Blog of Rights

On the Agenda: Week of April 9-13, 2012

By Suzanne Ito, ACLU at 12:02pm

Congress is still in recess this week, but we're looking ahead and planning on some big events later in the month.

Equal Pay Day will fall on April 17 this year, marking how far women, on average, have to work into 2012 to be paid the same as men were paid in 2011. The ACLU is working in conjunction with the Obama administration and the Paycheck Fairness Coalition to roll out material and promote issues of fair pay, including gaining congressional support for the Paycheck Fairness Act and urging the president to sign an executive order banning retaliation for wage disclosure in federal contracting.

Also on April 17, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) will hold a hearing on racial profiling in America. This is the first Senate hearing on profiling in over a decade, since before 9/11. The hearing will explore how profiling harms law enforcement and will focus on the many different faces of racial profiling, including historic racism against African-Americans in community and drug enforcement, the post-9/11 intelligence gathering and racial mapping particularly of Arab Muslims and South Asians and the profiling of Latinos, Asians and other people of color in the context of immigration and border enforcement.

In conjunction with the hearing, the ACLU will join with its coalition partners to bring together communities across the country for a week of advocacy and activism to end the practice of racial profiling. The ACLU and allies will hold a press conference immediately following Durbin's hearing. Speakers will include ACLU clients who have been victims of racial profiling as well as members of Congress. In addition, on April 18, impacted individuals, community and faith leaders, law enforcement officials, and advocates, will meet with members of Congress to urge them to take decisive action by co-sponsoring the End Racial Profiling Act and by putting pressure on the Department of Justice to reform its 2003 Guidance Regarding the Use of Race and Ethnicity by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies.

We will also hold a blog series that week that will feature posts written by ACLU clients and staff who have been victims of racial profiling. The hearing is also timely in light of the April 25 U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments in Arizona v. U.S., the case that will examine the constitutionality of Arizona's anti-immigrant, racial profiling law.

To mark the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in McCleskey v. Kemp on April 22, the ACLU will run a blog series in the coming weeks considering the role of race in the administration of the death penalty.

The week of April 23 is Cyber Week in the House, when debate on H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence and Sharing Protection Act (CISPA), will begin. We're keeping an eye on all cybersecurity bills currently pending before Congress; stay tuned to the blog for more coverage and analysis, and check out our cybersecurity page for more background.

Tuesday, April 10

Prisoners' Rights: The ACLU, the ACLU of Southern California and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department will participate in a press conference to announce the findings of a major new report aimed at combating the rampant violence plaguing Men's Central Jail in Los Angeles.

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