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Posted by Tamara Kessler, Acting Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a historic event that brought participants from across the country to Washington, DC to march for social and economic equality. On this day, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his now famous “I Have a Dream” speech, a speech that would inspire profound change in American history.
This monumental event set the stage for the passage of groundbreaking civil rights legislation, beginning with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Many more civil rights protections followed in critical areas such as education, employment, housing, and disability rights, to name a few.
A number of these civil rights protections are embedded in the work we conduct here at DHS. The Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), ensures that safeguards of individual rights and liberties are in place for everything the Department does, because we know that a safe and secure homeland means also ensuring that civil rights and liberties remain protected.
Each and every day:
- Our Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity strives to ensure that all employees and applicants for employment at DHS enjoy equal opportunity and employment decisions free from unlawful discrimination.
- Our Antidiscrimination Group engages in policy work to ensure fair and equitable treatment of individuals and guards against discrimination based on race, color, national origin, disability, sex, and age in DHS programs and activities.
- Our Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Impact Assessments evaluate DHS policies to determine if they impact the rights and liberties of those affected by a given initiative.
- Our Community Engagement Section works with diverse communities throughout the country whose civil rights and civil liberties may be affected by our policies and actions, informing them of avenues of redress.
- Our Compliance Division investigates and resolves complaints filed by the public alleging abuses of civil rights or civil liberties, including racial, ethnic, or religious profiling.
We continue to support the Department’s mission to protect the nation while preserving individual liberty, fairness, and equality under the law, inspired by those men and women who marched on Washington 50 years ago who forever changed the landscape of civil rights in our country.
Read more about the work CRCL does to protect civil rights and civil liberties here.