Simone Bell Joins Alex Wan as Newly Elected LGBT Lawmakers
NBJC congratulates Simone Bell on her historic victory as she becomes the first Black lesbian state representative in the country. Ms. Bell won a runoff in yesterday’s Georgia election to represent District 58 covering the Atlanta area and will be the second openly LGBT member of the Georgia State House of Representatives, following Representative Karla Drenner. Atlanta voters also elected Alex Wan as the City Council’s first gay man, and first Asian American, on Tuesday. Wan will represent City Council District 6.
“We all celebrate this victory with Representative-elect Bell,” said NBJC Executive Director Sharon J. Lettman. “We recognize all the hard work that goes into running for public office and commend Bell for being a shining example of leadership for everyone in the LGBT community.”
Ms. Bell has been a community advocate and activist for over twenty years, working on issues such as workplace equality, access to affordable health care, fighting HIV/AIDS discrimination and stigma, and women’s rights. NBJC recognizes these accomplishments and salutes her stellar track record as it will serve her well in the Georgia State House.
NBJC Deputy Executive Director and Connecticut State Representative Jason Bartlett stated, “I am elated that Simone Bell has won her race. Her victory is significant to all of us who are Black and gay. I look forward to working with her towards influencing our colleagues across the country to be more affirming on issues that affect the LGBT and Black communities.”
This year’s electoral victories of Charles Pugh in Detroit, Jass Stewart in Brockton (MA) and now Simone Bell in Atlanta—all elected in heavily Black districts—portend a positive trend for African Americans who are openly LGBT being able to achieve and lead our communities in the state legislatures, city halls and elected public office. NBJC is encouraged that we are making progress towards a time when being Black and gay will not be an issue for candidates seeking public office.
The National Black Justice Coalition (www.NBJC.org) is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Its mission is to end racism and homophobia. NBJC envisions a world where all people are fully empowered to participate safely, openly and honestly in family, faith and community, regardless of race, gender-identity, or sexual orientation.