In 1964, the Civil Rights Movement Passed the Civil Rights Act. Title VI of that act, said that “government cannot use funds in a racially discriminatory manner” and if a public agency does discriminate, all federal funding can be cut off. But president Obama has refused to enforce it.
1. President Obama must use his institutional power to call for a national civil rights investigation of every school board, police department, prison system, transportation system and every other agency receiving federal funds throughout the nation. He must announce that he will withhold funds from any agency found guilty. He should also call on the public to submit Title VI charges to the appropriate federal agencies—Justice Department, Department of Transportation, Department of Education in instances of racist public policy involving federal funds.
2. President Obama Must Stop Transit Racism in Los Angeles. In a high visibility case of glaring racial discrimination, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), led by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has violated the civil rights of 500,000 bus riders–20 percent Black, 55 percent Latino. They have cut 1 million hours of bus service and raised monthly bus passes to $72 while squandering public funds on multi-billion rail projects that benefit private rail developers and contractors. The Bus Riders Union and Public Advocates brought a civil rights suit under Title VI to the Federal Transit Administration asking the FTA to restore the service. The FTA accepted the complaint, did a full investigation, indicated they would act decisively, and then backed down —whitewashing the MTA’s violations and protecting another Democratic mayor. We are calling on President Obama to enforce Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, to over-rule the FTA decision, to restore 1 million hours of bus service, and do a full, independent investigation of the MTA’s systematic civil rights abuses.
3. The Obama Administration must introduce a new Civil Rights Act with strong Title VI language to overturn the “Sandoval” case and restore the right of civil rights groups to bring civil rights suits in federal court and to give the federal courts authority to withhold funds from government agencies that allocate funds or services in a racially discriminatory manner. . In 2001, in a 5 to 4 decision, the Scalia Supreme Court majority “ruled” in the case ofSandoval v. Alabama, that “private parties” that is, individuals, civil rights groups, did not have the right to bring civil rights cases to the federal courts—even though they had been doing so for 37 years
We are asking you to stand with us and urge the President and his administration to action. It will take nationwide grassroots struggles to create a movement strong enough to restore and enforce our civil rights. Read the details of the Fight for the Soul of the Cities campaign in Eric Mann’s article in The Nation (click here) and join the fight!