The Daily Mash-Up

Friday, June 23, 2017 This Week's Paper
Civil Rights Act of 1964 turns 50 today

The following message is from social justice activist Anselmo Villanueva, who resides in Oregon.
Wednesday, July 2, is the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Act, along with the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act in 1968, helped establish the foundation for equality among all Americans. Together, these three laws banned discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, or national origin. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which added protection for people with disabilities, was influenced by the Civil Rights Act. Of course, the Act also has influenced the national movement to end discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, too.
You can see why the law is usually called the “landmark” Civil Rights Act of 1964.
But for all its promise and influence on history, the goal of ending discrimination, unequal treatment and inequity still has not been achieved. There have been improvements – sometimes uneven and sometimes short-lived – but there is still so much that needs to be done to achieve the dream of the 1964 law. The one thing that remains true is the eternally optimistic spirit of believing that we can each do our part to continue working toward creating a community of equity, respect and acceptance for each other.
Back in his 2013 State of the State address, Governor Kitzhaber, State of Oregon, talked about his vision of prosperity that would create opportunity for individuals representing every community in Oregon. He talked about giving every Oregonian a shot at the American Dream, and our individual and collective responsibility to be certain that that Oregon's prosperity reaches all Oregonians. The line from his speech that really struck a chord was this: Oregon will not be a great place for any of us to live until it is a great place for all of us to live.
Watch a brief excerpt from President Johnson’s speech before he signed the law.
His words are as true today as they were in 1964: