Saturday, June 28, 2014

50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion


The Civil Rights Act was signed into law by President Linclon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964, and with that dawned a new age in which racism, discrimination, segregation, should no longer have a place in American society. Fifty years later, it is time for celebrating diversity and inclusion that now have taken place even amid the remaining vestiges of that painful epoch in history, and the struggle still continues for many.

The Civil Rights Law, a Johnson legacy, affected the nation profoundly as it for the first time prohibited discrimination in employment and businesses of public accommodation on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Johnson's efforts did more for civil rights than any president since Abraham Lincoln.The world has evolved over the past half century. In 2008, American elected Obama president, our first African American president. It is a 21st century reality that would have been impossible in 1964. There is now growing equality in women's rights, disability rights, gay rights and immigrant rights across the country. Read more at:

In commemorating this monumental event, it should be realized that the Civil Rights movement has always been more than a black and white issue, according to Shana Bernstein, a former associate professor of history at Southwestern University in Georgetown and is currently a visiting associate professor at Northwestern Universit, and writing for statesman.com.

She writes:  The usual narrative is that the black movement that forced Congress, John F. Kennedy and later Lyndon B. Johnson to legislate civil rights then “trickled down” to other communities in the later 1960s and 1970s...But in the 1950s and 1960s, and even before, battles for equality were plural from the beginning. Diversity especially marked struggles in the Southwest and West, where Latinos’, Asian-Americans’ and Native Americans’ longtime presence complicated notions of a racial binary. In Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Utah and California, a significant Latino presence shaped society since the Southwest became part of the United States in 1848. Read more here:

Indeed, the countless stories of the heroic men and women who fought for the freedom to enjoy one's rights should never be forgotten, and among the many events being held to remember their struggles is that of the Freedom Riders of the 1960s. 

A half-century ago, courageous civil rights activists rode Greyhound and Trailways buses into the segregated South, enduring brutal beatings by the Ku Klux Klan, fire bombings and the wrath of Birmingham (Alabama) Public Safety Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor. They came to be known as “Freedom Riders.” On Wednesday, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, some of those same Freedom Riders will board buses in front of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building for a symbolic and celebratory returning freedom ride. See more at

Yet today, the struggle for one's civil rights should continue, as there are still those that are being marginalized. Commitment to equal opportunity, embracing the diversity of our people, and inclusion, not segregation, should be more engrained into each of our individual and collective consciousness.

As one article explains: And 50 years after the remarkable accomplishment that was — and is — the Civil Rights Act of 1964, we are closer to a more perfect union but it remains on the horizon. Inequalities still demand to be addressed through law, intention and spirit and we must not rest until equality, or achieving equality, is a reality for all of us. Read more here

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