Tag Archives: Civil Rights

Emil Guillermo: Obama’s strange Friday–same sex and black churches.

Did you see his phone call to the Jim Obergefell, lead plaintiff on the same-sex case?  And then did you see him in Mother Emanuel singing, “Amazing Grace”?

President Obama was deftly in two different worlds that don’t always mix. Are we on a collision course?

Read my piece in Diverse.

Emil Guillermo: The Asian American fault-line in California is spreading nationally…and turning into an Asian American civil war.

We saw it with last year’s debate on S-CA 5, the bill that would have restored affirmative action.

A group of Asian Americans were aggressively against affirmative action.

Traditional Asian American civil rights groups were for affirmative action.

The aggressive AAs won.

Check out how this is coming down nationally in my new column here:

It’s an Asian American Civil War.



Emil Guillermo: Going back to Indiana? NOT. The pendulum continues to swing on civil rights in America.

The late Michael Jackson sang that song about Indiana. An oldie but goodie.

Going back to Indiana?

The answer now is an unqualified,  “HELL NO!”

Jackson  was from Gary, which is practically Chicago, and a real indication of how segregated the state remains today. More black and urban to the north, more white and ag to the south.

Now Gov. Mike Pence has signed a controversial new law that some say is a revival of Jim Crow.

It’s called “The Freedom of Religion Restoration Act,” and critics say it provides the cover for legal discrimination against more than just religion.

Those who defend the law readily say it’s a way to show concern with same-sex marriage. Those against the law say it creates the opening to discriminate against others. Don’t think it won’t happen.

Now what about the other 19 states with these so-called “religious freedom” laws pending?


This MSNBC map shows the full list of 20 states that have ventured into this arena of legal discrimination:  Indiana,Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma,Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

All the states I won’t be visiting anytime soon.

Now you see how important a tiny little thing like a commemoration of Selma was.

Just as we lurch forward, there are forces that would have our  progress recalled.

And now, we really are going backwards.


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Emil Guillermo on Todd Endo, an Asian American activist at Selma, and at the March on Washington.

AALDEF-Podcast-Marching-And-Talking-With-Todd-EndoAsian-American-Activist-50-Years-After-His-First-March-On-Washington-.jpg          I met Todd Endo in 2013 at the 50th anniversary of MLK’s March on Washington. It’s the event which featured King’s “I have a dream” speech. Endo marched in 1963, and he was at King’s other big march, the one two years later in Selma, 1965.

Funny how few people conflate the DC march and Selma. Or how people don’t really understand that Selma was two years after the “Dream” speech, and a year after the Civil Rights Act. Even after that momentous bit of legislation, 1965 required the Voting Rights Act, which Selma helped bring about.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of Selma, we must constantly relearn the history. Or as we’ve found out, society begins to march backwards.

My piece on Todd Endo at Selma is here.

My podcast with Endo at the 1963 March on Washington is here.



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Modern Politics: Democracy’s S&M game of sequester and Scalia’s vision of voting as racial entitlement

It’s hard to like either Congress or the Obama Administration for this sequestration nonsense. The manufactured budget cuts were intended to be so onerous, both sides would be forced to come to their senses and “do the right” thing.

Instead, the small government advocates in Congress love the the poltiical version of “50 shades…” It’s both sadistic and masochistic to do nothing, though more sadistic because the poor are getting hurt more than the wealthy. The only action Congress’ can muster is to finger-point at President Obama.

Meanwhile, the blame game also seems to suit the president just fine for now, though he should be pointing out that there’s a better way toward an improved economy than the forced austerity of sequester (look how that worked in Europe).  Obama should be making the case that more government spending actually propels the middle class and the country toward prosperity. And that government as an employer can be more effective than the private sector in getting us back on track.

But that’s way too logical for the GOP, which holds on to discredited trickle down ideas that justify tax breaks for the rich while making all the rest of us pay.

So far, I don’t’ sense much indignation anywhere. More of a resignation that this is how it works.

That’s too bad. Because that is bad government. Government that is worth hating. But it’s a slow burn. The pain is coming over time as the federal money flow stops. Will we appreciate so-called “big government” then? Or will the “small government” folks win out and force all of us to accept a diminished democracy?


So now that we’re so disgusted with Congress, should we trust it to preserve our basic right in America—the right to vote?

Some members of the Supreme Court apparently don’t think so, and based on the SCOTUS hearing last week in Shelby vs. Holder, it looks like the court may strike down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.

Justice Antonin Scalia made the case that Congress, which has upheld the Voting Rights Act since 1965, has only done so because politicians are too afraid to vote against it. Afraid to be racist?  Not Scalia, who referred to the Voting Rights Act as a “racial entitlement.”

Entitlement? Since when does voting become like Medicaid and Social Security?

See my piece at www.aaldef.org/blog