Diversity, Equity & Civil Rights Issues to Watch
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Updated November 13, 2017
- This is the hidden financial cost of being an LGBTQ American in 2017 - Whether or not you’re married, navigating the already-tricky obstacle course of a career often comes with additional hurdles if you are gay, transgender or gender nonconforming: 28 states still lack protections against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, and research suggests nearly 1 in 10 workers have left jobs because of unwelcoming cultures. There are quantifiable gaps in employment rates and pay based on sexuality. And for LGBTQ women or people of color, income and employment challenges may widen already large wage gaps driven by gender or race.
- How Does Your State Rank In Trans Equality? - Read the New York State report.
- Poll: 1 In 3 Latinos Report Discrimination Based On Ethnicity - About a third of Latinos in America say they've been personally discriminated against when it comes to applying for jobs, being paid equally or considered for promotions — and when trying to rent a room or apartment or buy a house. Slightly more (37 percent) say they've personally experienced racial or ethnic slurs because of their race or ethnicity.
- Rutgers launches new social justice prep program for future educators - Evidence also indicates there is a lack of diversity in the K-12 teaching field in comparison to the student population; a recent analysis by the Task Force on Diversifying Virginia's Educator Pipeline found that only 21% of the state’s teachers are non-white, while 49% of the state’s students ae non-white. These trends are only likely to continue nationwide, with the GSE noting the number of students from “underserved groups” exceeded the number of white students in the country three years ago. A 2016 report from the U.S. Department of Education found educators in elementary and secondary schools in the country “are relatively homogeneous racially,” with 82% of the educators in public schools being white, with only 20% of principals in the U.S. being non-white in the 2011-2012 school year.
- 11% of White People Say They Were Bias Victims in College - Eleven percent of white Americans believe that they personally were victims of discrimination in applying to college or while in college, according to a new poll by NPR. A larger percentage of white people (55 percent) believe that discrimination against white people exists in the United States today.
- 76 Companies Urge Supreme Court to Support LGBT Workplace Protections - Major U.S. companies and organizations, including tech giants, financial institutions and sports teams, are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to create uniform federal protections for gay, lesbian and transgender employees.
- Transgender students prevail with school policy in Maryland - In Frederick County, Maryland, the system’s 67 schools have a new policy that is regarded as one of the most progressive in the state. The policy spells out that bathrooms and locker rooms should be used according to gender identity and provides alternatives for students uncomfortable for any reason. It also covers privacy, preferred names, dress codes for major events and participation in sports teams.
- Across The Country, Diverging Policies For LGBTQ Youth In Child Welfare System - The ways in which states and their respective child welfare agencies support LGBTQ youth varies greatly, according to a state-by-state analysis and map of child welfare systems’ policies from Lambda Legal.
- In Shift, Justice Dept. Says Law Doesn’t Bar Transgender Discrimination - Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday ordered the Justice Department to take the position in court cases that transgender people are not protected by a civil rights law that bars workplace discrimination based on sex. The move was the Trump administration’s latest contraction of the Obama-era approach to civil rights enforcement. The dispute centers on how to interpret employment protections based on “sex” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In December 2014, the attorney general at the time, Eric H. Holder Jr., ordered the Justice Department to view “sex” as encompassing gender identity, extending protections to transgender people.
- Trans students kicked off school bus in Glens Falls - A school district in South Glens Falls says there will be more training for staff after two students who identify as transgender were ordered off a school bus last week. The incident was captured by a student on video, which went viral over the weekend. According to the district, more gender sensitivity training will be scheduled for all staff. They point out that all staff members in South Glens Falls finished an inclusion training session aimed earlier this month.
- The Quiet Attack on the ADA Making Its Way Through Congress - In the current political climate, the assault on Americans with disabilities is no longer limited to attempts to strip them of health care, take away the services millions need to live independently and to work, or make deep cuts to programs that help many make ends meet. Now a bill making its way through Congress threatens to roll back the civil rights of people with disabilities by exactly 27 years. The bill, misleadingly titled the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017, would deal a major blow to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, the landmark civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and mandates that people with disabilities have “equal opportunity” to participate in American life.
- Trump signs congressional resolution condemning white supremacist - President Donald Trump signed a resolution Thursday condemning white supremacists and hate groups, hours after reviving his assertion that there were “bad dudes” among those opposing a white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month. “You know, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also,” the president told reporters aboard Air Force once, sparking another round of criticism that the president has failed to adequately condemn hate speech. He took a different tone hours later, calling for Americans to move forward “as one people”.
- Emerging School Restroom Trends Help Ensure Transgender Student Safety - There are an estimated 150,000 transgender students across the nation, according to a report published in February by the Williams Institute at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law. Yonkers, N.Y.-based ASI Group, a 50-year-old manufacturer of washroom accessories, partitions and lockers has seen an uptick in school orders for what it terms “ultimate privacy partitions.” These are partitions that are lower to the floor and higher to the ceiling than conventional restroom partitions. A European-style partition, essentially a small room that encloses the facilities, has also proven popular.
