Elizabeth Warren on Civil Rights

Massachusetts Senator; former head of CFPB; Dem. Presidential Challenger


Every policy should be examined in terms of racial realities

Every policy, not just those involving housing or higher education, should be examined in terms of the current racial realities. Every policy tool, including radically explicit tools, should be examined to see how it might help racial inequalities. And that's what I tried to do during my campaign. Every time I drew up a new plan for addressing one of the items on the long list of problems we face-from climate change to closing the pay gap for women, I made sure to find out everything I could about how racial inequities figured into the problems and then think about my plans in terms of race. To my mind that's how a race conscious approach to policy ought to work.
Source: Persist, by Elizabeth Warren, p.187-188 , May 4, 2021

Fight sexism by calling it out over and over

Q: How, in 2020, do we overcome sexism?

WARREN: It's a question we all struggle with every day. It's one that is really tough for women candidates. If you complain about it, then you're whining. And if you don't complain about it, the rest of the women think, "What planet are you living on?" I think it's going to take calling it out. You've just got to name it. You've got to name it over and over and over, and keep saying, "This isn't right; look what you've done; we've got to change this."

Source: CNN Town Hall on eve of 2020 S. C. primary , Feb 20, 2020

Focus on environment justice for people of color

I want to make sure that the question of environmental justice gets more than a glancing blow because for generations, toxic waste dumps, polluting factories have been located in or near communities of color. The consequences are felt in the health of African-American babies, in the health of seniors, people with compromised immune systems. It's felt economically. I have a commitment of a trillion dollars to repair the damage that this nation has permitted to inflict on communities of color.
Source: 9th Democrat 2020 primary debate, in Las Vegas Nevada , Feb 19, 2020

Trans-gender community has been marginalized

Q: At least 22 transgender people were killed in the United States this year. Each of you have said you would push for the passage of the Equality Act, a comprehensive LGBTQ Civil Rights Bill. But if elected, what more would you do to stop violence against transgender people?

Warren: The transgender community has been marginalized in every way possible. And one thing that the president of the United States can do is lift up attention, lift up their voices, lift up their lives. Here's a promise I made: I will go to the Rose Garden once every year to read the names of transgender women of people of color who have been killed in the past year. I will make sure that we read their names so that as a nation we are forced to address the particular vulnerability. I will change the rules now that put people in prison based on their birth sex identification rather than their current identification. I will do everything I can to make sure that we are in America that leaves no one behind.

Source: Newshour/Politico/PBS December Democratic primary debate , Dec 19, 2019

Federal government helped create racial divide, must fix it

Warren described how governments and powerful corporations use racism and racial injustice as a wedge to divide working-class people. She argued that it was time for the nation's policies to include specific correctives to address discrimination. "Don't talk about race-neutral laws," she said. "The federal government helped create the racial divide in this country through decades of active, state-sponsored discrimination, and that means the federal government has a responsibility to fix it."
Source: San Juan Daily Star on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Nov 25, 2019

If you believe in one-man-one-woman, marry just one woman!

Q: Let's say you're on the campaign trail and a supporter says, "My faith teaches me that marriage is between one man and one woman." What is your response?

WARREN: I'm going to assume it's a guy who said that and I'm going to say, "Then just marry one woman. I'm cool with that, assuming you can find one."

Q: You grew up conservative in a conservative household. You were Republican by party for many years. Was there ever a time that you felt differently about this issue, in particular, about same-sex marriage?

WARREN: No, I don't think so. I mean, it may have been the case; I don't have notes from when I was a little kid. To me, it's about what I learned in the church I grew up in. First song I ever remember singing is, "They are yellow, black, and white; they are precious in his sight; Jesus loves all the children of the world." And to me, that is the heart of it--it truly is about the preciousness of each and every life. It is about the worth of every human being.

Source: CNN LGBT Town Hall 2020 , Oct 10, 2019

White supremacist racism is domestic terrorism

Q: How are you going to combat the rise of white supremacy?

WARREN: We need to call out white supremacy for what it is: domestic terrorism. And it poses a threat to the United States of America. We live in a country now where the president is advancing environmental racism, economic racism, criminal justice racism, health care racism. The way we do better is to fight back and show something better.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

Supports commission investigating reparations for slavery

At Al Sharpton's National Action Network convention in New York City, most of the 2020 contenders affirmed their support for a bill that would create a commission to study reparations for African-Americans. "When I am elected president, I will sign that bill." Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., told Sharpton.

Elizabeth Warren said she would support the [commission to study reparations] bill as well.

