The ACLU holds hearing supporting Equality Act, releases statement on Anti-Asian violence

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing last Wednesday on the Equality Act, marking the first time that a Senate committee has ever held a hearing on the Equality Act.

This legislation would modernize our civil rights laws by explicitly protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination, outlawing racial profiling in stores and on transportation, and outlawing sexual harassment in stores and on transportation. Multiple statements from the ACLU have been released in support of the Equality Act. 

A statement from LaLa Zannell, the ACLU’s Trans Justice Campaign manager, reads: “I have been turned away from jobs and shelters for being a Black trans woman and I know that I am not alone. Senators can and should send a message that discrimination against Black people is wrong, that discrimination against all women is wrong, and that discrimination against trans people is wrong. Senators can make it less likely that someone will have to experience the harassment and discrimination I and so many trans and non-binary people of color have experienced.”

A statement from Ria Tabacco Mar, director of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, reads: “Here’s the truth: trans girls are girls, and protecting all girls from discrimination requires protecting girls who are trans. At the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, we know there are many threats to women and to women’s sports, but we can say with confidence that trans women are not among them. The Equality Act closes critical gaps in our civil rights laws that leave us vulnerable to sexual harassment and discrimination. That’s good for all women.” 

A statement from ReNika Moore, director of the ACLU’s Racial Justice Project, also reads: “Shopping while Black and flying while Brown are not a crime. It’s long past time for our civil rights laws to be updated to say that this type of discrimination is unlawful. This is about racial justice, this is about gender justice, this is about trans justice. The Equality Act is about all of us.”

The ACLU is currently scoring votes on the Equality Act in the organization’s congressional scorecard, which is available online here.

In addition to statements supporting the Equality Act, the ACLU has also issued a statement regarding the March 16th shooting in Atlanta, in which eight people were killed at three spas in the Atlanta area. Six of the victims were Asian women. This tragedy comes in the midst of a rapid rise in Anti-Asian violent attacks since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of which have targeted women.

Manar Waheed, legislative policy counsel with the ACLU, had the following comment:

“Yesterday’s heartbreaking tragedy comes after a year of escalating attacks against Asian Americans, particularly Asian women, in America during the pandemic. Our hearts are with the victims, their families and communities, and all those who are more sad and afraid today. Asian Americans have long been the target of discrimination and hate in our country’s history and have worked in solidarity with other marginalized communities to end scapegoating and racism. We will continue to fight for a world where all of our communities can live without fear.” 

BWM Staff

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