civil rights http://michiganradio.org en Detroit family inches toward answers in mystery of civil rights activist’s disappearance http://michiganradio.org/post/detroit-family-inches-toward-answers-mystery-civil-rights-activist-s-disappearance <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In the spring of 1973, Ray Robinson left his wife and three young children in </span>Bogue<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span>Chitto<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, Alabama to support the occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota.</span></p><p>He never came home. Mon, 10 Mar 2014 15:07:40 +0000 Sarah Hulett 16785 at http://michiganradio.org Detroit family inches toward answers in mystery of civil rights activist’s disappearance Michigan's same-sex marriage trial has political implications for state's GOP http://michiganradio.org/post/michigans-same-sex-marriage-trial-has-political-implications-states-gop <p>We are one week, halfway through, the <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/lesbian-couples-challenge-michigans-ban-same-sex-marriage-starts-tomorrow">trial in federal court in Detroit</a> centering on the <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/meet-couple-challenging-michigans-gay-marriage-ban">challenge </a>to Michigan’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The arguments are supposed to go on for another week, and then we’ll wait for the judge’s decision. But the case’s mere existence, the fact that it’s occurring, is having an effect on the political landscape in Michigan.</p><p>And, it should be noted that these hearings are not taking place within a vacuum. Just this week we saw two more gay marriage rulings. Texas’ ban on<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/judge-strikes-down-texas-gay-marriage-ban-paving-way-for-shift-in-conservative-bastion/2014/02/26/201d6cd0-9f1f-11e3-9ba6-800d1192d08b_story.html"> same-sex marriage was struck down</a> and Kentucky was <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/02/27/283508733/federal-judge-rules-kentucky-must-recognize-gay-marriages">ordered to recognize same-sex marriages</a> performed in other states.</p><p>There is also another <a href="http://www.mlive.com/lansing-news/index.ssf/2014/02/gov_rick_snyder_asks_federal_j.html">federal case underway</a> here in Michigan that is challenging the state’s refusal to allow live-in partner benefits for public employees. It’s the mechanism that was created to allow same-sex couples to use their benefits to cover partners and children who would otherwise be denied coverage under Michigan’s marriage amendment, approved by voters in a statewide election 10 years ago. Fri, 28 Feb 2014 22:43:59 +0000 Zoe Clark & Rick Pluta 16667 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan's same-sex marriage trial has political implications for state's GOP Protecting people's civil rights in Michigan http://michiganradio.org/post/protecting-peoples-civil-rights-michigan <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In 1963, Michigan voters approved a new state constitution which set up the first Civil Rights Commission in U.S. history.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The Commission works to ensure each citizen receives equal protection without discrimination</span></p><p>Today, fifty years after the creation of the Commission, <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-department-civil-rights-names-first-native-american-executive-board-director">Matt Wesaw</a> runs the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. A former state trooper, Wesaw is the first Native American to lead the Civil Rights Department.</p><p>Wesaw met with us in the studio to discuss the future of civil rights in Michigan.</p><p><em>Listen to the full interview above.</em></p><p> Tue, 19 Nov 2013 21:45:30 +0000 Stateside Staff 15346 at http://michiganradio.org Protecting people's civil rights in Michigan Michigan’s Department of Civil Rights celebrates 50 years http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-s-department-civil-rights-celebrates-50-years <p>The Michigan Department of Civil Rights was created as part of the state constitution drafted in 1963. It’s charged with enforcing civil rights laws and preventing discrimination.</p><p>Leslee Fritz is the department’s interim director. She told a group in Grand Rapids Tuesday night the state has come a long way to ensure civil rights in the last five decades.</p> Wed, 18 Sep 2013 02:22:31 +0000 Lindsey Smith 14469 at http://michiganradio.org Clergy, civil rights groups in Detroit say they're not done fighting for Trayvon Martin http://michiganradio.org/post/clergy-civil-rights-groups-detroit-say-theyre-not-done-fighting-trayvon-martin <p>Civil rights activists say they’re not done trying to get justice for Trayvon Martin.</p><p>They have actions planned in Detroit and around the country to <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/justice-dept-zimmerman-case-under-review">push for federal intervention</a> in the Florida teen’s case.</p><p>Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed Martin, a black, unarmed teenager, in 2012.</p> Mon, 15 Jul 2013 23:08:25 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 13546 at http://michiganradio.org Clergy, civil rights groups in Detroit say they're not done fighting for Trayvon Martin Michigan case could be the next affirmative action test for US Supreme Court http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-case-could-be-next-affirmative-action-test-us-supreme-court <p>Michigan’s state constitutional amendment barring racial preferences in university admissions and other public institutions might be the next major case dealing with affirmative action laws in the United States.</p><p>The U.S. Supreme Court decided today <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/25/us/affirmative-action-decision.html?_r=0">not to decide a Texas affirmative action case</a> where a white student challenged the University of Texas’s admission policy that includes race as one of its deciding factors.&nbsp;</p> Mon, 24 Jun 2013 19:04:32 +0000 Steve Carmody & The Associated Press 13209 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan case could be the next affirmative action test for US Supreme Court Bolger considers adding sexual orientation to civil rights law http://michiganradio.org/post/bolger-considers-adding-sexual-orientation-civil-rights-law <p align="LEFT">Michigan State House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) could be opening the door to extending civil rights protections to gays and lesbians. That would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation in areas such as employment and housing.</p><p align="LEFT">The state's civil rights act protects a variety of groups from discrimination. It includes protections for categories like race and age, but sexual orientation has yet to be included.</p><p align="LEFT"> Thu, 13 Jun 2013 18:58:03 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 13043 at http://michiganradio.org Bolger considers adding sexual orientation to civil rights law Commemorative Freedom Walk celebrates 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. speech http://michiganradio.org/post/commemorative-freedom-walk-celebrates-50th-anniversary-martin-luther-king-jr-speech <p>Just as his father did fifty years ago, Martin Luther King III will address an expected march of thousands in Detroit.</p><p>This year Detroit celebrates the 50th anniversary of the day Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. <a href="http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/encyclopedia/documentsentry/doc_speech_at_the_great_march_on_detroit">stood before 25,000 people at Cobo Hall in Detroit</a> and declared, "I have a dream this afternoon." This was just two months before the historic March on Washington.</p> Mon, 10 Jun 2013 19:15:17 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 12975 at http://michiganradio.org Commemorative Freedom Walk celebrates 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. speech Commentary: Politics and human rights http://michiganradio.org/post/commentary-politics-and-human-rights <p></p><p>If you were looking for a quintessential solidly middle-class Michigan suburb, Royal Oak, Michigan might be it. Its 57,000 people are mainly white and solidly middle-class.</p><p>The downtown became somewhat of a magnet for the young, and trendy a decade or so ago, and hip twenty-somethings still mingle there with motorcycle bikers and teenage skateboarders on warm summer evenings. But by and large, Royal Oak is average middle-sized suburban homes, built around the baby boom era.</p><p> Mon, 08 Apr 2013 13:49:38 +0000 Jack Lessenberry 12044 at http://michiganradio.org Commentary: Politics and human rights Sharpton jumps into federal lawsuit, fight over emergency managers http://michiganradio.org/post/sharpton-jumps-federal-lawsuit-fight-over-emergency-managers <p>The Reverend Al Sharpton and his National Action Network are the latest activists to jump behind the fight to Michigan’s emergency manager law.