National Black Justice Coalition Submits Letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee Urging Passage of the Equality Act
NBJC says the Equality Act is the most comprehensive expansion of Constitutional rights and protections since Civil Rights Act of 1964
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WASHINGTON, DC — Yesterday, the National Black Justice Coalition submitted a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin and Senator Chuck Grassley urging the Senate to pass the Equality Act. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its first ever hearing on the landmark Equality Act today, Wednesday, March 17th.
Written by David Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, a leading civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Same Gender Loving (LGBTQ+/SGL) people, including those with HIV or AIDS, the letter highlights the bill’s historic expansion of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Johns also addresses how the bill would impact people with intersecting identities, such as race, gender and sexual orientation, by expanding anti-discrimination protections under the Constitution. Johns argues the Equality Act is long overdue and desperately needed to meet the needs of people with intersecting identities.
Additionally, the letter amplifies calls to address generations of violence and discrimination against the transgender community, and elaborates on how individuals with intersecting identities often face the most egregious forms of discrimination.
READ THE FULL LETTER HERE
The letter explains:
“We continue to debate while certain Americans are targeted for surveillance; while taxis and rideshare drivers refuse service based on appearance; while women—who have no explicit civil rights protections in the constitution—are charged more for car servicing or hotel rooms; while children are told they can no longer participate in activities with their friends, because some adults are overly concerned about their genitalia. While we debate, our citizens experience profound and unnecessary hardship, without recourse. You can change that.”
“…Passing the Equality Act is particularly important for people who are both Black and LGBTQ+/SGL. The Equality Act ensures consistent and overarching protections for all LGBTQ+ Americans, many of whom currently live in fear of discrimination because no such laws exist to protect them in key areas including employment, housing, education, credit, public spaces and services, jury service, and federally funded programs. Supplementing the recent Bostock Decision, the Equality Act would ensure that I cannot be fired because someone assumes or knows that I am same gender loving. The Equality Act acknowledges that LGBTQ+/SGL people should be protected by existing civil rights protections provided by laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act.”
If passed, the Equality Act would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federally funded programs, credit, and the jury system.
In 2019, the Equality Act received majority support in the House of Representatives for the first time, but was blocked by a Republican led Senate without a hearing or vote. Earlier this year, the Equality Act was passed by the US House of Representatives. With Democrats leading both chambers of Congress in 2021, the Senate now has the opportunity to transform the bill into law.