Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
It was a day of celebration, but also a day of reflection. It was time for us to as a nation reflect on Dr. King’s message, the goals of the civil rights movement and what, half a century after Dr. King’s speech, are the new challenges to racial equality in America.
It used to be just LGB (Lesbian Gay Bisexual). Now the official acronym is LGBTQIA, a veritable alphabet soup of different ways to identify oneself by gender or by sexual orientation. I must admit I had to look up what some of those letters represented, notably the 'QIA' part, and according to my research this rainbow of letters (the new ROY G BIV if you will) stands for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Questioning/Queer Intersex and Asexual. Each term is simultaneously a separate category with specific criteria or no category at all.
Last night I had dinner with friends of mine -- a biracial couple with two beautiful biracial children. We started discussing racism in Maine and across the country. We agreed that in fifty years since the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, we've made tremendous progress toward the goals of racial equality and justice. The presidency of Barack Obama sends a powerful message to every black child that someday he could be President too. At the same time, the death of Trayvon Martin sends an equally powerful message to mothers and fathers of black children that their sons c
With a new school year upon us, the ACLU of Maine is eager to begin our work educating students about the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Last year we reached 41 schools in all 16 counties, with more than 1,650 students taking part in our workshops.
Each Friday, we’ll bring you updates on the latest civil liberties news from Maine and the nation.
March on Washington: This coming Wednesday will mark the 50th anniversary of the March On Washington. The cultural and political manifestations of this anniversary can be seen in recent movies and upcoming anniversary marches. Researchers and commentators have assessed Dr. King’s dream 50 years later.
Thursday morning, Chelsea Manning came out as a transgender woman. Following her announcement, a military spokesman stated that the Army will not provide gender affirming healthcare for Ms. Manning, which raises significant constitutional concerns. The national ACLU writes:
One of the ACLU's largest and most pressing issues is the problem of overincarceration, and we are focused on criminal justice reform and the reduction of recidivism. Most people interested in such things have heard of the term "the revolving door." This proverbial door symbolizes the perpetual cycle for convicted people through the phases of our flawed justice system: get caught, receive your sentence, do time, leave jail with little financial, emotional or education support, repeat the behavior, etc.
Today, a military court-martial sentenced Pfc. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for leaking government documents to Wikileaks. In July, Manning was found not guilty of the most serious charge against him, "aiding the enemy." However, he was found guilty of another 19 charges, including 5 counts of espionage.
Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Speech, Privacy & Technology Project, had this reaction today:
In response to Federal Judge Shira Scheindin’s August 12th ruling finding the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk unconstitutional, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post.