The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

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The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Monitor Weekly - January 28, 2012

The Leadership Conference Education Fund January 28, 2012

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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights this week welcomed President Obama’s State of the Union call for fixing the partisan gridlock that is keeping judicial nominees and others from public service. "The state of our union would be stronger if senators would do their constitutional duty to provide advice and consent instead of delaying and obstructing President Obama’s highly qualified judicial nominees," said Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference.

President Obama’s latest initiatives focused on the housing and mortgage crisis were also applauded. “Today’s announcements mark a significant breakthrough for the communities hardest hit by mortgage foreclosures, and for our economy overall. The administration’s moves to step up enforcement of fair lending and financial regulation laws, and to encourage the greater use of principal reduction within the HAMP program, demonstrate that it has been listening to those most affected by the housing crisis. We applaud President Obama for putting real teeth into these initiatives,” said Wade Henderson, president & CEO of The Leadership Conference.

A coalition of 38 civil rights, disability, business, and education organizations this week signed on to a letter opposing draft House legislation to rewrite Title I and other parts of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The letter stated that the groups are opposing the bill because “it abandons accountability for the achievement and learning gains of subgroups of disadvantaged students who for generations have been harmed by low academic expectations.”

At a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee field hearing on the threats to voting rights in Florida, Henderson submitted testimony challenging the necessity of laws such as Florida’s HB 1355 that shorten the time for early voting and make it harder for organizations to conduct voter registration work. “Although many historical barriers to voting—like property requirements, literacy tests, and poll taxes—are no longer constitutional, for many Americans voter registration continues to be an impediment,” Henderson said.

Congratulations to former Minnesota state Senator Mee Moua after it was announced this week that she would become the new president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC)a member organization of The Leadership Conference executive committee.

The Leadership Conference was also excited to learn this week that The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement” has been nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Documentary Short Subject. The Oscars will be handed out on February 26th.

Civil Rights Monitor: Privacy Rights: A 21st Century Update

"The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA) was Congress’s effort to deal with these new developments. But Congress has not substantially updated the law during the intervening years despite the astounding way in which technology has transformed the world we once knew," write Christopher Calabrese, legislative counsel for privacy issues at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Sandra Fulton, a legislative assistant at the ACLU focusing on privacy issues, in the latest volume The Leadership Conference Education Fund's Civil Rights Monitor.

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