Brothers and Sisters,
On Wednesday, Aug. 28, communities across the country, and indeed across the world, will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights March on Washington D.C.
The historic march has been called many names over the years, but the original name was the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom,” and these were the original demands of the marchers.
-Meaningful Civil Rights Laws
-Massive Federal Works Program
-Full and Fair Employment
-The Right to Vote
-Adequate Integrated Education
The nature of the demands that the marchers had then are very similar to the list of values and issues that the Labor Movement and our coalition partners continue to fight for today.
Locally, Organizing for Action, led by Coalition member Kevin Perkins, is putting together an event to commemorate Dr. King’s legacy, and reaffirm our commitment to finishing the work that he and the Civil Right’s movement set out to accomplish 50 years ago. Numerous Community Coalition partners have placed their name on this event too in solidarity with the spirit of the anniversary.
How many members can your local contribute to this historic anniversary? Come on, give us everything you got– and don’t forget to showcase your local’s pride by wearing your union T-shirt and other gear.
Who: Quad Cities Community
What: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech
Where: Lafayette Park (4th St and Gaines) Davenport, IA
Flyer: See attached
(Editor’s Note: Ari Berman is a friend of Blog for Iowa, and he passed along this note which may be of interest to readers).
I wanted to pass on a few timely new stories that I thought would be of interest:
The legal challenges to North Carolina’s sweeping new voting restrictions
The key factors that will decide the fate of voting rights in NC and nationally
And a new story in the latest issue of The Nation about the importance of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the March on Washington on contemporary civil rights organizing. As I write in the new piece, “so many of the issues that gave rise to the March on Washington fifty years ago remain unfulfilled or under siege today.”
Thanks for reading
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 14, 2013
DOD Announces Same-Sex Spouse Benefits
WASHINGTON, D.C.– Today, the Department of Defense announced its plan to extend benefits to same-sex spouses of uniformed service members and Department of Defense civilian employees.
After a review of the department’s benefit policies following the Supreme Court’s ruling that Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, and in consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies, the Defense Department will make spousal and family benefits available no later than Sept. 3, 2013, regardless of sexual orientation, as long as service member-sponsors provide a valid marriage certificate.
The Department of Defense remains committed to ensuring that all men and women who serve in the U.S. military, and their families, are treated fairly and equally as the law directs.
Entitlements such as TRICARE enrollment, basic allowance for housing (BAH) and family separation allowance are retroactive to the date of the Supreme Court’s decision. Any claims to entitlements before that date will not be granted. For those members married after June 26, 2013, entitlements begin at the date of marriage.
We recognize that same-sex military couples who are not stationed in a jurisdiction that permits same-sex marriage would have to travel to another jurisdiction to marry. That is why the department will implement policies to allow military personnel in such a relationship non-chargeable leave for the purpose of traveling to a jurisdiction where such a marriage may occur. This will provide accelerated access to the full range of benefits offered to married military couples throughout the department, and help level the playing field between opposite-sex and same-sex couples seeking to be married.
For civilian benefits administered government-wide to federal employees, the Department of Defense will follow the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Labor’s guidance to ensure that the same benefits currently available to heterosexual spouses are also available to legally married same-sex spouses.
Read the implementation memo from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel online as well as further guidance on extending benefits to same-sex spouses of military members from Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica Wright.
Today at the beginning of the Iowa Senate workday, Senator Dennis Guth of Klemme took advantage of “points of personal privilege” to make horrific comments about the LGBT community, describing how he feels he and his family have been hurt and how civilizations have fallen by what he describes as the “homosexual lifestyle.” Not only did Sen. Guth dismiss the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community as a “lifestyle,” he then went on to say that it was “a lie.”
In a vitriolic rant, Senator Guth spread lies and ignorance at the Iowa State Capitol today:
“There are health risks that my family incurs because of the increase of sexually transmitted infections that this lifestyle invites. For example, there are more and more medical tests required before giving blood or giving birth.”
Please donate $100 today to help us fight back against these ignorant and dangerous lies.
Senator Guth, how dare you? How dare you denigrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens of Iowa? How dare you hurt our family and friends with your public tirade? How dare you perpetrate the myths and the misinformation that have fueled the discrimination, prejudice and hostility that has for so long impacted our community?
Iowa has stood as a beacon of justice and fairness as the third state in the nation to embrace marriage equality. More than 6,000 gay and lesbian couples have been married in our state. We live here, we work, we pay our taxes, we VOTE, we raise our families, we go to church and we contribute a great deal to our neighborhoods and communities.
And, Senator Guth, today you chose to infect the business of the legislature with your painful and homophobic rant. Shame on you, Senator Guth! Shame on you!
Please call or email Senator Guth today and tell him that your family is not “a lie.” Demand an apology for his remarks and urge him to represent ALL of his constituents.
