Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
Over the last several decades, Congress has addressed some of our most pressing civil rights concerns by passing bipartisan legislation that protects American workers from discrimination on the basis of color, race, religion, age, disability and sex. Our civil rights laws have strengthened our country, and brought us closer to the Beloved Community where all people are able to succeed based on their abilities, not on the labels used to limit them.
We have taken some stumbles backward in recent years. The Supreme Court has weakened some of these basic protections in ways that Congress never intended. They have undermined the protections for workers, for older Americans, for the disabled, for racial and ethnic minorities, for women and for those in the military. We must work together to restore those rights.
But we have also taken some wonderful steps forward recently with the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, repealing the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy, all of which I was happy to vote for.
The struggle for civil rights and human rights is bigger than one law, one vote, or one judicial decision. It’s beyond one presidential term or act of Congress. Ours is the struggle of a lifetime, and each generation, each citizen, each president and each member of Congress must do his or her part. It has always required ordinary men and women with extraordinary vision, who have helped build this democracy. Together all of our efforts comprise the struggle of a nation to build the Beloved Community, a nation at peace with itself, that respects the worth and dignity of each and every human being.
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“I have fought too long and hard to end discrimination based on race and color to allow discrimination based on gender identity to be considered acceptable.
“This mean, misguided policy takes us back to another place, a darker time. How is it acceptable to target those who love our country so much that they put their bodies and livelihood on the lines for its defense? This is a sad and dark day.
WASHINGTON – Rep. John Lewis will use these prepared remarks today at the SPEAKOUT rally on the East Lawn of the U.S. Capitol at 10:30 AM. He joins other members of the Democratic leadership, other colleagues, and activists in an effort to persuade this Congress to repair the Voting Rights Act. Hailed as the most effective voting access tool this nation has ever employed, the heart of the act—the formula used to apply its power to state electoral systems—was gutted by an ill-conceived U.S. Supreme Court decision. Congress has the ability to repair what was damaged.
Rep. John Lewis made this statement today on his bill H.R. 267, The Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Park Act of 2017. The bill expands the physical area of the park to include the Prince Hall Mason Lodge, and upgrades the King historic district to a national park, the highest designation within the National Park Service, offering it the maximum support and sustenance the NPS can offer any site. Rep. Lewis made this statement in support of the act (video link):
WASHINGTON—In response to tensions surrounding immigration during the election season in the Netherlands, Rep.
Yesterday’s evening news reported that 75 to 100 gravesites were desecrated this past weekend at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia. This followed a recent incident where 170 headstones were knocked off their foundations, cracked and damaged at another Jewish cemetery in Missouri.
WASHINGTON-- On Saturday December 10th in its final session of the 114th Congress, the Senate passed the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act of 2016 (S.2854/H.R.5067). In the Senate the bill was led by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO). In the House, original sponsors were Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), and Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI).
Today, Rep. John Lewis made comments about the series of shootings American communities have faced in recent days, including the horrific murder of police officers in Dallas. This statement is based on the comments he made during a Congressional Black Caucus press conference today.
Like so many Americans, I had a chance to view the murder of Alton Sterling on video. I am not an expert, but to me, it looked like an execution. I cannot understand why any citizen who is complying with police commands should need to fear for his life and then be murdered. The lives of his wife and children are shattered. How can they ever be repaired?
Reps. John Lewis (GA-05) led members of Congress to register their complaints about recent mass raids and deportations by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted under the name Operation Border Guardian. Reps. Lewis, G. K. Butterfield (NC-01), Hank Johnson (GA-04), and Alma S. Adams (NC-12) shared their deep concerns in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released today.
On Tuesday, a bipartisan, bicameral coalition introduced the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act of 2016. The House bill (H.R.5067) is led by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI). The Senate companion (S.2854) was introduced by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Sen.