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
I applaud Mayor Bottoms’ decision to end the City of Atlanta’s contract with U.S.
“Today, on the 53rd anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) by President Lyndon Johnson, we celebrate a milestone in American history. With the stroke of a pen, millions of Americans were ushered into the democratic process. In 1964 in Holmes County, Mississippi, there were only twelve black registered voters. By 1965, there were 28,500, and by 1984 there were 406,000.
The results of the ACLU’s test of Amazon’s “Rekognition” software are deeply troubling. As a society, we need technology to help resolve human problems, not to add to the mountain of injustices presently facing of people of color in this country.
Black and brown people are already unjustly targeted through a discriminatory sentencing system that has led to mass incarceration and devastated millions of families. The poor are already ensnared by the complications of a judiciary that leads the innocent to plead guilty because they can find no other way out.
WASHINGTON – Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) made the following statement today upon introduction of the Higher Education Dream Act (H.R.6525), his bill to prohibit discrimination against Dreamer students in higher education.
“Young people are our nation’s future, and we must allow them every chance to succeed. The Higher Education Dream Act will ensure our colleges and universities reflect the United States’ commitment to justice and equality.
I want to thank my friend, the Gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern) for yielding.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to oppose this rule and to support the previous question.
In a democracy, the right to vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have. Many people marched and protested for the right to vote. Some gave a little blood, and others lost their lives.
WASHINGTON – Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) made the following statement in response to the administration’s executive order issued today that authorizes the indefinite detention of children in violation of decades of Federal child welfare law:
“Make no mistake: Today’s executive order fails to address or end this moral crisis. It merely replaces the unacceptable evil of family separation with the unacceptable evil of child detention.
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. John Lewis issued the below statement following the Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision in one of the most closely watched cases of the term, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission:
“I was disappointed when I heard of the Supreme Court’s decision on Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The fight for LGBT rights did not end with marriage equality, and it will not end with yesterday’s decision.
WASHINGTON — Today during the House Ways and Means Committee markup of H.R. 1, the House Republican tax cut bill, Reps. John Lewis (GA), Ron Kind (WI), Judy Chu (CA), Suzan K. DelBene (WA), Lloyd Doggett (TX), Brian Higgins (NY), Danny K. Davis (IL), and Earl Blumenauer (OR) offered an amendment to restore the “Johnson Amendment”.
This simple amendment would restore the 53-year standard that prohibits religious, nonprofit, charitable, and related organizations from engaging in political activities.
“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.