Blog of Rights

Dennis
Parker

Parker is director of the ACLU Racial Justice Program, leading its efforts in combating discrimination and addressing other issues with a disproportionate impact on communities of color. Parker oversees work to combat the “School-to-Prison” pipeline, the profiling of airline passengers subjected to searches and wrongfully placed on watch lists and the racial bias in the criminal justice system. Prior to joining the ACLU, Parker was the chief of the Civil Rights Bureau in the Office of New York State Attorney General under Eliot Spitzer. He previously spent 14 years at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. Parker has also worked with the New York Legal Aid Society. He teaches Race, Poverty and Constitutional Law at New York Law School. He graduated from Harvard Law School and Middlebury College.

Discovering Hope in Selma

Discovering Hope in Selma

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 11:07am
Even with a ticket, I was unable to get close enough to hear President Obama or see any of the other notable people speaking at the Pettus Bridge in Selma last Saturday. And I was not among those fortunate enough to find space in the historic Brown Memorial Chapel to hear Eric Holder or the host of other celebrated leaders crowding in to commemorate the anniversary of Bloody Sunday. The event was a magnet for the famous, but I managed not to spot a single celebrity in the two days I spent in the welcome warmth of Selma's crowded streets.
Will the Supreme Court Demolish An Iconic Civil Rights Law?

Will the Supreme Court Demolish An Iconic Civil Rights Law?

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 10:16am

We began this week by celebrating the 85th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birth, but today the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in an important case that could knock down a crucial racial and economic pillar of justice built during the…

Believing Our Lying Eyes

Believing Our Lying Eyes

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 2:08pm

We cannot allow Eric Garner's sadly prophetic words, "It stops today," to refer only to his life.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about yesterday's announcement from the Staten Island grand jury is our own surprise at the outcome.

After…

Black and Blue: The All-Too-Often Toxic Relationship Between Communities of Color and Law Enforcement

Black and Blue: The All-Too-Often Toxic Relationship Between Communities of Color and Law Enforcement

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 9:12am

Twenty-five years ago, Director Spike Lee released the film "Do the Right Thing" which illustrated with startling realism the racial tensions and uneasy relationship between police and the communities of color in Brooklyn's Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood.…

A Taxicab Confession for a Post-Ferguson America

A Taxicab Confession for a Post-Ferguson America

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 4:33pm

I had just finished a conversation with a local reporter comparing the events in Ferguson, Missouri with the disproportionate arrests of black people in Shreveport, Louisiana, for nonviolent offenses, when I noticed the driver had taken an interest…

Ferguson Police's PR Stunt Poisons Independent and Impartial Investigation

Ferguson Police's PR Stunt Poisons Independent and Impartial Investigation

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 6:23pm

The tragic killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department has shocked his family, community, and the nation.

The public and the ACLU of Missouri have called for release of the police incident…

Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin

Parents of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis Share Their Loss at the United Nations

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 12:43pm

Sitting in meetings in the United Nation's ornate Wilson Palace by the shores of Lake Geneva in the shadow of the Alps seems an odd place to discuss racial discrimination in the United States.

But the problems of racial discrimination quickly…

Segregation 2.0: America's School-to-Prison Pipeline

Segregation 2.0: America's School-to-Prison Pipeline

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 2:42pm

This piece originally appeared at MSNBC.com.

In an iconic image painted after the Supreme Court's historic Brown v. Board of Education decision, Norman Rockwell depicted a solitary black girl, dressed in a crisp white dress, walking to class…

Groups march near the Staples Center, Los Angeles, to protest Donald Sterling.

Why Donald Sterling and Cliven Bundy Are Not the Problem

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 2:20pm

In her heartfelt dissent in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, which upheld a Michigan ballot initiative forbidding schools from considering race as one factor in admitting students, Justice Sonya Sotomayor wrote "the way to stop discrimination…

Why Should This Matter More Than This

We're All Losers After the Supreme Court's Decision in Schuette

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 10:35am

There are many individuals and groups in Michigan who lost as a result of yesterday's United States Supreme Court decision in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action.

Schuette is widely misunderstood as being a case about affirmative…

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