Senator Guth’s diatribe reminds us that even though we celebrate the freedom to marry in Iowa, even though we move equality forward every day, even though the world is changing and we are winning–we must remain vigilant. We must continue to use our voices and our stories to change hearts and minds. We must never forget where we came from or where we are going. As long as there is one person in Iowa who carries such fear and ignorance, our job is not over.
Please contribute $100 today to ensure that our fight against these attacks continues. One Iowa will not rest until despicable comments like these from our public servants are no longer accepted.
But we’re not the only people speaking out against Senator Guth’s shameful comments.
Married couple Heather Yeoman and Rachel Olson, Lake Mills residents, responded:
“It is clear that Senator Guth, our so-called ‘representative’ does not value our family nor the love and commitment we have for one another. I am disgusted and ashamed of my Senator for spreading such ignorant and hurtful lies about our family and countless other Iowa families. Make no mistake, Senator—our marriage and our love is not a lie.”
Joy M. Newcom, District 4 resident from Forest City, responded:
“As an Iowan, a former educator and a mother, I am ashamed of my Senator and his horrific comments about the LGBT community. LGBT people are a part of my extended family. They are my friends and have been my coworkers. They are students I have taught and continue to respect for the manner in which they live their lives today. These comments, parroted from erroneous ideology from anti-gay groups, are beyond outrageous. They are dangerous lies.
Senator Guth, we, the Newcom family, are your constituents and your fellow Iowans. You claim to be our public servant, but you are hurting our community by spreading lies posed as science. You are breeding a culture of injustice for people we live with and work alongside. Please stop. You were not elected to legislate your morality or to spread falsehoods.”
So we ask you to please take action today. Stand up for Heather and Rachel and the Newcom Family. They deserve a state Senator who doesn’t attack his constituents, but rather embraces all families.
Is that too much to ask?
Donna Red Wing
One Iowa Executive Director
These are the words of Dr. King one day before he was killed by an assassin.
“Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation.”
- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
Memphis, TN, April 3, 1968
Four years ago today the Iowa Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Mark S. Cady:
“‘Our responsibility, however, is to protect constitutional rights of individuals from legislative enactments that have denied those rights, even when the rights have not yet been broadly accepted, were at one time unimagined, or challenge a deeply ingrained practice or law viewed to be impervious to the passage of time.’
The Court noted that Iowa has a long history of progressive thought on civil rights. Seventeen years before the Dred Scott decision, the Iowa Supreme Court “refused to treat a human being as property to enforce a contract for slavery and held our laws must extend equal protection to persons of all races and conditions.” Eighty-six years before “separate but equal” was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled such practices unconstitutional in Iowa. In 1869, Iowa was the first state in the union to admit women to the bar and allow them to practice law.”
Today, Iowans can be proud that our state has advanced the cause of equality for Iowa and the nation.
From the Physicians For Social Responsibility – Iowa Chapter website:
Save the UI Center for Human Rights (UICHR) Campaign
The University of Iowa plans to close the UICHR.in a decision made without input from UI students, faculty, and the state-wide Iowa community.
Over more that the last decade, Iowa PSR and UICHR have been key allies in a number of joint educational programs.
Iowa PSR will help organize a full page Signature Ad in local newspapers to oppose dissolution of the UICHR.
The date of publication will be International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2012. We need your donations now help publish the Ad.
Go here to
- donate online or by check
- sign on, to the Ad
- provide a quote that may be used in the Ad
- read more about the UICHR
- email UI President & Provost
- contact UICHR
More on the Campaign
December 10th marks the 64th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the end of World War II. The UI Center for Human Rights (UICHR) has worked tirelessly for over 12 years to advance recognition and understanding of, and support for human rights and social justice across Iowa. But now the University seeks to close the Center. This is a dangerous proposal.
Over its lifetime, the UICHR has had a role in countless events in Iowa City, around the state and world, having to do with social justice and human rights. The UICHR has been a strong partner for PSR, the UNA, Veterans for Peace, many student organizations, as well as for Johnson County and Iowa City officials, and many, many others all across Iowa. Together we promoted the rights of future generations to a healthy, life-supporting environment, the rights of women, workers, and immigrants, and addressed the perils of widening inequality, social injustice, and violence. Together our voices and impacts have been stronger and more effective.
Yet, the status of human rights around the world and here in the US remain perilously fragile. Outside the Center, public discourse and interactions are increasingly influenced by those who would commoditize every human encounter or endeavor; media sources too often promote violence over understanding and respect, divide rather than join people in shared aspirations. The voices and influence of people like those working in the Center provide a counter weight to this coarsening of our humanity. We cannot afford to loose them.
