Letter to FTC Supporting Creation of Civil Rights Office
Dear Chair Khan,
On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 230 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States, and its Media/Telecommunications Task Force, we write to strongly support the creation of a Civil Rights Office at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and to request a meeting with you and the Media/Telecommunications Task Force as soon as possible to discuss this recommendation and see how we can continue to build on the momentum the FTC has gained over the past year.
The Leadership Conference is committed to ensuring that media, telecommunications, technology, and privacy policies affirm and extend our nation’s longstanding commitment to civil rights. In 2020, our Media/Telecommunications Task Force identified and developed a comprehensive list of priority executive and legislative initiatives that represent a path forward for our country in advancing social and economic justice. Among other things, they highlight the issues that we believe the FTC must advance to ensure that our technology future includes adequate consideration of — and commitment to — civil rights and social justice.
While these are areas of great concern to the communities we represent, we believe the current structure of the FTC makes it extremely difficult to address present and future threats to civil rights with the urgency and thoroughness that they demand. By establishing a civil rights office staffed with civil rights experts, the commission will be in a better position to confront the often complicated civil rights issues as they relate to the agency. The FTC would have a centralized hub to provide expertise across the agency and consistently coordinate with civil rights advocates — and all stakeholders in general — to identify and address civil rights concerns across the wide purview of the commission. A civil rights office would allow for the integration of a more comprehensive civil rights analysis throughout the commission, engender more transparency across government and the private sector, and improve partnerships with other agencies, stakeholders, and civil rights experts.
Civil rights offices play critical enforcement roles throughout the federal government. There are more than 30 other civil rights offices at federal departments and agencies, with a wide array of structures and responsibilities that could serve as models for the commission. We have identified a number of best practices from other government offices that we would be happy to share with you and your staff.
Thank you for considering our views. If you have any questions about the issues raised in this letter, please contact Jonathan Walter, policy counsel for the media & tech program, at [email protected], or Frank Nolan, senior campaigns and programs associate, at [email protected].
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
ADL (the Anti-Defamation League)
American Civil Liberties Union
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC
Black Women’s Roundtable
Color of Change
Communications Workers of America
Japanese American Citizens League
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
National Action Network
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
National Consumer Law Center
National Fair Housing Alliance
National Hispanic Media Coalition
National Urban League
Sikh American Legal Defense Fund
United Church of Christ Media Justice Ministry
Alvaro Bedoya, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
Rebecca Slaughter, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
Christine S. Wilson, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission