FAIR HOUSING NEWS
A newsletter about fair housing, community development, and neighborhood quality of life
2004 is an Historic Year for the Civil Rights Movement. Celebrations commemorate the 40th anniversary of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, and what would have been the 75th birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. With all these historic reminders, it is a good time to recommit to work for Fair Housing. Contact us for a free copy of any mentioned article or a free subscription to Fair Housing News: 410-453-9500 / 800-895-6302 / email@example.com. More info, resources, & links are at our website: http://www.gbchrb.org.
IN THE NEWS
New Civil Rights Act Introduced in Congress. "FAIRNESS: The Civil Rights Act of 2004" is sponsored by Senator Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Reps. John Lewis, D-Ga., George Miller, D-Calif., and John Conyers, D-Mich., in the House. The FAIRNESS Act is an effort to counteract the negative impact of several recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding civil rights protections. The Court, which recently has ruled against plaintiffs seeking remedies to civil rights violations in schools and in the work place, has made it more difficult for victims of discrimination to gain redress through the courts. The bill has the support of various civil rights and social justice organizations. Among other remedies, the Act would guarantee equal access to publicly-funded services, protection for older workers and workers returning from military service, viable remedies for on-the-job discrimination, and equal pay for women in the workforce. (www.civilrights.org, February 10, 2004)
On the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the Legacy is Mixed. On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that "separate but equal" schools were not constitutional and the nation's public education system should not be racially segregated. Half a century later, public schools remain largely divided by race and, according to some studies, are growing more so. The Court decision and the Civil Rights Movement transformed American society, opening doors for minorities to corporate, government and educational leadership. "It ought to be looked at as the founding
document for the tremendous change in race relations over the last 50 years,'' said Kevin Brown, a professor at the Indiana University School of Law. Brown said civil rights advocates used the decision to argue the crusade was both right and legal, which led to laws prohibiting racial discrimination in housing, accommodations, employment and voting. (www.civilrights.org)
Major Revision of Americans with Disabilities Act Advances in Congress. The federally-chartered Access Board approved updated guidelines which will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for a 90-day review leading to adoption and enforcement. Included are specific regulations on wheelchair spaces in theaters and automated teller machines that are needed to address deficiencies in the initial rules. The revision is supported by disability-rights groups and the real estate industry. (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 3, 2004:D2)
Martin Luther King Day Parade was a Great Success Despite the Frigid Temperatures. Over 80 organizations sponsored floats, drill team dancers, or marchers. As Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley put it, "It's most important for our kids to remember that Martin Luther King was such a remarkable American." (Baltimore Sun, January 20, 2004:1A)
Need for Regional Transportation Planning to Alleviate Congestion, Stresses Brookings Institution Report. "The Need for Regional Anti-Congestion Policies" by Anthony Downs - released in February, 2004 - examines worsening traffic congestion, and finds that because traffic flows are regional in nature only coordination of transportation improvements with land use planning on the regional level will help. (http://brookings.edu/urban/publications/20040220_downs.htm)
Illinois Mobile Home Park Owners Pays $15,000 Fine for Harassing & Evicting Interracial Couple. The fine is part of the settlement of the lawsuit by the U. S. Department of Justice following a HUD investigatory charge. (National Fair Housing Advocate, November, 2003:2)
PSA Focusing on Housing Discrimination Wins Ad Council's Best for 2003. The public service announcement titled "Accents" was produced under the direction of HUD, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund (LCCREF). The ad won the Ad Council's Golden Bell Award for the Best PSA of 2003. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that more than two million instances of housing discrimination occur each year, but fewer than one percent are reported.
DID YOU KNOW?
The "Expo for Individuals with Disabilities 2004" will be on March 27th. The conference on issues and resources for families of teens & young adults with disabilities will be held at Harford Technical High School from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Info: 410-638-3373.
The Successful Affordable Housing Campaigns of NY & LA are Highlighted in the Current Issue of Housing Facts & Findings. Published by the Fannie Mae Foundation, the issue is available at: http://fanniemaefoundation.org/programs/hff/v5i4-index.shtml.
Contact the GBCHRB for FREE Fair Housing Informational Brochures & Posters. Also, copies of the GBCHRB’s Neighborhood Beat are available in digital format, and will soon be on our website! If interested, telephone the GBCHRB at 410-453-9500 / 800-895-6302 / firstname.lastname@example.org for free copies.
The GBCHRB's Neighborhood Beat TV Show Is on Various Cable Stations. Hosted by Dr. Bill Kladky, the 30-minute interview show runs on Channel 21 & 8 in Baltimore City, 99 in Anne Arundel County, 71 in Baltimore County, 3 in Carroll, and 3 & 7 in Harford! Call us at 410-453-9500 or the stations for the show's days and times!
Racial and Ethnic Residential Segregation in the United States, 1980 to 2000. John Iceland & Daniel H. Weinberg. Washington, D. C.: U. S. Census Bureau, 2002. Interesting compilation of data about residential segregation, showing 19 different indices of segregation in 1980, 1990, and 2000. A few data bits: In 2000, it would be necessary to shift 64% of either the black or white residents from their census tract to another to eliminate segregation. Blacks were still by far the most segregated group. The segregation level of Asians and Hispanics was about the same between 1980 and 2000. Growth won't cure the problem, as it appears Asians and Hispanics became more segregated from whites in areas where the minorities' growth was fastest. (http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/censr-3.pdf)
Becoming Asian American: Second-Generation Chinese and Korean American Identities. Nazli Kibria. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002. 217 pp. $19.95 paper. This is an interesting interview-based analysis of the complexity of identity and assimilation of the post-1960s wave of Asian immigrants and their children.
America Behind the Color Line: Dialogues with African Americans. Henry Louis Gates. Warner Books, 2004. 256 pp. $25.95. The excellent companion book to the recent PBS documentary "America Behind the Color Line" portrays African American society as split into two distinct parts - one privileged, one disenfranchised. Gates' major focus is the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement.
Civil War on Race Street: The Civil Rights Movement in Cambridge, Maryland. Peter B. Levy. University Press of Florida, 2003. $55.00. An examination of the emergence of the civil rights movement on the Eastern Shore. Piloted by Gloria Richardson, one of the few female rights leaders, the Cambridge movement was stirred by the arrival of freedom riders in 1962, and expanded in 1963 and 1964. The aftermath of the 1967 riot was a moderated approach to social change. Levy is an associate prof. of history at York College of Pennsylvania.
REST IN PEACE
Dr. Herschell Hamilton, Civil Rights Doctor, 78. Dr. Hamilton provided free medical care to civil rights activists in the 1960s. Often refusing to accept pay, he treated activists who came to Birmingham for the struggle. His patients included the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth. Hamilton continued this to his private practice, never refusing treatment to any patient regardless of ability to pay. (Baltimore Sun, Dec. 30, 2003:6B)
The Reverend Leland Higginbotham, Pastor & Civil Rights Activist, 84. As pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Towson from 1955 through 1981, Rev. Higginbotham was a strong voice for civil rights and tolerance. He was a member of the Baltimore Committee of Clergy & Laymen Concerned About Vietnam, as well as many other similar groups working for peace, justice, and interfaith and ecumenical harmony. (Baltimore Sun, January 24, 2004:5B)
Walter Washington, First Black Mayor of Washington, D. C., 88. Appointed mayor-commissioner by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967, Washington became the District's first elected mayor in 1974. While mayor, Washington racially integrated the District's government and extended services to Black neighborhoods previously ignored. He also fought passionately for home rule and voting rights. (The Crisis, January/February, 2004:15)