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—Rep. John Lewis celebrated with opponents of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) legislation after the U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. The decision is a vindication of a position Rep. Lewis has long held and adamantly express about the unfairness of the act.
“I am deeply disturbed by what I have heard surrounding the broad capture of Associated Press journalist phone records by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I realize that we are entering into a very difficult era of cybercrime and terrorism and that we must use new methods to protect the national security of this nation that could require more intrusion than citizens have been accustomed to in the past.
ATLANTA-Tomorrow at the culmination of a series of programs hosted by Georgia Institute of Technology, Rep. John Lewis will receive the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage. The ceremonies will take place on the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.—April 4, 1968. Lewis will speak about the legacy of Dr. King in his speech at Georgia Tech tomorrow and discuss one of the last sermons Dr. King delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Upon learning about the death of Elwin Wilson, the former Ku Klux Klan member who beat him when the Freedom Rides stopped at a bus station in Rock Hill, South Carolina in 1961 and apologized for his actions decades later, Rep. John Lewis made this statement:
“I am very sorry to learn of Elwin Wilson’s passing. It is my prayer that he will rest in peace since he made amends to many of those he had injured. He told me he wanted to be right when he met his Maker, and I believe Elwin Wilson accomplished what he set out to do.
WASHINGTON--Today at an official ceremony in the U.S.
Comprehensive Legislation Originally Introduced By Rep. John Lewis In The House Of Representatives Would Strengthen Federal Law On Voting Rights
Rally at GA Capitol on National Voter Registration Day: Congressmen to Ensure State's Voters Ready on Election Day
ATLANTA, GA -- On September 25, 2012, National Voter Registration Day, hundreds of metro Atlanta residents will join Reps. John Lewis, David Scott and Hank Johnson along with a cross-section of Atlanta voter rights groups to make sure all eligible voters in Georgia are registered and prepared to vote this fall.
Today Rep. John Lewis participated in a panel discussion in Atlanta commemorating the 49th Anniversary of the March on Washington and honoring Atlanta’s unique civil rights legacy. As the last surviving speaker from that March, Lewis issued this statement, a revised version of an early editorial, honoring this anniversary and anticipating the 50th anniversary of the March next year:
“On August 6th, 47 years ago, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law. We must never, ever forget that people right here in this country suffered, struggled and died simply trying to register and vote. They were trying to exercise a right guaranteed to them by the Constitution but denied to them by the unjust laws and practices of local and state governments."