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.
More on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Black-Jewish Relations Representatives John Lewis (GA-05), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Lee Zeldin (NY-01), and Will Hurd (TX-23) released the following statement condemning the murder of George Floyd and calling for an end to systematic racism in America.
"The Congressional Caucus on Black-Jewish Relations unequivocally condemns all forms of racism and violence towards the Black community.
ATLANTA — "Sixty-five years have passed, and I still remember the face of young Emmett Till. It was 1955. I was 15 years old — just a year older than him. What happened that summer in Money, Mississippi, and the months that followed — the recanted accusation, the sham trial, the dreaded verdict — shocked the country to its core. And it helped spur a series of non-violent events by everyday people who demanded better from our country.
Representative John Lewis’ (GA)
Opening Comment for the
Ways and Means Full Committee Hearing on
The Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Communities of Color
May 27, 2020
Good Afternoon. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this important and timely hearing.
WASHINGTON— Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule rolling back Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. This section, also known as the Health Care Rights Law, protects women, LGBTQ+ people, those with limited English proficiency, and individuals with disabilities from discrimination in health care and insurance coverage. Upon reviewing the rule, Congressman Lewis made the following statement:
Updated: April 28, 2020
There are options available for those who may be in need of food assistance. You may learn more about Georgia’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) here.
Today during a news conference calling attention to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Shelby v. Holder decision that “gutted” the Voting Rights Act, Rep. John Lewis made the following statement:
“I have said this before, and I will say it again. The vote is precious. It is almost sacred. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democracy.
WASHINGTON – In the United States, there are more than 400,000 children in the child welfare system. Of these foster youth, over 100,000 children eagerly await a permanent family. Unfortunately, LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in the foster care system. An estimated 30 percent of foster youth identify as LGBTQ, and they are more likely to experience poor treatment, discrimination, or violence while in care.
WASHINGTON - Rep. John Lewis (GA) is one of the co-authors of the Voter Empowerment Act, included nearly in its entirety in H.R. 1, the For the People Act adopted by the House of Representatives by a vote of 234-193.
WASHINGTON, DC – Lead sponsors Rep. John Lewis (GA-5), House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5), Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (SC-6), and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) reintroduced the Voter Empowerment Act (H.R. 1275) in the House of Representatives yesterday. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) will introduce a companion version in the Senate.