Source: CNBC: 2019 National Action Network & 2020 Democratic primary , Apr 5, 2019

Reparations for slavery and to Native Americans

Warren expanded on an already-radical proposal on Friday, telling reporters that Native Americans should be "part of the conversation" on reparations for African-Americans -- a move that threatens to bring back her own history with Native Americans. Asked about her support for reparations for black Americans affected by slavery, Warren highlighted the country's "ugly history of racism. We need to confront it head on."

Warren had said in a statement to The New York Times this week that "we must confront the dark history of slavery and government-sanctioned discrimination in this country that has had many consequences, including undermining the ability of black families to build wealth in America for generations. We need systemic, structural changes to address that."

Her fellow 2020 hopefuls Kamala Harris and Julian Castro have come out in favor of reparations for African Americans but have so far not gone as far as Warren in opening the door to reparations for Native Americans.

Source: Fox News on 2020 Democratic primary hopefuls , Feb 23, 2019

Battle bigotry--wherever, whenever, whatever

The first part of our fight is to battle bigotry--wherever, whenever, whatever. This is a no-compromise principle. It is the kind of core, foundational, who-we-are point that we must stand up and make every time it's necessary.

Our job is to stand up, speak out, fight back. At community meetings and outreach programs. Online, in parks and at community centers, in churches, temples, and mosques. All of us together, we must fight back.

Source: Elizabeth Warren , Apr 18, 2017

Using bigotry & division distracts from real change

Trump and his campaign have embraced it all. Racial hatred. Religious bigotry. Attacks on immigrants, on women, on gays. A deceitful and ugly blame game that says, whatever worries you, the answer is to blame that other group, and don't put any energy into making real change.

When we turn on each other, bankers can run our economy for Wall Street, oil companies can fight off clean energy, and giant corporations can ship the last good jobs overseas.

Source: Speech at 2016 Democratic National Convention , Jul 26, 2016

Build future for ALL our kids, including transgendered

[At one campaign event, I talked about] building a future for all our kids. A man in his 60s came over to me. He was thin, with the leathery skin of someone who had worked outside for many years. He wore a frayed Vietnam vet's cap. He didn't smile, and his voice was flat. I looked for clues--maybe a little hostile? I wasn't sure. "Yeah, you talk about building a future," he said. "But what about transgender?" Now he looked full-on angry.

Wow. That seemed to fall out of the sky. I felt the instinctive need to crouch. I said just as flatly: "We build a future for all our children. And that means transgender children. ALL our children--no exceptions."

He held my gaze for a moment and then said: "Damn right." He went on to explain that he had a grown son who was transgender. "In a million years you'll never know the special kind of hell he has gone though. I want somebody who fights and doesn't back off."

I relaxed. A future for all our kids, every one. THIS was a fight I was ready for.

Source: A Fighting Chance, by Elizabeth Warren, p.229 , Apr 22, 2014

Native American heritage from mother in Oklahoma territory

As a kid, I had learned about my Native American background the same way every kid learns about who they are: from family. I never questioned my family's stories or asked my parents for proof or documentation. What kid would?

My mother's family lived in Indian Territory but my mother was the baby in the family, and by the time she was born, Indian Territory had become part of the new state of Oklahoma. My mother and her family and her father's families both had Native American roots. Everyone on our mother's side--aunts, uncles, and grandparents--talked openly about their Native American ancestry.

Now, in the middle of a heated Senate campaign, Republicans insisted that all of that was a lie. They claimed I wasn't who I said I was; they said I had cheated to get where I'd gotten. Republicans also accused me of using my background to get ahead, but that simply wasn't true. It wasn't a question of whether I COULD have sought advantage--I just didn't.

Source: A Fighting Chance, by Elizabeth Warren, p.239-40 , Apr 22, 2014

We need a reliable vote for equal pay for equal work

As in their previous two debates, Warren cast Brown as an unreliable vote on women's issues, though she did so more crisply than before. In a direct appeal to women, she said that when Brown had the chance to vote for equal pay for equal work, he voted no; when he had the chance to vote for employers and insurers to pay for coverage for contraception, he voted no; when he had the chance to vote for a Supreme Court justice who supported abortion rights, he voted no. "The women of Massachusetts need a senator they can count on--not some of the time but all of the time," she said. Whether abortion remains legal, she said, "may hang in the balance."

Brown shot back that "I didn't vote for your boss," a reference to Justice Elena Kagan, who was dean of the Harvard Law School. He said Kagan didn't have the requisite judicial experience.

