April’s Fools


Republican 2016ers Continue to Support Indiana’s License to Discriminate

Yesterday, a bill passed through the Arkansas legislature that is almost identical to the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that has been the focus of national backlash this week. This afternoon, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) acknowledged the part of the law that would give corporations a license to discriminate, and then said he won’t sign his state’s bill until changes are made to remove that aspect. That is certainly progress from what Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana said yesterday, but the fact that Gov. Hutchinson let a bill banning LGBT protections become law last month shows that these actions are motivated by outside pressure, not a true desire to achieve equality.

The backlash against these bills has continued from almost all sides: all four NCAA Final Four coaches just released a joint statement condemning the Indiana law. Now the Arkansas governor is backpedaling. But, tellingly, most major Republican potential 2016 candidates have defended Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s law and helped to spread misinformation about the implications of this harmful legislation. Below we compare their rhetoric in support of the legislation to the reality of the laws’ implications:

Jeb Bush:
Rhetoric: “If they actually got briefed on the law that they wouldn’t be blasting this law. I think Gov. Pence has done the right thing. Florida has a law like this. Bill Clinton signed a law like this at the federal level.”
Reality: There are several substantial differences between the Indiana and federal RFRAs, but the main distinction is that all existing RFRA laws apply only in disputes between a person or entity and a government, but Indiana’s law applies in disputes between private citizens.

Ted Cruz:
Rhetoric: “Alas, today we are facing a concerted assault on the First Amendment, on the right of every American to seek out and worship God according to the dictates of his or her conscience. Governor Pence is holding the line to protect religious liberty in the Hoosier State.”
Reality: Equality for the LGBT community is not an attack on the First Amendment. In 1993, President Clinton signed a federal Religious Freedom and Restoration Act that protects an individual’s religious liberty without giving corporations and individuals a license to discriminate.

Marco Rubio:
Rhetoric: “So no one here is saying it should be legal to deny someone service at a restaurant or a hotel because of their sexual orientation.”
Reality: That is, in fact, exactly what Indiana’s law says. By applying the law in disputes between individuals and for-profit businesses, Gov. Pence is making it legal for an individual or a business to deny someone service on the basis of their sexual orientation.

Mike Pence:
Rhetoric: “Then state-Sen. Barack Obama voted for (the Religious Freedom Restoration Act) when he was in the state senate of Illinois. The very same language.”
Reality: Pence and the many others who have argued that Indiana’s RFRA is just like the 19 other state laws are overlooking key distinctions in how the law can be applied. Under Indiana’s law, any number of private actors like employers, landlords, small businesses and large corporations could use religious justification for any number of discriminatory actions.

Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum have all supported the law as well, using the same, incorrect arguments that religious liberties are under attack and that there is no difference between this law and existing RFRAs.

BOTTOM LINE: Religious liberty is protected in the United States. The purpose of Indiana’s law, specifically, is to go beyond that and grant a license to discriminate. But not one potential Republican 2016 candidate is among the countless companies, organizations, cities, states and individuals that have come out in opposition of this harmful legislation.

Revolt …


Indiana’s Learning That Anti-LGBT Laws Are Bad For Business

The backlash against Indiana’s license to discriminate continues to build. Yesterday, we covered how Indiana’s “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA) is harmful to LGBT Indianans and bad for business. Today, Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) tried and failed to tamp down the momentum against the law. While he said that the law needed a legislative fix, he continued to obfuscate. He claimed that his state’s RFRA did not allow for discrimination against the LGBT community, while that is definitively not the case. However, Pence’s concession that the RFRA fix must explicitly say that it does not allow businesses to deny services is due in part to the maelstrom of opposition to it across the country.

Below is a list of people, organizations and businesses opposed to the law that has already grown today and will surely continue to grow:

The White House
The Big Ten
Disciples of Christ
Duke University
Indiana, DePaw and Butler Universities
NBA, WNBA, the Indiana Pacers and the Indiana Fever
San Francisco State University
USA Track & Field

Angie’s List
Cummins, Inc.
Dow AgroSciences
Eli Lilly and Company
EMC Isilon
Emmis Communications
Gap Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co.
Gen Con
Indiana University Health
Roche Diagnostics

Cities and States:
The State of Connecticut
The State of New York
The State of Washington
The District of Columbia
The City of Portland
The City of San Francisco
The City of Seattle

Celebrities and Politicians:
Hillary Clinton
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio
Charles Barkley
Ellen DeGeneres
Stephen King
Ashton Kutcher
Audra McDonald
Reggie Miller
Nick Offerman & Megan Mullally
George Takei
James Van Der Beek

Editorial Boards:
Indianapolis Star
New York Times
San Francisco Chronicle
USA Today
Washington Post

BOTTOM LINE: We should be working on the urgent issues that we all face, such as strengthening our economy and families, not on divisive issues like trying to broadening religious liberty exemptions to allow discrimination against certain groups. Those distract us from important tasks and weaken the common good.