- Trump’s administration is rewriting a rule that made transgender health care accessible. Patients are scared - The Trump administration is working to revise a section of the law that says federally funded health programs cannot discriminate on the basis of sex. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has told a federal court that he’s reworking the rule and won’t enforce it in the meantime. Already, some states have defied the Obama directive and specifically excluded transgender care from their Medicaid coverage. And Wisconsin, Texas, Kentucky, Kansas, and Nebraska are teaming up with Christian health care providers to challenge the anti-discrimination rule in federal court. (It’s in response to this case that Price filed the motion in May indicating that he is revising the regulation.)
- Federal government has long ignored white supremacist threats, critics say - As President Trump continues to suffer political backlash for his response to the deadly Charlottesville protests led by white supremacists, analysts who follow far-right groups say generations of neglect by multiple administrations has allowed them to proliferate and strengthen. “The federal government has taken their eye off the ball, and it has allowed the far right to fester and grow for decades,” said Heidi Beirich, who leads the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project and runs its Hatewatch blog. “They are a real threat that has been underestimated.”
- KKK Leader Claims Hate Group Has Grown at Record Pace Since Trump Became President - The Ku Klux Klan has grown faster since Donald Trump’s inauguration than any time in recent memory, a Klan leader has claimed. “I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and I haven’t seen the Klan grow at the pace it’s growing now,” Chris Barker, an Imperial Wizard of the KKK, told The Independent. “I mean, it’s even hard to keep track of the numbers you’ve got ’cause there’s so many coming in.” Mr Barker said that after the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville he received 50 applications to join his group in one day. The next day, he received 80.
- United Nations rights panel warns US over racist rhetoric - United Nations human rights experts have called upon the US government and political leaders to "unequivocally and unconditionally" reject and condemn racist hate speech and crimes. The panel said it was "alarmed" by recent displays of racist violence and, without mentioning US President Donald Trump by name, condemned the "failure at the highest political level" to "unequivocally reject and condemn" such activity.
- LGBT Rights Group Sues Trump Admin. for Records on Transgender Policy Shift - The original guidance—issued by the Obama administration—asserted that Title IX, the federal gender non-discrimination law, guarantees the rights of transgender students to have access the bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity, even if it differs from their sex at birth. The guidance also directed schools to respect transgender students' pronoun choices, to protect their confidentiality, and to respond to bullying based on gender identity. The Trump administration rescinded that guidance in February, leaving it to schools to interpret federal law. Advocates for transgender students say ending the Obama-era guidance removed a layer of uniformity and certainty for transgender students around the country. Those groups maintain that Title IX applies to transgender students, regardless of federal guidance, and they have committed to making their case in court.
- The Poison of White Supremacist Masculinity - While there are white women supremacists, the vast majority are white males. We ignore that fact at our peril. In our long-term strategy to address domestic terrorism we must make central raising emotionally literate boys, dismantling bullying masculinity, and demanding the CDC conduct a study of the mental health of boys and young men. Disconnected, rudderless young males are vulnerable prey for older, angry white men promoting ideologies of hate. We must prevent their recruitment or we will continue to experience violence, like what happened in Charlottesville, or worse.
- ‘We have drawn a different lesson from history’: How the world is reacting to violence in Charlottesville - In countries such as Germany and France that have adopted strict codes policing hateful speech, there were also questions about why people carrying guns were allowed to assemble and propagate a message targeting racial and religious minorities.
- Far Right Plans Its Next Moves With a New Energy - The white supremacists and right-wing extremists who came together over the weekend in Charlottesville, are now headed home, many of them ready and energized, they said, to set their sights on bigger prizes. Some were making arrangements to appear at future marches. Some were planning to run for public office.
- The first thing teachers should do when school starts is talk about hatred in America. Here’s help. - #CharlottesvilleCurriculum: That’s the new Twitter hashtag for educators, parents and anyone else looking for resources to lead discussions with young people about the violence that just erupted in Charlottesville, when white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members marched and clashed with counterprotesters.
- White Supremacy in the Age of Trump - Never forget that this country has a long history of upper-class whites using racism to their advantage.
- California sues Trump administration over sanctuary policy - California sued the U.S. Department of Justice on Monday over federal restrictions on some law enforcement grants to so-called sanctuary cities, continuing a legal counterattack by Democrats against President Donald Trump's administration. The city of San Francisco also filed its own lawsuit against the Justice Department late last week, saying the federal government has improperly sought to force local jurisdictions to enforce national immigration law by imposing funding conditions.
- One dead as car strikes crowds amid protests of white nationalist gathering in Charlottesville; two police die in helicopter crash - Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who had declared a state of emergency, said at an evening news conference that he had a message for “all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today: Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth.” Maurice Jones, Charlottesville’s city manager, looked stricken as he spoke. “Hate came to our town today in a way that we had feared but we had never really let ourselves imagine would,” he said. The FBI field office in Richmond and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Virginia said late Saturday that they have opened a civil rights investigation into the deadly car crash.
