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Little Rock, Arkansas Expands Anti-Discrimination Protections

Cities in Arkansas are stepping in to show that recent anti-gay laws do not represent the whole state.

Photo by Benson Kua via Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday, the Little Rock, Arkansas Board of Directors passed an ordinance banning discrimination against gay and transgender people in municipal hiring. This idea—assessing potential employees or business partners by the content of their character rather than who they love, or their gender identity—might seem like a no-brainer to some, but the new policy is a big deal in a state where social conservatives have been desperately trying to keep discrimination against LGBT people legal.

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After Half A Century, These Civil Rights Activists Had Their Convictions Overturned (UPDATED)

Decades after pioneering the civil rights movement’s “Jail, Not Bail” tactic, the “Friendship Nine” have a clean record.

Image via screenshot

In February of 1961, a group of college students from Friendship Junior College were arrested for staging a sit-in a segregated lunch counter in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Given the option of paying a fine, or being sentenced to 30 days of hard labor in jail, eight of the students, as well as a civil rights organizer who had been arrested alongside the group, opted to serve their jail time rather than pay money into the very system they were working to overcome. That group, known as the “Friendship Nine” pioneered what would become the “jail, not bail” tactic, and in doing so marked a new era for the civil rights movement.

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Saks Fifth Avenue Thinks Transgender People Aren’t Covered by the Civil Rights Act

Despite having a nondiscrimination policy in place, the luxury retailer tries to throw out a former employee’s discrimination lawsuit citing “transsexuals are not a protected class” under 1964 law.

Leyth O. Jamal. Photo courtesy Leyth O. Jamal.

In 2012, Leyth O. Jamal, a transgender woman, was fired from a Saks Fifth Avenue in Texas. She filed a discrimination lawsuit against the luxury retailer in December 2014, citing that her dismissal was due to her refusal to stop expressing her gender identity while on the job. Jamal claims that management ordered her to “separate her home life from her work life,” demanding that she adhere to more masculine standards of dress and use the men’s restrooms. When she failed to comply, and dared to speak out against the hostilities she was facing, she was terminated.

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This year, Martin Luther King, Jr. would have turned 85-years-old. Since he embraced peace, practiced nonviolent resistance, and sought a loving society, for years the media has cast him as a sincere, avuncular, dreamy leader. This hardly comports with his essence or his fiercely tenacious battles—against war, racism and poverty—found in his writings, speeches, marches, and jail time.

King died because he was a radical thinker and activist whose movement challenged the powerful and made dangerous enemies. In 1964 when he won the Nobel Peace Prize, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover called him "the most notorious liar in the country." When he denounced the Vietnam War in 1967 the liberal New York Times and Washington Post roundly condemned him for questioning this part of America’s anti-communist crusade.

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