</p><p>Sharpton&nbsp;was in Detroit as opponents filed a federal lawsuit today.</p><p>Critics maintain that Michigan’s emergency manager law violates both state and federal law by stripping local voting rights in cities and school districts with emergency managers.</p><p>And they also argue it’s a racial issue, with black voters disproportionately affected.</p> Fri, 29 Mar 2013 00:48:32 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 11924 at http://michiganradio.org Sharpton jumps into federal lawsuit, fight over emergency managers US Department of Education investigating state over emergency managers http://michiganradio.org/post/us-department-education-investigating-state-over-emergency-managers <p>The US Department of Education is now investigating the state of Michigan over alleged civil rights violations.</p><p>The department’s civil rights office was <a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130207/SCHOOLS/302070391">already investigating two civil rights cases </a>against the Detroit Public Schools.</p> Mon, 25 Mar 2013 23:00:12 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 11859 at http://michiganradio.org US Department of Education investigating state over emergency managers Are banks targeting Arab American accounts for closure? http://michiganradio.org/post/are-banks-targeting-arab-american-accounts-closure <p>An Arab American civil rights group says it’s hearing from a surge of people in southeast Michigan whose bank accounts were closed down without explanation.</p><p>The Arab American Civil Rights League says it’s <a href="http://www.pressandguide.com/articles/2013/03/19/news/doc5148d5971a514830386920.txt">received about a dozen complaints</a> in the past month.</p><p>In each case, the bank notified the client that their account would be shut down. But they refused to provide an explanation.</p><p> Tue, 19 Mar 2013 23:15:22 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 11769 at http://michiganradio.org Are banks targeting Arab American accounts for closure? Discrimination against LGBT bad for Michigan economy http://michiganradio.org/post/discrimination-against-lgbt-bad-michigan-economy <p>A <a href="http://platform.publicbroadcasting.net/michigan-new/media/docs/MDCRReportDRAFT.pdf">new draft report</a> finds allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians hurts Michigan’s economy. The state’s Civil Rights Commission is reviewing the report and might take action.</p><p>In Michigan it’s legal to discriminate against people who are Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender. Housing and job discrimination are a couple of the examples that are allowed by law.</p> Tue, 29 Jan 2013 03:23:11 +0000 Lester Graham 10978 at http://michiganradio.org Detroit students say education policies violate their civil rights http://michiganradio.org/post/detroit-students-say-education-policies-violate-their-civil-rights <p>Some students, parents, and education advocates from Detroit and Highland Park will testify at a federal hearing in Washington this week.</p><p>They are part of a nationwide group speaking out against changes in Detroit and other poor school districts.</p><p>The group alleges that some of the measures, particularly closing neighborhood schools, have “sabotaged and destabilized” education for many children.</p><p>Helen Moore is with the Detroit-based group Keep the Vote-No Takeover.</p><p>She said the group wasn’t getting far fighting these measures at the local level.</p> Mon, 28 Jan 2013 18:33:23 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 10968 at http://michiganradio.org Detroit students say education policies violate their civil rights Royal Oak moves to join other Michigan cities protecting gay rights http://michiganradio.org/post/royal-oak-moves-join-other-michigan-cities-protecting-gay-rights <p>Royal Oak City Commissioners unanimously approved a measure to start drafting a human rights ordinance Monday.</p><p>Such an ordinance would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and other characteristics not covered under state or federal law. A number of Michigan cities have similar laws on the books.</p><p>Royal Oak voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposed human rights ordinance in 2001.</p><p>But City Commissioner Jim Rasor is convinced public opinion on gay rights has shifted drastically since then.</p> Tue, 20 Nov 2012 04:38:52 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 9990 at http://michiganradio.org ACLU sues Isabella County for overcrowding in jail http://michiganradio.org/post/aclu-sues-isabella-county-overcrowding-jail <p>The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a class action lawsuit against Isabella County.