Donna Christensen on Civil Rights
Delegate to US House (VI-AL)
Ending racial profiling is part of fight for justice.
Christensen adopted the CBC principles:
At the core of the Congressional Black Caucus priorities is its historical fight for civil rights and justice. Among other values, the CBC stresses federal emphasis on the following areas:
Source: Congressional Black Caucus press release 01-CBC8 on Jan 6, 2001
- Equal Justice. The CBC is committed to stopping racial discrimination in all aspects of our lives. We will continue efforts to end immediately the unjust practice of racial profiling, and the racial disparities in sentencing for both drug offenses and death penalty cases.
- Juvenile Justice. We must work with our children before they come in contact with our criminal justice system. The CBC supports conflict resolution and open communication initiatives that serve as preventive measures to violence. It is also the goal of this Caucus to properly address mandatory sentencing guidelines and racial sentencing disparities.
Constitutional Amendment for equal rights by gender.
Christensen co-sponsored a Constitutional Amendment:
Title: Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to equal rights for men and women. Summary: States that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HJR40 on Mar 22, 2001
Issue a commemorative postage stamp of Rosa Parks.
Christensen co-sponsored issuing a commemorative postage stamp of Rosa Parks
EXCERPTS OF RESOLUTION:
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; never came to a vote.
Source: Rosa Parks Stamp (S.2154/H.R.4343) 05-S2154 on Dec 20, 2005
- Whereas in 1955, Rosa Parks's quiet, courageous act changed the United States and its view of African Americans, and redirected the course of history;
- Whereas at that time, in Montgomery, Alabama, as in other cities in the Deep South, the treatment of African Americans on public buses had long been a source of resentment within the African American community;
- Whereas White busdrivers, who were invested with police powers, frequently harassed African Americans;
- Whereas on December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks took her seat in the front of the 'Colored' section of a Montgomery bus, but was asked, along with 3 other African Americans, to relinquish her seat to a White passenger;
- Whereas although the 3 other African American passengers relinquished their seats, Rosa Parks refused to do so, and was arrested for that refusal;
Whereas because Rosa Parks's act of disobedience launched the Montgomery bus boycott, which lasted for 381 days and propelled the civil rights movement into the national consciousness, she is widely known as the mother of the civil rights movement; and
- Now, therefore, be it Resolved that it is the sense of Congress that the United States Postal Service should issue a commemorative postage stamp honoring the late Rosa Parks.
Rated 0% by the HRC, indicating an anti-gay-rights stance.
Christensen scores 0% by the HRC on gay rights
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 HRC scores as follows:
About the HRC (from their website, www.hrc.org):
- 0% - 20%: opposes gay rights (approx. 207 members)
- 20% - 70%: mixed record on gay rights (approx. 84 members)
- 70%-100%: supports gay rights (approx. 177 members)
The Human Rights Campaign represents a grassroots force of more than 700,000 members and supporters nationwide. As the largest national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, HRC envisions an America where GLBT people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
Ever since its founding in 1980, HRC has led the way in promoting fairness for GLBT Americans. HRC is a bipartisan organization that works to advance equality based on sexual orientation and gender expression and identity.
Source: HRC website 06n-HRC on Dec 31, 2006
Recognize Juneteenth as historical end of slavery.
Christensen co-sponsored recognizing Juneteenth as historical end of slavery
A resolution recognizing the historical significance of Juneteenth Independence Day and expressing that history should be regarded as a means for understanding the past and solving the challenges of the future.
Recognizes the historical significance to the nation, and supports the continued celebration, of Juneteenth Independence Day (June 19, 1865, the day Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and that the enslaved African Americans were free). Declares the sense of Congress that:
Legislative Outcome: House versions are H.CON.RES.155 and H.RES.1237; related Senate resolution S.RES.584 counts for sponsorship. Resolution agreed to in Senate, by Unanimous Consent.
Source: S.RES.584 08-SR584 on Jun 4, 2008
- history should be regarded as a means for understanding the past and solving the challenges of the future; and
- the celebration of the end of slavery is an important and enriching part of the history and heritage of the United States.
