Civil & Human Rights Organizations Hail Introduction of Civil Rights Act of 2008

Media 01.18,08

As Americans prepare to celebrate the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. the Senate is moving to introduce the Civil Rights Act of 2008, an important piece of legislation that will restore the intent of the original Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Civil Rights Act of 2008 enjoys broad support from the civil and human rights community.

“The introduction of the Civil Rights Act of 2008 could not come at a better time. People think the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is written in stone, but Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy is being dismantled court by court, judge by judge, and ruling by ruling, eviscerating protections that all Americans depend on.” – Wade Henderson, President of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. Contact: Mistique Cano (202) 263-2882 // [email protected].

“The American Civil Liberties Union thanks Senator Kennedy and Representative Lewis for introducing this important legislation, and we are pleased to offer our full support for its goals. The Civil Rights Act of 2008 will restore basic civil rights protections that have been chipped away at over the years by the courts and offer Americans a remedy if they feel their rights have been violated. We urge Congress to support and pass the Civil Rights Act.” – Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. Contact: Rachel Perrone (202) 675-2312.

“AAUW members have fought for over a century to advance and protect fundamental rights and liberties. The Civil Rights Act of 2008 is necessary to ensure we don’t turn back the clock on the decades of progress we’ve made for women and girls.” – Lisa Maatz, American Association of University Women Director of Public Policy and Government Relations. Contact: Ashley Carr (202) 785-7745 // [email protected].

“We must forge a different path for civil rights in our nation than that of the past: Asian Americans across the country continue to face rampant discrimination in the workplace and encounter critical language and cultural barriers to accessing federal programs and services. Now is the time to ensure that we continue to provide communities with the safeguards they need to promote prosperous and productive citizens.” – Vincent Eng, Deputy Director of the Asian American Justice Center. Contact: Leonie Campbell (202) 492-4591 // [email protected].

“We are thrilled to witness the introduction of the Civil Rights Act of 2008, which is desperately needed to restore critical civil rights protections that have been unfairly rolled back by the federal courts.  Like others in the civil rights community, people with disabilities are hopeful that Congress will act to restore their hard-won rights that have been stripped away.” – Robert Bernstein, Executive Director of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. Contact: Jennifer Mathis (202) 467-5730 ext. 122.

“This legislation will significantly assist the Lawyers’ Committee’s efforts to obtain justice and relief for our clients, particularly in the area of employment discrimination. The Title VI provisions of the bill are imperative to restoring the rights of private litigants to sue government entities for engaging in environmentally hazardous activities that threaten the health and lives of our nation’s poorest citizens.” – Barbara R. Arnwine, Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee. Contact: Kim Alton [email protected].

“Over the past several years ideologically extremist, activist federal judges have issued decisions on several civil rights cases that have eroded civil rights protections established by Congress in the mid-1960’s to ensure a fair workplace.  The Civil Rights Act of 2008 is vitally necessary to ensure that the rights and protections we fought so hard for and for so long are still available for our children and our grandchildren.” – Hilary O. Shelton, Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau. Contact: Carol Kaplan (202) 463-2940.

“The Latino community welcomes the introduction of the Civil Rights Act of 2008.  This important legislation would restore many of the core civil rights laws that are part of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy, but have unfortunately been eroded over the years.”– Janet Murguia, President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza. Contact: Marie Watteau (202) 785-1670.

“As civil rights lawyers who represent employees all over the country, the National Employment Lawyers Association sees first-hand how the laws that are supposed to protect employees from workplace discrimination are just not working.  We applaud the Congressional leaders who have the vision and courage to introduce the Civil Rights Act of 2008, which will advance equality and justice in the American workplace.” – Terisa E. Chaw, Executive Director of the National Employment Lawyers Association. Contact:  Donna R. Lenhoff (202) 898-2880 // [email protected].

“Now more than ever, with the rights of women, people of color, workers, seniors, immigrants and others under attack, we need lawmakers to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to fairness and equal opportunity.  We thank Senator Kennedy for introducing the Civil Rights Act of 2008, which will restore critical protections and secure our most fundamental rights, and urge Congress to waste no time in passing it.” – Debra L. Ness, President of the National Partnership for Women & Families. Contact: Sarah Heynen (202) 986-2600 // [email protected].

“At a time when the Supreme Court has turned back the clock on basic women’s rights, it is essential that Congress pass the Civil Rights Act of 2008. The bill would ensure the nation’s civil rights laws are effective, including the restoration of common sense measures to protect women against discrimination in pay at work and sexual harassment in school.” – Marcia Greenberger, Co-President of the National Women’s Law Center. Contact: Jenice Robinson (202) 588-5180 // [email protected].

“Right-wing justices on the Supreme Court have been ‘legislating from the bench,’ as President Bush likes to say, and weakening crucial laws that protect the individual rights of all Americans. The Civil Rights Act of 2008 is a desperately needed corrective to these efforts.” – Judith Schaeffer, People For the American Way Legal Director. Contact: Josh Glasstetter (202) 467-4999 // [email protected].