FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Facing the New Assault on Civil Rights

The Trump administration has launched an unprecedented rollback of civil rights and voting rights. Those who care about building a more perfect union face harsh headwinds. We’ve gone from an administration seeking to fulfill these rights to one seeking to repeal these rights.

Instead of a reconstruction, we are faced with a retrenchment, an effort to radically reverse the gains that have been made by women, people of color and the LGBTQ community. Instead of understanding that expanding civil rights is a vital therapy to heal this nation, the Trump administration views it as a threat to its rule.

The rollback is government wide. The Labor Department has announced plans to disband the division that polices discrimination among federal contractors as a “cost cutting measure.” The Environmental Protection Agency plans to eliminate the environmental justice program that focuses on the environmental threats to minority communities. The Education Department is decimating staffing of its Office of Civil Rights. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has revoked guidance on a rule that allows transgender people to stay in sex-segregated shelters matching their gender identity.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, formerly a senator representing Alabama, has led the rollback. The DOJ has reversed its opposition to a Texas discriminatory voter ID law. Sessions has announced that he would review consent decrees that the Obama Justice Department made to reform police departments. Sessions has ordered U.S. prosecutors to seek the maximum sentences, while moving to revive private prisons. The administration is gearing up for a national assault on voting rights, pushing measures that will make voting more difficult.

Women, people of color, the poor and the LGBTQ are the targets and the direct victims of this assault. But the entire country will suffer, as basic rights are denied, prisons are expanded, and hopes and dreams are stuffed out.

In Chicago this week, leaders from across the country will gather for the annual Rainbow Push National Summit. We will use this time to map out our response to this assault on all that we have fought for. Now is the time for citizens of conscience to join together to defend and expand basic civil rights.

We will work to defend voting rights, building the movement to add the federal right to vote to the U.S. Constitution. As some move to constrict voting, we will move to expand it. Illinois is about to become the ninth state to pass automatic voter registration, with the potential addition of an estimated 1 million voters to the voting rolls. We will push to pass automatic voter registration in states across the union. If successful, we will add a stunning 51 million new voters to the rolls.

We will demand that President Trump fulfill his promise to invest $1 trillion in rebuilding America, helping to generate real jobs doing vital things that need to be done. We will defend sanctuary cities providing some support for undocumented workers with children. As the Department of Justice retreats from the enforcement of civil rights, we will expand the pressure on corporations and governments to adhere to equal employment opportunity from the boardroom to the basement, from their contracts to philanthropy.

Dr. Martin Luther King taught us that “human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable . . . Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle — the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

Now, in this headwind of injustice, it is time for the tribunes of justice to move forward. Now is the time for citizens of conscience to come to the aid of their country.

More articles by:

Jesse Jackson is the founder of Rainbow/PUSH.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

Weekend Edition
April 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What Will It Take For Trump to Get His Due?
Roy Eidelson
Is the American Psychological Association Addicted to Militarism and War?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Time is Blind, Man is Stupid
Joshua Frank
Top 20 Mueller Report “Findings”
Rob Urie
Why Russiagate Will Never Go Away
Paul Street
Stephen Moore Gets Something Right: It’s Capitalism vs. Democracy
Russell Mokhiber
Why Boeing and Its Executives Should be Prosecuted for Manslaughter
T.J. Coles
The Battle for Latin America: How the U.S. Helped Destroy the “Pink Tide”
Ron Jacobs
Ho Chi Minh City: Nguyen Thai Binh Street
Dean Baker
Fun Fictions in Economics
David Rosen
Trump’s One-Dimensional Gender Identity
Kenn Orphan
Notre Dame: We Have Always Belonged to Her
Robert Hunziker
The Blue Ocean Event and Collapsing Ecosystems
Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.
Paddy Wagon
Brett Wilkins
Jimmy Carter: US ‘Most Warlike Nation in History of the World’
John W. Whitehead
From Jesus Christ to Julian Assange: When Dissidents Become Enemies of the State
Nick Pemberton
To Never Forget or Never Remember
Stephen Cooper
My Unforgettable College Stabbings
Louis Proyect
A Leftist Rejoinder to the “Capitalist Miracle”
Louisa Willcox
Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic and the Need for a New Approach to Managing Wildlife
Brian Cloughley
Britain Shakes a Futile Fist and Germany Behaves Sensibly
Jessicah Pierre
A Revolutionary Idea to Close the Racial Wealth Divide
George Burchett
Revolutionary Journalism
Dan Bacher
U.S. Senate Confirms Oil Lobbyist David Bernhardt as Interior Secretary
Nicky Reid
The Strange Success of Russiagate
Chris Gilbert
Defending Venezuela: Two Approaches
Todd Larsen
The Planetary Cost of Amazon’s Convenience
Kelly Martin
How the White House is Spinning Earth Day
Nino Pagliccia
Cuba and Venezuela: Killing Two Birds With a Stone
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Guadalcanal and Bloody Ridge, Solomon Islands
David Kattenburg
Trudeau’s Long Winter
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
Ellen Lindeen
What Does it Mean to Teach Peace?
Adewale Maye and Eileen Appelbaum
Paid Family and Medical Leave: a Bargain Even Low-Wage Workers Can Afford
Ramzy Baroud
War Versus Peace: Israel Has Decided and So Should We
Ann Garrison
Vets for Peace to Barbara Lee: Support Manning and Assange
Thomas Knapp
The Mueller Report Changed my Mind on Term Limits
Jill Richardson
Why is Going Green So Hard? Because the System Isn’t
Mallika Khanna
The Greenwashing of Earth Day
Arshad Khan
Do the Harmless Pangolins Have to Become Extinct?
Paul Armentano
Pushing Marijuana Legalization Across the Finish Line
B. R. Gowani
Surreal Realities: Pelosi, Maneka Gandhi, Pompeo, Trump
Paul Buhle
Using the Law to Build a Socialist Society
David Yearsley
Call Saul
Elliot Sperber
Ecology Over Economy 
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail