Tag Archives: Civil Rights

Fifty Years Later: Rabbi Richard Hirsch Reflects on the Civil Rights Movement

On the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, we take great pride in the fact that the major deliberations on all the civil rights legislation of the 1960’s were held in the conference room of our Religious Action Center. The RAC housed the offices of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, which was the umbrella coordinating organization of all the civil rights, civil liberties, labor, women’s groups and national religious bodies—Protestant, Catholic and Jewish—advocating the passage of the legislation.  All the leadership of these groups, beginning with Martin Luther King, Jr. participated in these meetings and were frequent visitors to our Center.

In commemoration of this historic role, we are reproducing excerpts from the memoir, “From the Hill to the Mount,” by the RAC’s founding Director, Rabbi Richard G. Hirsch:

During my years in Washington our Center dealt with a host of public concerns: among them: church-state, public housing, welfare, migrant labor, economic policy, foreign policy, civil rights, Israel and Soviet Jewry. We testified before Senate and House committees, convened conferences, organized intensive training programs for Jewish and Christian clergy, and issued publications and background papers. Read more…

Al Vorspan

Honoring 50 years of the Civil Rights Act

On Wednesday, July 2, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the landmark legislation that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The Reform Movement played an instrumental role in the civil rights movement including helping to draft (in the Religious Action Center’s very own Sillins Conference Room) both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which will also turn 50 next year.  Read more…

Supreme Court

One Year Later: Protecting Voting Rights After Shelby v. Holder

Today is the one-year anniversary of Shelby v. Holder, the Supreme Court’s decision that struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.

Renewed by bipartisan majorities on several occasions, most recently in 2006, the Voting Rights Act long protected Americans from discrimination at the ballot box. The Shelby decision struck down Section 4(b), a provision of the bill that required states and jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to pre-clear potentially discriminatory voting changes with the federal Department of Justice. While some parts of the Voting Rights Act do remain in place, in the year since the Court’s decision a number of states and jurisdictions have engaged in discriminatory behaviors. Read more…

Honoring The Memory Of Murdered Civil Rights Workers

This post originally appeared on the Anti-Defamation League’s blog, Access ADL.

June 21 marks the 50th anniver­sary of the mur­ders of three young civil rights work­ers who trav­elled to Mis­sis­sippi for “Free­dom Sum­mer,” to help African Amer­i­can res­i­dents under­stand their con­sti­tu­tional rights and reg­is­ter to vote.  Fac­ing deep insti­tu­tional racism, fewer than five per­cent of the 500,000 black adults in Mis­sis­sippi were then reg­is­tered to vote.  Michael “Mickey” Schw­erner, 24, James Chaney, 21, and Andrew Good­man, 20, knew they were risk­ing their lives for their cause. Read more…

Demand a Vote for Criminal Justice Reform

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Smarter Sentencing Act by a bipartisan vote of 13-5 in January. But since then, despite increased pressure from advocates, the bill has yet to be called for a vote of the full Senate. Read more…

Hand putting stack of dollar bills into ballot box

Faith Groups Support Voting Rights

Yesterday, 86 faith organizations sent a letter to members of Congress calling for the swift passage of the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014. The letter was signed by a wide range of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, and other organizations and denominations, collectively representing tens of millions of Americans. Read more…

Time for a Hearing on the Voting Rights Amendment Act

The closer we get to election season, the more important the swift passage of the Voting Rights Amendment Act becomes.. As I’ve writtenbefore, the Voting Rights Amendment Act is a bipartisan response to the Supreme Court’s calamitous decision in Shelby v. Holder last year, which struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. Read more…

Fran Lamarre-Cham of Hillcrest with her daughter, Maia Cham, 8, and son, Mason Cham, 10, attend a vigil in support of public schools at the East Ramapo Central School District administration building in Spring Valley before a scheduled Board of Education meeting May 26, 2010.

NY Community Comes Together to Fight for Justice in Local School District

Take Action:  Urge Governor Cuomo to intervene in the East Ramapo Central School District.

In Rockland County, New York, just northwest of New York City, a large community of Haredi Jews live in the town of Monsey. While the vast majority of the Haredi community send their children to private yeshivas, they also control a majority of seats on the public school board for the East Ramapo Central School District. In this capacity, the school board oversees the major decisions for district’s students, 90% of who are students of color and not members of the Haredi community. While there are no legal concerns with this situation, many of the school board’s decisions over the past few years have called their motives into question. Read more…