</p><p>It says the county jail violates the constitutional rights of inmates with cells that are too crowded, and too few opportunities to exercise.</p><p>The federal lawsuit also says the jail discriminates against female inmates because they can’t participate in work assignments that could reduce their sentences.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>ACLU attorney Sarah Mehta filed the lawsuit.</p> Wed, 31 Oct 2012 17:01:34 +0000 Rick Pluta 9709 at http://michiganradio.org ACLU sues Isabella County for overcrowding in jail Civil rights law author: It’s time to debate adding gay rights http://michiganradio.org/post/civil-rights-law-author-it-s-time-debate-adding-gay-rights <p>Michigan’s landmark civil rights law was celebrated today as a legal milestone in a ceremony at the state Capitol that re-united the two main sponsors of the legislation.</p><p>State Representative Daisy Elliott was a Democrat from Detroit. State Representative Mel Larsen was a Republican from Oakland County.</p><p>The 36-year-old Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act protects against discrimination based on race, religion, gender; national origin, or marital status.</p> Tue, 28 Aug 2012 20:36:33 +0000 Rick Pluta 8857 at http://michiganradio.org Civil rights law author: It’s time to debate adding gay rights 30 years later, remembering Vincent Chin http://michiganradio.org/post/30-years-later-remembering-vincent-chin <p>Asian-American and civil rights activists <a href="http://www.freep.com/article/20120624/NEWS05/206240515/30-years-later-From-the-tragedy-of-Vincent-Chin-s-killing-came-hope-unity">commemorated the 30-year anniversary of Vincent Chin&rsquo;s death</a> this weekend.</p><p>Chin&rsquo;s murder outside a Highland Park strip club in 1982&mdash;just days before his wedding--is widely credited with galvanizing a national Asian-American civil rights movement.</p> Sun, 24 Jun 2012 22:19:36 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 8005 at http://michiganradio.org 30 years later, remembering Vincent Chin Lawsuit alleges "invasive religious questioning" of Muslims at border http://michiganradio.org/post/lawsuit-alleges-invasive-religious-questioning-muslims-border <p>A Muslim civil rights group says federal agents are wrongly detaining and questioning Muslim-Americans coming into the U-S.</p><p>The Michigan Council on American-Islamic Relations lays out those accusations in a federal lawsuit filed this week.</p><p>They&rsquo;re suing on behalf of four Muslim U-S citizens. All say they were subject to &ldquo;invasive religious questioning&rdquo; when they tried to re-enter the country from Canada.</p> Fri, 13 Apr 2012 19:49:35 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 7039 at http://michiganradio.org Some local elected officials want to add sexual orientation to Michigan's civil rights law http://michiganradio.org/post/some-local-elected-officials-want-add-sexual-orientation-michigans-civil-rights-law <p>A battle over gay and lesbian legal protections is heating up.</p><p>Sixty-five local elected officials have signed a letter supporting a bill that would add sexual orientation to <a href="http://www.ewashtenaw.org/government/departments/cmhpsm/provider-homepage/Michigan%20Compiled%20Laws">the state civil rights act.</a></p><p>Derek Dobies is a city councilman in Jackson. He says this is an economic issue for Michigan.</p><p>&ldquo;Given Michigan&rsquo;s brain drain,&quot; says Dobies, &quot;we need to do everything that we can&hellip;both at the local level and at the state level that&rsquo;s within our power&hellip;to put a welcome sign on Michigan.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Jon Hoadley is the director of the <a href="http://www.unitymichigan.org/">Unity Michigan Coalition.</a> He says its important to have the support of local leaders in this statewide fight.</p><p>&ldquo;We have elected officials in Grand Rapids&hellip;Kalamazoo and Jackson,&quot; says Hoadley, &quot;cities big and small across the state saying &lsquo;we think that non-discrimination protections are good for us and they&rsquo;re good for Michigan&rsquo;.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Eighteen cities in Michigan have local ordinances against discrimination against gays and lesbians.</p><p>There is a bill in the state House to nullify those local ordinances. Tue, 03 Apr 2012 15:54:17 +0000 Steve Carmody 6889 at http://michiganradio.org Some local elected officials want to add sexual orientation to Michigan's civil rights law