ENDA: prohibit employment discrimination for gays.
Christensen signed H.R.3017&S.1584
Prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity by covered entities (employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, or joint labor-management committees). Prohibits preferential treatment or quotas. Allows only disparate treatment claims. Prohibits related retaliation.
Makes this Act inapplicable to:
Source: Employment Non-Discrimination Act 09-HR3017 on Jun 24, 2009
- religious organizations; and
- the relationship between the United States and members of the Armed Forces.
Constitutional Amendment for women's equal rights.
Christensen signed Equal Rights Amendment for men and women
JOINT RESOLUTION: Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to equal rights for men and women. Constitutional Amendment: Prohibits denying or abridging equality of rights under the law by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives: That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of 3/4ths of the several States:
- Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
- The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
- This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
[Explanatory note from Wikipedia.com and OnTheIssues.org]:
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution. The ERA was originally written by Alice Paul and, in 1923, it was introduced in the Congress for the first time. In 1972, it passed both houses of Congress, but failed to gain ratification before its June 30, 1982 deadline. This new proposed amendment is identical in wording to the original 1972 proposed amendment. It was proposed in Congress in every session from 1923 through 1970 prior to passing in 1972; and has been re-introduced in Congress in every session since 1982 after its failure at ratification. The current version removes the Congressionally imposed deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, so that if the bill passes Congress, states have no deadline as they did in 1982.
Source: HJR69&SJR21 11-HJR69 on Jun 22, 2011
Sponsored removing deadline for ratification of the ERA.
Christensen co-sponsored Resolution on ERA
Congressional Summary:Eliminates the time limit for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA, which prohibits discrimination on account of sex) proposed to the states in 1972. Declares that such amendment shall be part of the Constitution whenever ratified by the legislatures of 3/4 of the several states.
OnTheIssues explanation:The ERA was originally passed with a deadline of 1979, then extended to 1982. TK states ratified the ERA before that deadline, TK short of the TK required. Hence the ERA failed. The amendment states: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."
Opponent's argument against bill:(Editorial in L.A. Times by Phyllis Schlafly, president of Eagle Forum, April 8, 2007)
The ERA was first introduced in Congress in 1923. For nearly 50 years, all subsequent Congresses had the good judgment to leave it buried in committee.
In 1971, the women's liberation movement demanded a gender-neutral society in which men and women would be treated exactly the same, no matter how reasonable it might be to respect differences between them. Our Stop ERA campaign, over the next 10 years,
Source: S.J.RES.15 & H.J.RES.43 13-HJR43 on May 9, 2013
Enforce against wage discrimination based on gender.
Christensen co-sponsored Paycheck Fairness Act
Congress finds the following:
Source: S.84&H.R.377 13-HR0377 on Jan 23, 2013
- Women have entered the workforce in record numbers over the past 50 years.
- Despite the enactment of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, many women continue to earn significantly lower pay than men for equal work. These pay disparities exist in both the private and governmental sectors. In many instances, the pay disparities can only be due to continued intentional discrimination or the lingering effects of past discrimination.
- The existence of such pay disparities depresses the wages of working families who rely on the wages of all members of the family to make ends meet; and undermines women's retirement security.
- Artificial barriers to the elimination of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex continue to exist decades after the enactment of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. These barriers have resulted because the Equal Pay Act has not worked as Congress originally intended.
The Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have important and unique responsibilities to help ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work.
- The Department of Labor is responsible for investigating and prosecuting equal pay violations, especially systemic violations, and in enforcing all of its mandates.
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the primary enforcement agency for claims made under the Equal Pay Act.
- With a stronger commitment [to enforcement], increased information on wage data and more effective remedies, women will be better able to recognize and enforce their rights.
- Certain employers have already made great strides in eradicating unfair pay disparities in the workplace and their achievements should be recognized.
Recognize 1961 Freedom Riders against segregated buses.
