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.

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 reaction to this terrible act shows we've come a long way since the Supreme Court ruled that preserving the racial integrity of its citizens does not justify Virginia's law banning people of different races from marrying. Yet that this act could happen at all, especially by an official of the state of Louisiana, is still sobering.
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…

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…

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.…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Statistics image