Leila Deen, Greenpeace

greenpeaceThis is outrageous. Yesterday, the Obama administration announced a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and then followed that up by approving Shell’s climate-killing plan to drill in the Arctic.

This is a setback, but we’re not giving up. Right now, six volunteers aboard the Greenpeace ship Esperanza are tailing one of Shell’s drilling rigs across the Pacific, and across the city of Seattle, where Shell’s Arctic fleet is set to dock, concerned residents are mobilizing. And people all over the world are standing up against Shell.

If we don’t come together now, Shell WILL drill in the Arctic this summer.

Give today!
Please give today to protect our future from oil spills, climate change, and more. Help us reach $15,000 by April 15!

Donate Today

Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday ~~ repost


About Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday

About Cesar E. Chavez

About the Holiday

Get Involved

Sign The Petition

Join March 31, 2008 Actions


Contact Us

Does Your State Participate?Tell us what is going on in your city/state to honor Cesar Chavez? Click Here

Make a DonationMake check out to: Cesar E. Chavez
National HolidaySend to: Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday 3325 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 1208 Los Angeles, CA 90010

About Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday

Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday was established by Los Angeles volunteers who organized and led the effort in California that won Cesar Chavez Day, the first legal state holiday and day of service and learning in honor of farm worker leader Cesar E. Chavez.  The legal holiday bill introduced by then State Senator Richard Polanco (Los Angeles-D) was signed into law by then Governor Gray Davis (D) on August 18, 2000. The holiday is celebrated in California on Cesar E. Chavez’s birthday March 31st.  This marked the first time that a labor leader or Latino has been honored with a public legal holiday.

The California legal holiday set into motion a wave of initiatives resulting in optional and commemorative Cesar Chavez Days in nine additional states (Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Rhode Island.)

Cesar Chavez Day brings together hundreds of thousands who engage in celebrations, service and learning projects, and other actions that further the many causes which Cesar Chavez worked for.

The mission of Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday, a public benefit organization, is to work for national recognition of Cesar E. Chavez on his birthday March 31.  We are forming national, state and local coalitions; organizing volunteer committees; and providing education about the value to our nation of honoring Cesar E. Chavez.

Our Vision

Cesar Chavez gave our nation and each of us a unique example to live our lives by.  His selfless dedication for farm worker and worker rights, economic justice, civil rights, environmental justice, peace, nonviolence, empowerment of the poor and disenfranchised, is a monumental legacy that will inspire all and the generations to come. The winning of national recognition for Cesar Chavez with holidays, service, learning and community action events, is a fitting tribute and significant way to share his life’s work as the founder and leader of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW).

What is most important is that remembering and honoring Cesar Chavez inspires more people to become involved in the causes that continue Cesar Chavez’s extraordinary legacy.

Advisory Council

Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday extends our profound thanks to our advisors for their assistance that sheds light on our journey.

  • Jerry Acosta, Western Regional Director AFL-CIO
  • Richard Alarcon, Los Angeles City Council Member, former CA State Senator
  • Magdalena Beltran-del Olmo, Vice President of Communications, Wellness Foundation
  • Antonio Gonzalez, President, Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SWVREP) & William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI)
  • Michael Jensen, Jensen Communications
  • State Senator Richard Polanco (Ret.), Chairman, California Latino Caucus Institute &author of the California holiday bill for Cesar Chavez
  • Ken Riley, Vice President, International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), Vice Pres.South Carolina AFL-CIO & President ILA Local 1422 (Charleston)
  • Ken Johnson, Southern Regional Director, AFL-CIO

Partners and Founding Sponsors

Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday wishes to thank our partners and founding sponsor organizations and individuals whose support insures our journey.


