Describing itself as “a coalition of like-minded organizations working across America to bring the values of diversity, inclusion, and social justice to our schools, workplaces, and communities,” the National Federation for Just Communities (NFJC) was founded in 2006. It is headquartered in Detroit, and is composed of fifteen member groups in thirteen U.S. states.
Proceeding from the premise that the United States is a racist country, the Federation’s overarching objective is to help foster a nationwide “transformational change” that erases discrimination against the members of certain demographic groups because of their “ability, age, economic and social class, gender, gender identity/expression, immigration status, race, religion, and sexual orientation.” Toward that end, NFJC hosts a variety of diversity training programs designed to help individuals – particularly whites – “reduce” the degree to which they view nonwhite minorities through a prism of “stereotypes, “biases,” and “prejudice.”
NFJC adheres to the philosophy of “intersectionality.” Coined by Columbia University law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, this term refers to a framework that conceptualizes each member of an allegedly oppressed minority group as a victim of multiple discriminations and disadvantages, depending upon how many of their identity markers – race (nonwhite), ethnicity (nonwhite), class (low-income), gender identity (non-male), sexual orientation (non-heterosexual), religion (non-Christian), and immigration status (non-citizen or illegal alien) – overlap or “intersect.”
Every September, NFJC’s Buffalo, New York affiliate – the NFJC of Western New York – hosts an annual “Dash for Diversity.” This fundraising event features individual races, relay races, and other activities designed to “celebrate” the many different demographic groups represented among the residents of that region.
NFJC of Western New York also administers a “First Time/Last Time Program” which aims to provide alternatives to incarceration for local sixteen-to-twenty-one-year-olds who have been arrested for criminal behavior. Specifically, this initiative helps young people access psychological counseling, admittance to shelters or drug- and alcohol-treatment programs, and assistance with educational and vocational programs.
Another noteworthy member of the NFJC coalition is Just Communities Central Coast, which was one of the Federation’s founding organizations.