Friday, May 28, 2010

Outreach: 2 Supportive Civil Rights Groups

Outreach to the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Leadership Conference

[Sample Letter]

First let me thank you for your involvement and backing of HR3149: The Equal Employment for All Act. I’m part of a citizen activist group based primarily on Facebook with more than 3000 members and although we grow everyday, we know all too well that without the support of groups and organizations like yours, HR3149 doesn’t have a chance. Long before the Great Recession we’re in, “bad credit” in the African-American community was 48 percent. With the outrageous unemployment numbers now in black America, what do you think the percentage is now . . . 65 maybe 70 percent? The rate of 50+ percent of all jobs and 80+ percent of white collar jobs requiring an employment credit check is increasing at alarming rates?

While worthy of pride for Americans of all skin colors, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is now celebrated far too often as if it’s an end-all crowning accomplishment. Many people consider Title VII of the Act (that prohibited workplace discrimination on the basis of race and skin color) to be the top accomplishment achieved by the legislation. Except for an ever shrinking small percentage of black America, Title VII is now completely dead and non-existent due to the implementation of employment credit checks. While many want to minimize it as mere coincidence instead of racism and bigotry, the reality is that racial inequality in the workplace is now rampant. Adding a couple additional filters to credit checks (such as predominately black neighborhoods along with first and last names) and voila African Americans don’t work. The “Whites Only Need Apply” sign has simply been replaced with a “Credit Check Required for Employment” sign . . . 1963 is reality in 2010. As a result, the economic gains made by African Americans over the past several decades are eroding at a record pace. This is happening in a nation that has a black president, celebrates MLKs birthday and each year commemorates the passage of the Civil Rights Act with nostalgic fervor?

Just like 90 percent of Americans, you know it’s wrong and you’re officially backing HR3149 and we’re confident you’re doing what you can. The reality is that it isn’t and can’t be your sole focus, you have 100s of competing priorities, limited resources and there are only so many hours in the day. While a lot of things need to happen, first and foremost, the issue of employment credit checks and HR3149 needs much more media attention. Our little Facebook group via media outreach efforts has already delivered a significant amount of coverage and we’re confident that your efforts have delivered their share as well. Nonetheless, it hasn’t been enough to even scratch the surface of what’s needed to actually succeed. HR3149 is DOA until every candidate is being questioned about it and the media is reporting their answer. Virtually no one in America has even heard of HR3149. The recent House hearing a few weeks ago that included HR3149 received a single Bloomberg News article and a pick-up in three or four obscure publications.

The window for HR3149 is closing fast and time is not on our side. Our foes are formidable to say the least but at the moment we have the ballot box. The diverse groups supporting the legislation are never going to see the issue from the exact same perspective, have unified messaging or be dedicated 110 percent to getting this done, but collectively we can do far better than we’ve shown to date. The American people and most especially African-Americans deserve far better than what we’ve separately delivered to date. So we’re reaching out to you and we pray that you will answer the call. Let’s talk, let’s share, let’s organize, let’s innovate, let’s get energized and let’s prepare now for the huge fight we now know that's ahead. Shooting us and e-mail at with your thoughts, plans, a high level overview of your efforts to date would be a great starting point. We’ll turn on a dime and support anything you have going and we have some ideas you might find intriguing You’re of course welcome to join our HR3149 Facebook group at: if you wish, but just joining groups as you know does nothing. A collective path is the only path to victory. We all have to step up now and do more . . .

[End Sample Letter]

Contact Points:

Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Leadership Conference

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