Christensen co-sponsored Congressional Gold Medal for the Freedom Riders
Congressional summary:: A BILL to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Freedom Riders, collectively, in recognition of their unique contribution to Civil Rights, which inspired a revolutionary movement for equality in interstate travel. The Congress finds the following:
Congress shall present a gold medal of appropriate design to the Freedom Riders, collectively. The gold medal shall be given to the Smithsonian Institution, where it will be available for display & research.
Source: H.R.4041 14-H4041 on Feb 11, 2014
- In 1960, the Supreme Court ruled in Boynton v. Virginia that segregated bus and rail stations were unconstitutional.
- The rigid system of racial segregation that prevailed in the United States during the 1960s did not permit a Black person to sit next to a White person on any bus traveling through interstate commerce and in most locations in the South. Bus stations had 'Whites Only' waiting areas and Blacks were not permitted to wait in those areas despite the Supreme Court making it the law of the land.
- The Freedom Riders, with the intent to end segregation in public transportation throughout the South, paved the way for full racial integration of the US transit system.
They overcame prejudice, discrimination, and violence. They sparked a movement that changed our Nation.
- The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) selected 13 volunteers for nonviolent response training. The Freedom Riders used their strategies of nonviolence to challenge the South's Jim Crow laws directly by riding from Washington DC to New Orleans.
- On the morning of May 4, 1961, the 13 Freedom Riders, comprised of 7 Blacks and 6 Whites, boarded two buses, with Blacks and Whites seated together.
- Initially, the Freedom Riders had encountered only minor clashes until a stop in South Carolina. In Rock Hill, an angry mob severely beat John Lewis, now a Congressman from Georgia, when he entered the bus station. Additional mobs fought the group in Alabama and Mississippi.
Re-introduce the Equal Rights Amendment.
Christensen co-sponsored re-introducing the Equal Rights Amendment
A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to equal rights for men and women, which shall be part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of 3/4 of the States:Sen. KENNEDY. "It's a privilege to join my colleagues in reintroducing the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. The ERA is essential to guarantee that the freedoms protected by our Constitution apply equally to men and women. From the beginning of our history as a Nation, women have had to wage a constant, long and difficult battle to win the same basic rights granted to men. That battle goes on
today, since discrimination still continues in many ways.
- Section 1.Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
- Section 2.The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
- Section 3.This article shall take effect 2 years after the date of ratification.
"Despite passage of the Equal Pay Act & the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s, discrimination against women continues to permeate the workforce and many areas of the economy. Today, women earn about 77 cents for each dollar earned by men, and the gap is even greater for women of color. More than 60% of working women are still clustered in a narrow range of traditionally female, traditionally low-paying occupations, and female-headed households continue to dominate the bottom rungs of the economic ladder.
"A stronger effort is clearly needed to finally live up to our commitment of full equality. The ERA alone cannot remedy all discrimination, but it will clearly strengthen the ongoing efforts of women across the country to obtain equal treatment.
"We know from the failed ratification experiences of the past that amending the Constitution to include the ERA will not be easy to achieve. But the women of America deserve no less."
Source: Equal Rights Amendment (S.J.RES.10/H.J.RES.40) 2007-SJR10 on Mar 29, 2007
Honor the 100th anniversary of the NAACP.
Christensen signed bill honoring the 100th anniversary of the NAACP
- Whereas the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAACP, originally known as the National Negro Committee, was founded in New York City on February 12, 1909, the centennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth, by a multiracial group of activists who met in a national conference to discuss the civil and political rights of African-Americans;
- Whereas the NAACP is the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the United States;
- Whereas the mission of the NAACP is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination;
- Whereas the NAACP is committed to achieving its goals through nonviolence;
Whereas the NAACP advances its mission through reliance upon the press, the petition, the ballot, and the courts, and has been persistent in the use of legal and moral persuasion, even in the face of overt and violent racial hostility;
- Whereas the NAACP has used political pressure, marches, demonstrations, and effective lobbying to serve as the voice, as well as the shield, for minority Americans;
Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Congress
Source: SCR.3&HCR.35 2009-SCR3 on Jan 28, 2009
- Recognizes the 100th anniversary of the historic founding of the NAACP.
