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.

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.
President Barack Obama

What Does It Take To Truly Be "My Brother's Keeper"

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 3:38pm

A year ago, Kyle Thompson a young, Black, freshman was led away from his school in handcuffs and ultimately expelled from school. His offense? Mistakenly thinking that his teacher's attempt to take a note for him was a joke and playfully trying to…

The Promise and Hope of Detroit

The Promise and Hope of Detroit

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 11:19am

"Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world", as Percy Bysshe Shelley put it. I was reminded of this power that poetry has to illuminate social and political realities while reading Jamaal May's "There are Birds Here." May was born and raised…

Mandela Faced the "Goliath" of Racial Discrimination

Mandela Faced the "Goliath" of Racial Discrimination

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 3:21pm

Nelson Mandela's life is a rebuke to oppression and to those who would respond with frustrated resignation or hatred. It is difficult to imagine a more unlikely success story against seemingly impossible odds. South Africa's system of apartheid seemed…

Scottsboro Boys Exonerated, But Troubling Legacy Remains for Black Men

Scottsboro Boys Exonerated, But Troubling Legacy Remains for Black Men

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 4:01pm

The Alabama Board of Pardons and Parole's posthumous pardon today of the last of the black men wrongly convicted of the rape of two white women 82 years ago in Scottsboro, Alabama seems to write the final chapter of a sorry story that epitomizes the…

Shopping While Black: Harms Go Deeper Than You Think

Shopping While Black: Harms Go Deeper Than You Think

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 12:03pm

Just in case we need reminders that too many people share the bias linking all black people with criminality, New York newspapers over the last two weeks were filled with stories of Black and Latino shoppers who were questioned and detained for suspicion…

The Fierce Urgency of Now

The Fierce Urgency of Now

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 12:09pm

For me, few anniversaries inspire as much ambivalence as the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Billed as the "March for Jobs and Freedom," the event stands as both a shining example of the promise of the civil rights era and a reminder of…

An important step towards holding Wall Street accountable

An important step towards holding Wall Street accountable

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program & Larry Schwartztol, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 5:14pm

In a historic ruling, today a judge gave us the green light to move forward with a case alleging that Morgan Stanley discriminated against black homeowners in the Detroit area in violation of the Fair Housing Act ("FHA").

"Morgan Stanley—as…

Trusting Law Enforcement After the Trayvon Tragedy

Trusting Law Enforcement After the Trayvon Tragedy

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 12:14pm

The fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012, while not the first act of senseless violence of its kind, evoked a wide array of emotions including sadness, anger, and fear. For many of us, hearing the verdict two days ago felt…

Solution to Campus Diversity Problem Isn't Segregation Everywhere Else

Solution to Campus Diversity Problem Isn't Segregation Everywhere Else

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program & Courtney Bowie, Racial Justice Program at 6:04pm

Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in the university admissions case, Fisher v. University of Texas. In it, the Court left intact the important principle that universities have a compelling interest in a diverse student body,…

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