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Civil Rights and Race Relations in America and Their Impact on the Lives of African Americans
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Your participation in the 2010 Census is vital to ensuring that you have an equal voice in government and access to federal and state funding for your community.
It is important to resist the urge to embrace this oversimplified interpretation of the 2008 Presidential Election. To be sure, significant work still lies ahead. Notwithstanding the election of President Obama, the severe challenges facing African Americans remains daunting. Racial minorities in the United States continue to suffer from deplorable public schools, chronic unemployment, substandard housing and healthcare, intense residential segregation, and striking rates of over-incarceration. Clearly, discrimination has not been eliminated, as some contend; rather, it remains an integral component of complex and enduring social and political systems that promote racial inequality. One such system lies at the heart of our democracy: voting and elections.
Annual Report of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. for years 2007-2009
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is both a symbol and sword. It embodies the nation’s aspirations toward greater political fairness and stands as a defense against efforts to stray from these commitments. The Act is generally regarded as our nation’s most effective federal civil rights statute, and includes a set of very powerful and important tools for combating persisting discrimination against minority voters. It is the law that first made the promises of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments meaningful in the area of voting.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
That “inescapable network of mutuality” described by Martin Luther King, Jr. begins in our communities. Where we live shapes our lives, our interactions with others, our work life, our health, and our education. Each of us has a role to play in creating communities that are welcoming, safe, and open to all.
Since 1994, the State of Mississippi has allowed juvenile offenders to be sentenced to life without parole. In Mississippi, children as young as thirteen may receive such a sentence. The NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) has identified 25 young men serving a sentence of life without parole in Mississippi.
Since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education, parents and community leaders have repeatedly petitioned courts throughout the country, demanding that the judiciary give life and meaning to Brown by ordering recalcitrant school districts to dismantle their racially segregated school systems.
Criminal justice policy in the United States has for some time now spurned rehabilitation in favor of long and often permanent terms of incarceration, manifesting an overarching belief that there is no need to address root causes of crime and that many people who have committed crimes can never be anything but “criminals.” These policies have served to isolate and remove a massive number of people, a disproportionately large percentage of whom are people of color, from their communities and from participation in civil society.