Founding Sponsors

  • International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) AFL-CIO
  • International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) Coast Committee
  • Utility Workers Union of America AFL-CIO Local 132
  • Service Employees International Union Local 535 (CA)
  • Labor Council for Latin American Advancement
  • Los Angeles City Employees Chicano Association (LACECA)
  • Royce Adams
  • Evelina Alarcon
  • Hernando Martinez
  • Dan Nemmers, Web design and development
  • Manny Rico
  • Gary Ruffner, Natl. Secretary Treasurer, UWUA

If you would like to become a partner or founding sponsor, please contact: Executive Director, Evelina Alarcon: EvelinaAlarcon@cesarchavezholiday.org

Endorsers of a Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday (Partial List)

  • National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
  • League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
  • National Latino Congreso
  • National Education Association (NEA)
  • Sierra Club
  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
  • Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
  • Communication Workers of America (CWA)
  • Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA)
  • United Farm Workers of America (UFW)
  • Farm Labor Organizing Committee AFL-CIO (FLOC)
  • Los Angeles City Council
  • Philadelphia City Council
  • Board of Education of the City of Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles County Federation of Labor (CA)
  • San Francisco Central Labor Council (CA)
  • King County Central Labor Council (WA)
  • Cesar E. Chavez Foundation
  • Dolores Huerta Foundation
  • US Senator John Edwards
  • Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
  • Pastor Warren Stewart, led state holiday effort for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Arizona
  • Carlos Santana
  • Actors– Edward James Olmos, Martin Sheen, George Lopez, Mike Farrell, Ed Begley Jr., Lupe Ontiveros, Esai Morales
  • Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU)
  • Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW)
  • Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)
  • Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA)
  • Pride At Work
  • and many more!

Photos of Cesar Chavez Our sincere thanks to Oscar Castillo and Bob Fitch for the use of their photos of Cesar Chavez

If you would like to become an Endorser, contact Exec. Director Evelina Alarcon at: EvelinaAlarcon@cesarchavezholiday.org


A License To Discriminate


What You Need To Know About Indiana’s New “Religious Freedom” Law

Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) signed a law last Thursday that further enables discrimination against gay and lesbian people in the state. The so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” or RFRA, uses the guise of protecting religious liberty to enable private citizens and organizations to deny services to others if they claim that their religious views are “substantially burdened.”

The event has led to an enormous, broad-based backlash, including from a number of companies that are worried the law is bad for business. It also has led to some confused reporting from major news outlets about what the new law actually does.

Here are the four things you need to know about this license to discriminate.

1. Religious freedom is a core American value and a basic right, which is why it is already protected by the Constitution. The Indiana RFRA is an unnecessary law — one that opens a can of worms that would allow corporations and other private entities to justify discrimination against individuals that might otherwise be protected under law. Religious freedom doesn’t give us the right to harm others or force our religious beliefs on those who hold different views.

2. The new law has caused a massive wave of high-profile backlash. More than a dozen high-profile companies with presences in the state have protested the law, including major tech companies, three of the state’s major universities, the NCAA, the Indiana Pacers basketball team, and Eli Lilly and Company, the global drug giant which employs 11,000 in the state. Hillary Clinton expressed her displeasure, and celebrities from pop star Miley Cyrus to actor George Takei took to social media to slam the law.

3. The Indiana RFRA is different — and worse — than the federal RFRA and other state RFRAs. The Washington Post has written that there are other states with laws like Indiana’s, and Gov. Pence has claimed that President Obama, as an Illinois state Senator, voted for “the very same language.” But while at first glance they may appear similar, there is a significant distinction that extends the ramifications of the Indiana law beyond many others. While other RFRAs apply to disputes between a person or entity and a government, Indiana’s includes a clause that applies to disputes between private citizens or entities. What’s more, while the federal, and many state RFRAs, provide protection only if a law in question substantially burdens a person’s religious exercise, the Indiana RFRA only requires that the complainant believe their religious freedom may “likely” be violated to invoke the law’s protection.

4. Even if the Indiana RFRA is clarified, LGBT discrimination will be legal in much of Indiana and most of the U.S. As we have written about before, 29 states lack explicit sexual orientation nondiscrimination protections, and 32 states lack explicit gender identity nondiscrimination protections. That means a gay person can be legally married one day, and then legally fired based on sexual orientation or gender identity the next.

BOTTOM LINE: Rather than expand exemptions for people who don’t want to follow the law, we should be working to protect all people from discrimination and create the inclusive prosperity that helps our economy and our families. Hopefully the politicians in Indiana (and elsewhere) promoting these kinds of laws to discriminate will see that citizens are not behind them, and companies will take their business elsewhere.