Today marks 55 years since the signing of the Civil Rights Act — the landmark piece of legislation that brought our nation closer to fulfilling the promise that was made two centuries earlier in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A promise of equality, equity, and fairness for all.
It took the courage and determination of generations of African Americans who refused to wither in the face of racism and intolerance. Their resolve fundamentally changed the character of our nation for the better.
The Civil Rights Act for the first time made real the possibility of equal access to employment. It outlawed discrimination in public facilities, and it gave the Attorney General of the United States of America the power to enforce the law to combat discrimination.
It also laid the groundwork for other milestones and freedoms to follow — from the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Because when justice rings out for one group, it rings for all groups in America. We’re all made better.
But as we mark the 55th anniversary, we must recognize that the work is not done. Too many Americans still face the sting of systemic racism and discrimination. We must double down on our efforts to root out these evils and ensure America lives up to its promise for all.
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