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.

Living in Parallel Worlds

Living in Parallel Worlds

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

It is difficult to convey how painful it is to live in a world in which nothing you do is as important as the color of your skin.

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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