Civil Rights Leaders Vow to Oppose Threats to Racial Justice Under Trump Presidency

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Phone: 202-662-8600

Civil Rights Leaders Vow to Oppose Threats to Racial Justice Under Trump Presidency

Discriminatory Voting Laws, Voter Intimidation Appear To Have Taken A Toll

NEW YORK - Seven leading civil rights organizations today issued the following statement in response to the 2016 Presidential and Congressional election:

“As civil rights leaders working for racial justice and economic opportunity, we join much of the nation in our apprehension about the incoming administration.  We cannot ignore that the campaign was characterized by divisive racial rhetoric, and has emboldened white supremacists across the country.  The wave of hate crimes sweeping the country, with perpetrators invoking the name of the President-elect, is an ill omen, as is the appointment of a chief strategist with an appalling record of promoting racial, anti-Semitic and anti-woman rhetoric.”

“We were appalled by the calls for intimidation of voters at urban and rural polling places and will not forget. Voter suppression had a measurable effect on elections in a number of states. While racial voter suppression was widespread, voter suppression was generational as well. Millennials, as a multiracial demographic, also were targeted by strict ID laws and poll closings affecting millions of youth, college and high school students, as well as young professionals. Addressing this  threat to our most vulnerable citizens and our still young democracy will be a top priority for our organizations in the coming weeks and months.”

“We have a responsibility to vigorously oppose any policies or actions which are inconsistent with our agenda or would serve to turn back the clock on hard-fought gains.  America’s advance toward diversity is not interrupted by the results of Tuesday’s election.”

“We will continue to battle discrimination, racial injustice and barriers to equal opportunity as we have done for decades. As always, we will advocate for the next President of the United States to honor and prioritize the Constitutional guarantee of equal protection, due process and full citizenship for every American. The President-elect needs to begin by repudiating hate crimes and attacks undertaken in his name and by announcing a commitment to abandon the divisive rhetoric and policy proposals of his campaign that are inconsistent with equality and opportunity for all.”

“Having earned a minority of the popular vote, elected with the support of only about a quarter percent of the adult population, the President-elect must recognize the challenge of his extremely narrow appeal to the American people. His obligation is to be President for All Americans.”

“Other important races on the ballot were significant for the advancement of the nation.  While Congress remains in control of leaders with a demonstrated history of obstructionism, we take encouragement from the election of the most diverse Congress in United States history.  When the 115th United States Congress is seated in January, it will include 100 women – notably Kamala Harris among the 23 elected to the Senate — and the largest-ever Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.”

"We encourage every American to stand firm in the fight for the protection of civil rights and in opposition to racism and hate.”

The statement was issued jointly by the following (listed alphabetically):

Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

Melanie Campbell, President and CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Convener, Black Women’s Roundtable

A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy

Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Wade Henderson, President and CEO, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Marc H. Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League

The Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President, National Action Network

CONTACTS:
Daniel Valentine (NAACP): dvalentine@naacpnet.org | (410) 580-5777
Enid Doggett (National Coalition on Black Civic Participation): enid@insprmedia.com | 202- 246-3982
Stacie B. Burgess (Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law): sburgess@lawyerscommittee.org | 202-662-8317
Scott Simpson (Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights) simpson@civilrights.org | 202-466-2061
Kelly Landis (NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund) klandis@naacpldf.org | 202-216-5565
Teresa Candori (National Urban League):  tcandori@nul.org | 212-558-5362
Rachel Noerdlinger (National Action Network):  rnoerdlinger@mercuryllc.com | 347- 821-9678

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The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers' Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law.

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