NAACP Election Important to LGBTQ+ Community

Op-Ed

From day one, Rev. Corine Mack has led the Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP with a progressive lens. Her election as president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP in January 2015 marked the start of an intersectional and inclusive path forward for the entrenched civil rights organization. Fast forward to today, when Rev. Mack is running for reelection. As a recently out bisexual man in Mecklenburg County, it is especially important to me that we have leaders in place who will fight with an intersectional lens for all people, not just a select few.

I met Rev. Mack while I was a gun violence prevention advocate for March For Our Lives. Our paths crossed under extremely grim circumstances as the throes of gun violence impacted the University of North Carolina at Charlotte community. Mack was one of the first people to reach out and actually check on those of us at the university demanding change and an end to senseless gun violence. In the months that followed, she and I worked to implement local gun violence prevention strategies and implicit bias training in our community. I came to know a leader that wears her heart on her sleeve and fights for equality and justice with a strength I’ve seen in few others. While many see the inequities that exist for Black and Brown, LGBTQ+ and other marginalized communities as an undefeatable obstacle, Mack stands up, speaks out and fights for all of us. For me — at the time a very angry, concerned, and closeted LGBTQ+ person — Rev. Mack taught me the complexities of politics in this area and showed me what it truly means to fight for others. You see, Mack represents that which we all hope to embody: tolerance, love and a passion for justice for all people.

Long before Rev. Mack and I crossed paths, she was fighting for progressive issues that many leaders wouldn’t dare speak of. As soon as she assumed the presidency of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP, Mack took bold stances in favor of LGBTQ+ rights and vehemently opposed the ban on gay marriage that existed in North Carolina. Mack also continues to support full rights and recognition of trans people in this country. It’s not just the LGBTQ+ community that Rev. Mack fights for, though. She has consistently stood up and spoken out against discrimination of our Latinx brothers and sisters. At the end of the day, Rev. Mack selflessly fights for LGBTQ+ and Latinx people because she will always oppose the hate and bigotry that fuels discrimination in all forms.

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In addition to fighting against discrimination, Rev. Mack recognizes the obvious intersections of racial and climate justice and the need to address environmental racism. She is one of the only leaders in this community who consistently attends meetings surrounding environmental and climate issues and uses her platform to bring awareness to the injustice and racism that is amplified by the climate crisis. She marches with climate activists and fights for climate action so that my generation and future generations don’t have to.

One of the most incredible qualities of Rev. Mack is her dedication to using faith and activism to heal the people around her. Early in her social justice career, she served as a minister and counseled inmates in the New York prison system. Today, she centers her work around the love she has for all human beings and the need for us to rid this world of the hate that is so prevalent in our society. I truly have not met anyone more dedicated to love and healing than Corine Mack.

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We’re reaching a pivotal point in Mecklenburg County. Many of our local elected officials have failed to be the representative and inclusive leaders they promised to be on the campaign trail. The flames of hate flagrantly fanned through the Republican National Convention show how much work we truly need to do in our community. We need Rev. Corine Mack to remain the president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP. This is not the time to elect a moderate president, but to allow Rev. Mack to continue her intersectional leadership. There is no one more dedicated to fighting for LGBTQ+ and immigrant rights, racial and climate justice and the basic love and decency that every person deserves.

If you haven’t already, join the Charlotte-Mecklenburg branch of the NAACP today and get ready to cast your informed vote in the coming weeks. Particularly in the LGBTQ+ community, we cannot afford to lose a leader who will not hesitate to go to battle for us any day of the week.

To learn more about the Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP branch, visit charlottenaacp.com.

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