Dorothy Height: a civil rights heroine, educator and social activist ; She was a woman who had her finger print on all things American and as the President said,” deserves a place in our history”. 3/24/1912 – 4/20/2010
first posted 4/22/2011
Rights Act decision and Trayvon Martin case have galvanized many
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gestures during his “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963. Some at the National Urban League conference have called for another such march in the wake of the Trayvon Martin verdict and the Supreme Court’s decision on the Voting Rights Act.
PHILADELPHIA – The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington was intended to be a look back on the historic march of 1963 and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech during the height of the civil rights movement.
But the recent Supreme Court decision that struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act coupled with the “not guilty” verdict in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin has lent new urgency and more participants to the anniversary event, according to groups involved.
In Philadelphia, where the National Urban League is holding its annual conference on Thursday and Friday, president Marc Morial says that both the conference and march have changed in focus and in tenor because of “what’s happened in the last 30 days.”
“The Voting Rights Act decision [and] the Trayvon Martin tragedy [have] created a different mood among the people who are here. It’s a different kind of focus in their hearts and minds,” he says. “It’s a different enthusiasm.”
Some of that emotion, he says, has shown itself in the form of renewed distrust in the criminal justice system. Several panels at the conference also expressed frustration with the Supreme Court. And in a speech at the conference Thursday morning, Barbara Arnwine, executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, was greeted by frustrated cheers when she told the crowd she’d better see them at the 50th anniversary march next month.
But Morial hopes those frustrations can be channeled into calls for action at the march: for a congressional fix to the Voting Rights Act, a hard look at the criminal justice system after the Trayvon Martin case and a plan for dealing with the lack of employment in minority communities.
The National Urban League is just one of some two dozen civil and human rights groups involved in the event. Five participating groups took part in the original 1963 march, but many more are new, including Rev. Al Sharpton‘s National Action Network, which has 40 chapters across the country, the National Council of Churches, which includes 100,000 local congregations, and the National Park Service.
“There were 250,000 people in 1963,” says Morial. “It remains to be seen this time… [But] these recent events have been encouragement for more people to attend.”
Last year, the Seattle City Council voted 8-1 to enact legislation that mandates paid sick leave for employers with five or more employees. This ordinance, which applies to all employees who perform more than 240 hours of work in Seattle within a calendar year, takes effect on September 1, 2012.
The City of Seattle‘s Office for Civil Rights will enforce the new law, and has proposed administrative rules that cover aspects of implementation such as how sick time will accrue, notice requirements for employers, notice requirements for employees, and employee documentation.
The Seattle Metro Chamber, along with the Northwest Grocery Association and the Northwest Grocery Association, expressed several concerns upon the bill’s passage. The Chamber encourages you to share your thoughts about these proposed rules with City of Seattle officials to ensure that employer input is appropriately represented during this important time.
What you can do :
Comment online or call (206) 684-4507 to share your thoughts. The Office for Civil Rights is accepting public comment through April 30.
If we win this, it will be a victory years in the making – but make no mistake about it: this is not a done deal and the threat of a filibuster from Sen. John McCain looms large.
Because of Sen. McCain’s pledge to block the vote from even happening, now is the time for every single person who supports the repeal to speak out.
Swing senators are making up their minds as we speak. But it’s just as important that lawmakers who are already on our side hear from us so they know they have the political support to go to the mat on this issue. This is a 100-senator strategy, and we need your help to make it work.
Then forward this email to ten friends.
Though public opinion and top military leaders are with us, repeal is absolutely not a sure thing.
The right wing is making hysterical claims that allowing lesbians and gays to serve openly in the military will increase sexual assault and “undermine the religious liberties” of military chaplains. They are mobilizing their activists and putting intense pressure on senators.
And because John McCain and his cronies have threatened to filibuster the bill, the hurdle is even higher – we’ll need 60 votes to succeed.
So many times in the past, when we’ve been on the doorstep of progress – on hate crimes, on employment non-discrimination, on marriage equality – they have had a trick up their sleeves. Whether it’s last-minute legislative maneuvers or “poison-pill” amendments, they can and will do everything in their power to derail progress.
That’s why we need your voice more than ever. Will you take a moment to email the Senate?
After you take action, please forward this email to ten friends.
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is a travesty, plain and simple. It doesn’t just violate basic principles of fairness and equality; it undermines our national security. At a time when we are fighting two wars, America can’t afford to be turning away soldiers, translators, analysts, engineers, doctors, or officers…
We’re on the precipice of a history-making moment, a landmark in the struggle for civil rights. So much is riding on this vote. Thank you for your unflagging support.