This past spring, one of my friends at Hardin County High School in Savannah, Tenn. wore a T-shirt on the Day of Silence – a national observance to raise awareness of anti-gay bullying and harassment. Her shirt displayed the slogan, "Lesbian and Proud."
Last month, I stood before 300 Sikhs at a Gurdūārā in Roswell, Ga. I stood there representing the Southern Poverty Law Center as part of an ongoing effort to curb the bullying of Sikh school children across the South.
We know little about the motives of the gunman who opened fire yesterday in a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Many of us will monitor the news during the day, hoping to learn more about what the shooter thought he was doing, sure to hear more about the heroism and horror inside the building.
Twelve years ago, the Southern Poverty Law Center stopped participating in the Montgomery, Ala., United Way campaign because the organization chose to fund the Boy Scouts of America despite its policy of excluding LGBT people from its ranks.
The face of America is changing. In 40 years, the United States will become a minority-majority nation – a remarkable milestone for a country that already boasts one of the most religiously, ethnically and racially diverse societies in the world.
It took an opinion from the United States Supreme Court, but this week our nation officially recognized the obvious – children are fundamentally different from adults and our criminal justice system should not lock them up and throw away the key.
For the better part of seven years now, Kansas attorney Kris Kobach has been urging municipalities and states to pass the draconian laws he writes that are aimed at so badly punishing undocumented immigrants that they will “self-deport.” Even as governments went into debt to pay his fees and the cost of defending his dubious statutes, Kobach insisted that if they hung tough, they would win in the end.
With chronic budget shortfalls, dangerously overcrowded prisons and the nation’s biggest municipal bankruptcy filing, folks here in Alabama have a lot on our minds. But at least we can cross one worry off the list: Thanks to a new and little-noticed state law, our property cannot be confiscated by the United Nations – not, at least, without due process.
Mary Bauer, legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said the Obama administration’s announcement Friday to delay deporting young immigrants is a positive step, but against a backdrop of anti-immigrant sentiment and harsh laws in many states, much more remains to be done. “We applaud President Obama for taking a step in the right direction for young immigrants,” Bauer said. “While it is a small step and long overdue, it is an important step. We should recognize, however, the great harms that are still happening on the ground for millions of immigrants.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center re-launched a hotline today for people to report problems and abuses they have experienced as a result of Alabama’s draconian anti-immigrant law. Alabamians are urged to share their stories about the state’s anti-immigrant law and learn more about changes to the law by calling 1-800-982-1620.