In advance of the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights coalition of more than 200 national civil rights groups – including the Equal Justice Society – released an open “Statement on Achieving Equal Justice and Opportunity” promising to protect vulnerable communities in the face of a hostile Congress and administration.
The statement comes as President-elect Trump trivializes the work of civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis, as his cabinet nominees are under fire for their records of hostility against communities of color, LGBT people, and working families, and as Congress works to roll back regulations and laws affecting health care and other civil rights priorities.
The statement was drafted by the co-chairs of the Leadership Conference task forces, including the ACLU, AFL-CIO, Anti-Defamation League, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC, Center for Community Change, Center for Responsible Lending, Human Rights Campaign, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, MALDEF, NAACP, NAACP LDF, NALEO Educational Fund, National Fair Housing Alliance, National Health Law Program, National Women’s Law Center, National Partnership for Women and Families, People For the American Way, UCC Office of Communication, Inc., United Food and Commercial Workers, and the YWCA.
“Our strength lies in our history of welcoming peoples from around the world and of righting the wrongs of our past as we strive for an inclusive society in which we see our fates as linked together,” wrote the coalition.
“But this vision is threatened by an emerging national agenda from the new administration and Congress, and a tone and tenor in our civic discourse, which tear at the very fabric of what has made America so strong for so long.”
“We are prepared to stand with and for all Americans in support of the rights guaranteed in our Constitution and laws, and to resist any attempt to discriminate against, oppress, or marginalize any members of our communities,” the coalition wrote.
“We will stand against any efforts by the new administration and Congress to politicize civil and human rights, and intend to meet every challenge with the values and principles that animate our cause.”
The Leadership Conference coalition was founded in 1950 to coordinate advocacy for civil rights in Washington. As the statement notes, “The Leadership Conference was founded on the firm conviction that the struggle for civil rights would be won, not by one group alone, but through coalitions that augment and multiply our partners’ strength.
Our civil and human rights coalition stands as an exemplar of what the United States should be – a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-religious country with a government that works for the good of all.”
The statement will guide the coalition’s work in the upcoming administration and Congress and will be used to inform activists and policymakers of the broad priorities of the civil and human rights community.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference, visit http://www.civilrights.org.