With the support of thousands of people committed to equality, we’ve made great progress fighting hate and seeking justice in 2013, despite facing a historic backlash against the gains of the last 50 years – a radical attack on our country’s most fundamental ideals.
This afternoon, I had the privilege of attending the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony honoring Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley (Cynthia Diane Morris) — the four little girls who were killed in the Birmingham church bombing by Klansmen 50 years ago this month.
Forty-eight years ago, SPLC founder Morris Dees stood at the Alabama Capitol at the end of the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march and heard Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak on the importance of the vote in democracy. In his view, Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — the section that contains extra voting rights protections that apply mainly to the South — is still necessary.
Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a blow to Arizona’s anti-immigrant law and similar copycat laws that have sprung up in other states. The court’s decision affirms that much about these laws is unconstitutional because many of their provisions are preempted by federal law. The decision also shows the court has significant concerns about the one provision they allowed to stand.
The SPLC has obtained exclusive audio of an Arizona legislator mocking Latinos and other minorities with racially charged jokes at a recent roast of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio at the Western Conservative Conference.
As Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer decides this week whether to veto a bill allowing business owners to deny service to LGBT customers because of their own religious beliefs, I’m reminded of an earlier era when a similar form of discrimination was rampant.
A ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that upholds California’s ban on conversion therapy for minors, a discredited practice that claims to “cure” people of being gay, is another sign of the collapse of the conversion therapy industry.
There was a line in President Obama’s State of the Union address that particularly resonated with me: “Opportunity is who we are.” The question is whether we’ll provide that opportunity to the millions of immigrants who are living and working in the shadows in our country.
The law is touted as a way to provide “school choice,” but in reality it discriminates against many impoverished families that don’t have the means to send children to distant public schools or expensive private academies.