Longtime Activist Cleo Manago Selected by Minister Farrakhan as Voice of Black "Gay" Community

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History Made As Same-Gender-Loving Community is Embraced at HIstoric Millions More Movement

For the past two decades Cleo Manago has campaigned on behalf of the same-gender-loving (SGL), gay/lesbian-identified and bisexual members of the Black community and community at-large. As founder and CEO of the Los Angeles based AmASSI Health & Cultural Centers in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta and South Africa, and founder of Black Men’s Xchange (BMX), his efforts have been heralded internationally.

Manago’s stance regarding cultural affirmation, self imaging and community dialogue are only a few of the key components he has successively purported to positively impact a change in society’s awareness and acceptance of the Black SGL community.

This year’s “Millions More Movement (MMM)’ rally, held October 15, 2005, on the National Mall in Washington D.C, was perhaps Manago’s greatest moment to date however. Before a crowd of thousands, and recorded live on C-SPAN, Manago had the honor of addressing the world community as a same-gender-loving man of African descent. Invited by Minister Louis Farrakhan, in an effort to be more inclusive of homosexual representation at this historic affair, Manago set a precedent with a speech that was defining, unifying and essential.

Discussing the importance of acknowledging and affirming SGL and bisexual folks as part of the healing necessary for the Black family, Manago stated, “As we plan for the political and economic strengthening of our communities, so that the framework is not vulnerable to inter-group conflict, we have to take care of our people. Because, movements are made up of people. Parallel to the Minister’s brilliant MMM plan, I suggest that there be mental health and restoration intervention for Black people. Because many of us need it. We need cultural affirmation courses. Because many of us do not know who we are. We need healing opportunities particular to the Black experience that explicitly acknowledge our diversity, which would include same-gender-loving Sisters and Brothers, non-religious folks, powerful women, people who are differently-abled physically, and others loyal to the Black unity, life and success.”

Upon leaving the platform, Manago received rousing applause and support, also echoed throughout the remainder of the day.

"The Nation of Islam is to be heralded and applauded for including our community on this great day,” Manago assesses. “It is shameful that there are false leaders being appointed to the SGL community that are attempting to dilute the power behind that event with untrue messages about non-inclusion on that day. Keith Boykin for instance, has spread lies in the media to dilute unity in our communities. But rest assured, the Millions More Movement will not be stopped, diluted or deterred. This is history in the making.”

For more information about on Cleo Manago go to http://www.AmASSI.com and http://www.BMXNY.org    

Note to Media: Cleo Manago is available for interview.

Copies of Manago’s full Million More March speech are available upon request.


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Makeda Smith
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