The UICHR Board and Staff want to make sure that everyone in the area and across the state is aware of the impending closure of the Center and what it’s loss would mean to the wider community.
I just got an email from my county party leader that SOS Matt Schultz will be following the ALEC lead and propose the Voter Photo ID bill for Iowa. This is one of ALEC model legislation bills aimed at supressing voter turnout. As many know the lower the voter turnout, the better the chances Republicans will win. That is because Democrats tend to be less reliable voters. If they can be discouraged in any way, then that lowers the possibility they will vote.
So the email contained a response from the Iowa Democratic Party:
Voter ID’s hidden costs would pile up
DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz has introduced a new voter ID bill, which would enact unnecessary barriers to voting and potentially cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
“Voter fraud is not and never has been a problem in Iowa, this latest bill is just as misguided and unnecessary as previous attempts in the state,” said Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky. “While it’s easy for Secretary Schultz to downplay the cost of this restrictive law in a press conference, he’s ignoring the hidden costs that taxpayers will needlessly be stuck with.”
During today’s press conference Schultz said there would only be a “nominal” cost for printing flyers, which would be the only method of educating voters about the change in Iowa law. This ignores the fact that similar bills have cost other states millions to implement.
In Wisconsin, for example, where Republicans passed a similar law last year, it is estimated to cost taxpayers nearly $6 million. Those costs include a substantial education program, $2 million to cover additional employees at the Department of Transportation and the cost of free IDs, and over $1.6 million to re-issue student IDs that do not comply with the new law.
Iowa would likely see many of these same costs. Under the new voter ID bill, college and university IDs are only valid if they include an expiration date, something that is not standard practice in the state and would require that IDs be updated before they are valid. During the press conference even Secretary of State Schultz admitted that he did not know how many Iowans do not have an ID to vote or how many would seek a free ID under this proposal.
Secretary Schultz also failed to address the difficulty some Iowans may have in obtaining a free ID. If someone does not have an ID already, they would need to provide identification like a birth certificate or passport – both of which would not be free – before receiving their ID to vote.
“It’s clear that there was very little thought given to the cost of this bill and its impact on voting in the state. We cannot waste millions of dollars that could otherwise be invested in education, infrastructure, or even programs to register more Iowans to vote,” added Dvorsky.
“Unfortunately, this is part of a larger campaign by Republican leaders to restrict voting and damage democracy across the country.”
IDP left out one important phrase “government agency issued photo ID.” For my disabled wife, this is a big deal if I were not available. Such IDs would need to be kept current. Since she can’t drive and the issuing offices are 30, 20, 25 and 40+ miles away it would be a major undertaking for her to keep such an ID up.
Schulz proposed this law last year and was taken to task by many Republican auditors. One such story was covered by blogforiowa last year. At a board of supervisors meeting in Cerro Gordo County, county auditor Ken Kline was asked about the bill and replied:
“He [Kline] was asked by a constituent at a Board of Supervisors meeting what he thought of the proposed law.
“Am I opposed to it? No. But what problem are we solving?” asked Kline.
He said to his knowledge, Iowa never had a problem of someone voting in someone else’s place.”
So it is a solution looking for a problem that will waste a ton of money. All this just for Matt Schultz to curry favor with the filthy rich that run ALEC and the Tea Party. Look for a companion bill to suppress student voting if this one passes.
And the funny thing is that if you have already falsified your ID, a photo is not going to stop you from voting under that false ID. So it doesn’t even solve the problem it purports to.
by Molly Regan
On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks got on a bus and sat down. When she was told by a white man to move to the back of the bus, she refused, and was subsequently arrested.
“Our mistreatment was just not right, and I was tired of it,” wrote Ms. Parks in her book, Quiet Strength, (Zondervan Publishing House, 1994). “I kept thinking about my mother and my grandparents, and how strong they were. I knew there was a possibility of being mistreated, but an opportunity was being given to me to do what I had asked of others.”
This defiant act of courage set off a flurry of incidents which resulted in violence and death over the next 10 years, and eventually led to the passage of the CIVIL RIGHTS ACT in 1965.
For you see, Ms. Rosa Parks was a black woman who was not allowed, in the Alabama of 1955, to ride on public transportation with the same human dignity that most of us today take for granted.
This small woman had in the past not been an overtly outspoken person regarding the shamefulness of segregation. But, on that December day in 1955, she defied the law and in her quiet way, paved a path for others to follow.
This woman from a different place and time is my hero. She exemplifies the tenacity of a fed up spirit who knew it was then that she needed to fulfill her destiny. Millions of others and I are eternally grateful.
So, to those of you who too, are fed up with whatever it is that makes your eyes narrow and your pulse rise, put yourself out there and do something about it.
Ms. Rosa Parks passed away October 24th, 2005
We salute your spirit of righteousness, Ms. Parks.