- Lexington, KY mayor says Confederate statues at courthouse will be moved - Gray said in a statement he will ask the Lexington-Fayette County Urban County Council at its Tuesday work session to take the first step — to ask a state military commission for permission to take down the statues of John Hunt Morgan and John C. Breckinridge. Gray said the vote was already in the works. “We have thoroughly examined this issue, and heard from many of our citizens,” Gray said in a statement. “The tragic events in Charlottesville today have accelerated the announcement I intended to make next week.”
- Former DOJ Civil Rights Head: Jeff Sessions Is Implementing an Anti-Civil Rights Agenda - It’s been six months since Attorney General Jeff Sessions was sworn in as head of the Department of Justice. In that time, Sessions has managed to undo nearly every aspect of Obama’s civil rights legacy. We look at how Sessions is using the Justice Department to roll back decades of progress on civil rights, voting rights, LGBT rights and police reform. Democracy Now speaks with Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. She is the former head of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice.
- How "sanctuary cities" actually work: video
- LGBTQ Americans Won’t Be Counted in 2020 U.S. Census After All - No previous U.S. Census has ever included LGBTQ Americans, which makes it challenging for federal agencies and researchers to accurately track the size, demographics and needs of the community. In addition, the more detailed American Community Survey also leaves out LGBTQ categories. Tuesday's initial release from the Census Bureau proposed including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people on both surveys.
- Top athletes, including Martina Navratilova, take a stand against Texas bathroom bill - Top athletes across the country are continuing a welcome trend by taking a stand on an important political issue. This time, they’re speaking out against Senate Bill 6 in Texas, legislation similar to North Carolina’s HB2, which requires transgender people to use bathrooms that correlate to their biological sex, not their gender identity.
- Justice Department Takes A Step Back From Effort To Protect Transgender People Under Existing Law - On just the second day of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ tenure at the helm of the Justice Department, the department withdrew a request on Friday that a federal court limit an injunction that has halted enforcement of existing civil rights laws to provide protections for transgender people. An independent federal agency, however, continued to press ahead in its pro-transgender legal position in another case.
- Boy Scouts face renewed push to let girls join the ranks - After many years of divisiveness, the Boy Scouts of America have opened their ranks to gay and transgender boys. Yet a different membership dispute persists: a long-shot campaign to let girls join the BSA so they have a chance to earn the prestigious status of Eagle Scout.
- AAUW Stands against Bias and Bigotry - For more than 135 years, AAUW has stood against intolerance and injustice. And we have no plans of sitting down now. As our country faces some of our greatest tests, it is important to look at AAUW’s history to show that the squall of discrimination cannot be met by silence.
- Boy Scouts of America will allow transgender children to join - Boy Scouts chief executive Michael Surbaugh said in a video message that the organization will now accept boys based on the gender a parent puts on a child’s scouting application, ending a policy of accepting boys based on the gender listed on a child’s birth certificate.
- Justice Dept. Asks Court to Toss Injunction Blocking Transgender Guidance - The U.S. Department of Justice filed a brief late last week in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, in New Orleans, asking the court to toss out a nationwide injunction issued by a federal district judge in Texas last year that blocks various forms of the administration's transgender guidance.
- 450 churches prepare to act as Trump-era ‘underground railroad’ for undocumented immigrants - These churches, synagogues and mosques are all part of the Sanctuary Movement — an interfaith movement that began in the 1960s, but which has undergone a revival in recent years as the U.S. has stepped up deportation of undocumented immigrants.
- Transgender New Jersey Boy Barred from Boy Scouts - The Boy Scouts of America has kicked an 8-year-old New Jersey boy out of the organization after learning that he is transgender.
- Schools pledge to create safe spaces for undocumented students - School districts across the country are responding to concerns expressed by immigrant families as they brace for a Donald Trump presidency, The Washington Post reported. Colleges and universities are also considering next steps to protect undocumented students. School boards in Minneapolis, Denver, and Los Angeles have also recently taken steps to declare safe havens and remind families that ICE agents are not allowed on campus. California’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson also sent a letter to state administrators that asked them to “remind families about existing laws that protect them and their students’ records from questions about immigration status.”
- The biggest civil rights moments of 2016 that proved not all was lost - Though 2016 may have been a weird year for all of us, we have witnessed major civil rights benchmarks. Here are some of the best civil rights moments of 2016.
- Many Teachers Can't Talk About LGBT Issues in the Classroom, Report Finds - The report covers a variety of challenges LGBT students encounter, including restrictions on LGBT student groups, bullying, and discrimination from classmates and school staff members, and exclusion of LGBT topics from curricula—with an overall conclusion that many U.S. public schools are still unwelcoming to LGBT students and teachers.
- Loretta Lynch: Spike In Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Is A 'Stain On Our Nation's Very Soul' - U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch called a spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes a “stain on our nation’s very soul” in a speech Monday at a Virginia mosque.
- Civil Rights Groups Blast Betsy DeVos' 'Lack of Respect' for Student Diversity - A coalition of civil rights groups are registering their concern that education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos' track record does not square with the U.S. Department of Education's mission of "fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access" for all students.
- Both Feeling Threatened, American Muslims and Jews Join Hands - Jolted into action by a wave of hate crimes that followed the election victory of Donald J. Trump, American Muslims and Jews are banding together in a surprising new alliance.
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