civil rights

Equality Florida

The United States Supreme Court ruled Monday that employers may not discriminate against LGBTQ employees because of their sexual orientation.

In Florida, a bill that offered legal protection to LGBTQ people has failed year after year in the state Legislature. State Rep. Holly Raschein, R-Key Largo, has been a sponsor and champion for that bill.

It has been more than two years since the nation's most powerful financial watchdog examined the companies that manage about $1.5 trillion of federal student loans owed by 43 million borrowers.

On Thursday, two members of the Senate Banking Committee said they're exasperated with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's continuing failure to pursue mounting problems with the way student loans are handled.

The third Monday in January is a U.S. federal holiday honoring the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., but two Southern states — Alabama and Mississippi — also use the day to celebrate Gen. Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate forces during the Civil War.

Rep. John Lewis is the last living speaker from the March on Washington, the 1963 landmark civil rights protest that culminated with Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

But before Lewis dedicated his life to fighting for racial equality, he grew up in Troy, Ala., with dreams of becoming a different kind of orator.

"When I was very young, I wanted to preach the gospel," Lewis said on a visit to StoryCorps in February 2018.

He wanted to be a minister. His nearest congregation was the family livestock.

Ben Crump
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

Nationally recognized civil rights attorney Ben Crump is demanding answers from law enforcement on behalf of the family of a Broward County teen who drowned last spring.

Georgia Rep. John Lewis, an icon of the civil rights movement, has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. The Democratic congressman will stay in office while he undergoes treatment, his office announced on Sunday.

"I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now," Lewis said in a statement.

The torch-wielding racists who marched on Charlottesville, Va., two years ago showed the ugly new face of the far right. Their deadly rally shocked the nation into paying attention to how racial hatred could turn into organized violence.

But if 2017 was the wake-up call, 2019 was the year the call was answered.

A federal judge on Tuesday excoriated lawyers representing Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration, accusing the state of trying to "run out the clock" to keep felons from voting in next year's elections.

For almost three decades, Jared Taylor has been publishing his ideas about race at the American Renaissance magazine and now at a website called AmRen, which is considered a mouthpiece for white supremacist ideology.

"The races are not identical and equivalent," says Taylor, who calls himself a "race realist" and rejects the white supremacist label. "There are patterns of difference. But this is now something that's considered a huge, hateful taboo in the United States."

Josh Ritchie / South Florida Sun Sentinel

W. George Allen, a hugely influential figure in Broward history and its black community, has died, his family confirmed Thursday. He was 83.

In 1962, Allen became the first African-American to graduate from the University of Florida. He once said: “I was admitted to Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley, but I’m a native Floridian, and I felt that somebody had to integrate the University of Florida. The racists told me I didn’t belong there and I’d never graduate.”

The Trump administration is moving to weaken the civil rights-era Fair Housing Act — making it much harder to bring lawsuits alleging discrimination in housing, according to housing advocates. But conservative groups applaud the move and say it would stop frivolous lawsuits.

Civil rights groups are hoping a federal judge will strike down a new Florida law that they say does not properly carry out a constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences.

For the first time in a decade Congress will hold a hearing Wednesday on the subject of reparations for the descendants of slaves in the United States, a topic that has gained traction in the run-up to the 2020 elections.

The hearing is set for June 19, also known as "Juneteenth," the day when in 1865 former enslaved people in Texas first learned that they had been emancipated two years earlier.

VIRGINIA KEY BEACH PARK

After years of standstill, Virginia Key Beach Park took a step toward constructing its proposed civil rights museum.

Miami leaders unanimously passed a resolution Thursday, committing to help the park with the museum’s operational costs post-construction. The resolution prompts the release of funds allotted over 10 years ago from Miami-Dade County totaling about $20.5 million for construction of the museum.

A Jacksonville state representative’s bill aimed at easing the burden on victims of housing discrimination who are pursuing civil action passed unanimously in its first committee stop this week.

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