This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Civil Rights Act, time to pass Human Rights Act.
After centuries of struggle and a shameful history of the treatment of our African American brothers and sisters and other people of color, the Civil Rights Act was signed in 1964. This act outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion or sexual orientation. It outlawed unequal application of voter registration and racial segregation in our schools and workplace among other issues.
50 years later I ask, is the civil rights act being honored? Time to pass the Human Rights Act. We see discrimination based on race, color, religion and sexual orientation practiced daily. Just ask any of the Central American refugee children that were stopped in Murrieta by the local mayor and Murrieta police, just ask any African Americans living in Ferguson, Missouri, ask any Muslim living in this country today or any gay if they feel discrimination is outlawed. I can guarantee that these groups and more will tell you that discrimination is very much alive and well in their respective communities and in many cases discrimination and hate crimes are worse than ever.
What we need to pass now is a Human Rights Act, as we can not tell the world how we feel they should act, while we separate mothers from their children and deport people in record numbers. Tell neighboring countries to get along yet build a wall on our Southern border that has killed more than 10,000 people in the last 20 years of Operation Gatekeeper. Tell the world we practice religious freedom, yet claim certain faiths are superior to others, say that Gays shall not be discriminated against, unless they try to form a family. Only allow “certain people to vote” in Texas or go to school in Arizona.
Human Rights are Human Rights, regardless of the color of your skin, faith or sexual orientation. Are those of us of color held to a different standard than the white majority? Just ask our President. When have you ever had a Presidents place of birth or religion questioned, had a member of Congress yell out, YOU LIE or had more than three times attempts on his life than our previous Presidents, just ask our current President Obama? Could it possibly have something to do with his race? No doubt.
As he stated to me and a select group during a phone call last year, “Before we were US, we were them” Yet many people in this great country conveniently forget, that centuries ago, their families were the day laborers, the ones living in the shadows, the ones being discriminated against and the ones doing the work nobody else would do. When their forefathers and foremothers came, there was no legal versus illegal immigration, people just came. They also came looking for a better life. Today’s migrants also are looking for a better life, but they have no line to get into, there are no visas for them, no “legal” way to come.
“Why do they not speak our language or assimilate immediately, send them back to their countries ?” That was Benjamin Franklin, a founding father of this country speaking about German immigrants here in the US (the “Germanization” of this country). In our lifetimes we have never heard there are too many Germans here, but there was a time. There was a time there were too many Irish, too many Italians, too many Polish, too many Chinese… Now they say there are too many Mexicans, too many Central Americans, it was wrong to discriminate yesteryear and it is even more wrong today.
We need a Human Rights Act. A society is judged on how we treat our children and so far, our nation is not doing a good job and the whole world is watching. Join us as we practice that only love can overcome hate and light overcome darkness. Love, si se puede.