- Honors and praises the NAACP on the occasion of its anniversary for its work to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of all persons.
Supported legislation on violence against women & safety.
Christensen adopted the Women's Caucus policy agenda:
The teams of the Women’s Caucus are charged with advancing action on their designated issues in a bipartisan manner. Legislation from Team 1: VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN/SAFETY ISSUES:
Source: Women's Caucus Agenda-106th Congress 99-WC1 on Jul 15, 1999
- HR764—Child Abuse & Prevention Enforcement (CAPE) Act—To reduce the incidence of child abuse and neglect, and for other purposes. (Pryce) STATUS: Passed House, 10/5/99
- HR1248—Violence Against Women Act of 1999 (VAWA Reauthorization)—A bill to prevent violence against women. (Morella) STATUS: Hearing held, 9/29/99
- HR1352—Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Victims’ Housing Act—A bill to provide housing assistance to domestic violence victims. (Schakowsky) STATUS: Amended version added to HR 1073 (Homeless Housing Programs Consolidation and Flexibility Act), which passed Banking Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity, 4/15/99
- HR1869—Stalking Prevention and Victim Protection Act of 1999—A bill to expand the prohibition on stalking, and for other purposes.
(Kelly) STATUS: Hearing held, 9/29/99
- HR2130—Date-Rape Prevention Drug Act of 1999—A bill to amend the Controlled Substances Act to add gamma hydroxybutyric acid and ketamine to the schedules of control substances, to provide for a national awareness campaign, and for other purposes. (Upton/Stupak/Jackson-Lee/Bliley) STATUS: Passed House, 10/12/99
- Protection of Women in Prison Act of 1999—A bill to require that facilities receiving federal funding develop and implement policies to restrict the role of male staff with regard to female inmates, address the particular health needs of female inmates, prohibit the routine shackling of pregnant women and women in labor, and provide additional protections to female inmates who report violations in order to protect them from retaliation. (Waters)
- HR3083—The Battered Immigrant Women Protection Act of 1999—A bill to provide protection for battered immigrant women. (Schakowsky/Morella/Jackson-Lee)
Supported funding for women's and disadvantaged businesses.
Christensen adopted the Women's Caucus policy agenda:
The teams of the Women’s Caucus are charged with advancing action on their designated issues in a bipartisan manner. Legislation from Team 9: WOMEN IN BUSINESS:
Source: Women's Caucus Agenda-106th Congress 99-WC12 on Jul 15, 1999
- HR413—PRIME Act—Grant program. Authorizes qualified organizations to provide technical assistance and capacity building services to microenterprise development organizations and programs and to disadvantaged entrepreneurs using funds from the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (Rush/Leach)
- HR1496—Small Business Access and Choice for Entrepreneurs (ACE) Act—A bill to help reduce the number of uninsured self-employed persons, and their employees, by giving them better access to affordable health care options. This bi-partisan bill includes Association Health Plans (AHPs) and 100% tax deductibility of health care costs for the self- employed. AHPs allow the small businesses to join together through their trade associations to obtain the purchasing clout and administrative efficiency that employees
of large employers currently enjoy. The ACE Act also includes a provision for 100% deductibility of health insurance costs for the self-employed. Currently, the self- employed are allowed only a 60% deduction, while large businesses enjoy a full 100% deduction. (Talent/Dooley)
- HR1497—Women’s Business Centers Sustainability Act of 1999—A bill to amend the Small Business Act with respect to the women’s business center program. (Udall-NM) H.RES. 15—A resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding Government procurement access for women-owned businesses. (Kelly)
- HR2334—Access to Contract Equity Act (ACE)—A bill to amend title 10, United States Code, to extend and make improvements to the provisions relating to procurement contract goals for small disadvantaged businesses and certain institutions of higher education, and for other purposes. (Velazquez)
Page last updated: Feb 12, 2016