America’s Attorney General.

Source: National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC)