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.

Honoring the Women of the Civil Rights Movement

Honoring the Women of the Civil Rights Movement

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 3:27pm
History month celebrations, like those honoring African-Americans and women, are sometimes criticized as being ineffective ways of countering the tendency to marginalize the vital role of blacks and women in shaping American culture. Instead of assuring that the stories of groups who have been excluded become integral parts of the greater national story, critics suggest that history months only succeed in ghettoizing the history of blacks and women, limiting their significance to only one month out of the year and largely ignoring them throughout the rest of the year. That criticism seems well-founded when you look at the way history months are often celebrated with books and slide shows and exhibits taken out of boxes and displayed like holiday decorations, only to be returned to storage for next year.

Loving v. Virginia Still Relevant 40 Years Later

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 3:51pm

More than 40 years after the U.S. Supreme Court declared laws barring interracial marriage unconstitutional, it was upsetting to learn that a Louisiana justice of the peace has denied a marriage license to an interracial couple. On one hand, the public's…

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…

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…

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…

Racial Profiling is an Injustice Against Us All

Racial Profiling is an Injustice Against Us All

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 3:32pm

The announcement that the U.S. Justice Department has charged members of the East Haven, Connecticut Police Department with violating the civil rights of Latinos is both good news and deeply disturbing. The investigation of improper targeting by local…

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…

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…

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…

"We have come some of the way, not nearly all, there is much yet to do."

"We have come some of the way, not nearly all, there is much yet to do."

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 9:55am

Assessing the legacy of the Fair Housing Act on its 45th Anniversary.

As we celebrate the 45th anniversary of the landmark Fair Housing Act, it is easy to forget how close we came to being denied the benefit of that landmark legislation. After…

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