Source: N.Y. Times on 2012 Mass. Senate debates , Oct 11, 2012

Warren has fought for women throughout her career

For the past four years women and families have struggled while the economy tanked and jobs were lost. EMILY's List women are leading the way in providing real, concrete solutions for economic growth and putting Americans back to work.

Elizabeth Warren has always looked out for middle class families. Warren had the backs of middle class families when she fought tooth and nail to protect taxpayers through the Troubled Asset Relief Program. She stood strong for working women and men when she worked to create and implement the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Before Warren's efforts, women were more often targeted in the subprime mortgage market. Women were more likely than men to get these unfair loans, but Warren's efforts ensured future protections for women and men. Warren has fought for women and working families throughout her career, and she will no doubt be their voice and champion in the U.S. Senate.

Source: Molly Kordas, EMILY's list endorsements , Jan 27, 2012

Repeal DOMA; repeal DADT; support ENDA

Warren spokesperson Kyle Sullivan says: "I can tell you from hearing Elizabeth talk about these issues that she supports marriage equality, supports repeal of DOMA, and agreed with repeal of DADT. She also supports ENDA and believes strongly that LGBT individuals should have their rights protected."
Source: 2012 Senate campaign website, elizabethwarren.com , Dec 10, 2011

Voted YES on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.

Congressional Summary:
    Amends the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) to add or expand definitions of several terms used in such Act, including :
  1. "culturally specific services" to mean community-based services that offer culturally relevant and linguistically specific services and resources to culturally specific communities;
  2. "personally identifying information" with respect to a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
  3. "underserved populations" as populations that face barriers in accessing and using victim services because of geographic location, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity; and
  4. "youth" to mean a person who is 11 to 24 years old.

Opponent's Argument for voting No (The Week; Huffington Post, and The Atlantic): House Republicans had objected to provisions in the Senate bill that extended VAWA's protections to lesbians, gays, immigrants, and Native Americans. For example, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) voted against the VAWA bill because it was a "politically–motivated, constitutionally-dubious Senate version bent on dividing women into categories by race, transgender politics and sexual preference." The objections can be grouped in two broadly ideological areas--that the law is an unnecessary overreach by the federal government, and that it represents a "feminist" attack on family values. The act's grants have encouraged states to implement "mandatory-arrest" policies, under which police responding to domestic-violence calls are required to make an arrest. These policies were intended to combat the too-common situation in which a victim is intimidated into recanting an abuse accusation. Critics also say VAWA has been subject to waste, fraud, and abuse because of insufficient oversight.

Reference: Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act; Bill S. 47 ; vote number 13-SV019 on Feb 12, 2013

Opposes defining traditional marriage.

Warren opposes the CC Voters Guide question on same-sex marriage

Christian Coalition publishes a number of special voter educational materials including the Christian Coalition Voter Guides, which provide voters with critical information about where candidates stand on important faith and family issues. The Christian Coalition Voters Guide summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Maintaining current federal law defining marriage as one man and one woman"

Source: Christian Coalition Voter Guide 12-CC-q3b on Oct 31, 2012

Endorsed by The Feminist Majority indicating a pro-women's rights stance.

Warren is endorsed by by the Feminist Majority on women's rights

The Feminist Majority endorses candidates for the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. In addition to the stronger "endorsement," the organization also determines "preferred" candidates in races where they do not endorse. Their mission statement:

"Our mission is to empower feminists, who are the majority, and to win equality for women at the decision-making tables of the state, nation, and the world. The Feminist Majority promotes non-discrimination on the basis of sex, race, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religion, ethnicity, age, marital status, nation of origin, size or disability. The purpose of Feminist Majority is to promote equality for women and men, non-violence, reproductive health, peace, social justice and economic development and to enhance feminist participation in public policy. Feminist Majority supports workers’ collective bargaining, pay equity, and end of sweatshops. We encourage programs directed at the preservation of the environment."

Source: FeministMajority.org website 12-FemMaj on Oct 31, 2012

Enforce against wage discrimination based on gender.

Warren co-sponsored Paycheck Fairness Act

    Congress finds the following:
  1. Women have entered the workforce in record numbers over the past 50 years.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. The Department of Labor is responsible for investigating and prosecuting equal pay violations, especially systemic violations, and in enforcing all of its mandates.
  7. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the primary enforcement agency for claims made under the Equal Pay Act.
  8. 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.
  9. Certain employers have already made great strides in eradicating unfair pay disparities in the workplace and their achievements should be recognized.
Source: S.84&H.R.377 13-S0084 on Jan 23, 2013

Enforce against anti-gay discrimination in public schools.

Warren co-sponsored Student Non-Discrimination Act

Congressional Summary: