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.
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…

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…

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…

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…

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,…

Celebrating Black History Month and Protecting Voting Rights

Celebrating Black History Month and Protecting Voting Rights

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 2:07pm

Like many Americans who watched President Obama's State of the Union address, I was moved by Desiline Victor, the 102 year-old African American woman who was forced to endure a six hour wait in order to vote in the 2012 presidential election. It is…

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…

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…

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…

Statistics image