Civil Rights

ENDA's time is past due

A lot can change in twenty years.

In 1994, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell had just been adopted after a failed effort to end the military ban. No states were close to marriage equality. The push for a federal hate crime law covering lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans was still years away. The Supreme Court had not yet ruled the ban on “sodomy” unconstitutional. Ellen had not yet come out.

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Congress and the NRA should stand with victims of violence

October once again marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month, an opportunity to shine a light on the startling yet underreported abuse that one in four U.S. women will suffer during her lifetime.  The National Rifle Association has even released a video in which NRA News commentator Billy Johnson said of domestic violence, “we can no longer avoid this issue.”

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The seven lives of Nelson Mandela

Though he seems to have once again miraculously fought off a life-threatening infection, Nelson Mandela’s reign as one of humanity’s greatest living heroes is coming to end. And while he gallantly resists death’s tow for the moment, many are reflecting on the legacy, and the South Africa, Mandela will leave behind.

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Why citizenship is important

It is not hard to see that citizenship is the cornerstone of the American dream. We are a nation of immigrants and immigration remains one of the great strengths of this country.  To recognize the importance of citizenship to who we are as a people, September 17th marked Citizenship Day.  As Congress continues discussing comprehensive immigration reform, we are again reminded that the inclusion of a pathway to citizenship is essential to ensuring that all immigrants are able to fully contribute to our economy, workforce and communities.

What happens when immigrants are able to become citizens rather than just seeing their immigration status legalized?

The answer is simple: We will have a stronger and more integrated America.

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Failing our youth

With the recent return of the Trayvon Martin case to the news in the form of a new advertisement dramatizing the tragic killing, it seems like a good time to look back and reflect upon what this episode tells us about our country and its relationship to its youth.

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An important goal of the 1963 March on Washington remains unfulfilled

Among the great achievements of the 1963 March on Washington was the passage, less than a year later, of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which outlawed racial discrimination in public accommodations, public education, and all federally funded programs and projects.  Yet, as President Obama marks the 50th anniversary of the march with a speech on the national mall, he has the chance to take another big step toward fulfilling the march’s goals.

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Sen. Durbin ushers in new era of McCarthyism

Earlier this month, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) sent letters to hundreds of groups--charities, think tanks, trade associations, restaurants, car dealerships, and many more--requesting that they disclose their ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and their position on “stand your ground” laws for a Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee hearing on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. After similar abuses of power at the Internal Revenue Service were met with broad public condemnation earlier this year, it’s baffling that Durbin would choose to take this course of action. These strongly-worded requests, on official Senate letterhead, were a step beyond any of the IRS’s inappropriate actions, and miles outside Durbin’s responsibilities as a senator.

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Privacy is a human right

President Obama offered a tepid response on government surveillance at his August 9 news conference.

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