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US Civil Rights Act of 1964

On 2nd July 1964,  60 years ago,  President Lynden Bains Johnson signed the civil rights act.

This act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Its provision also forbade discrimination on basis of sex or race in hiring, promoting or firing. 

This law was the first in series of laws that ultimately lead to passage of voting rights and immigration reform in the following year.

It was president John Kennedy who asked congress   for the passage of the bill but it met with strong resistance. 

Mr. Medgar Evers - who campaigned for it,  formed NAACP office in Jackson MS,  was assassinated by a Klansman who could be brought to justice only 31 years later.

After President Kennedy's assassination  President Johnson pushed for its passage. Judiciary committee chair congressman Emanuel Celler  and ranking member William McCulloch worked for the passage of the bill in the house  290-130 on February 10th . The bill passed in Senate with the help of Senator Everett Dirksen by 67 votes. 

While we witness uncompromising partisanship today the bill was passed in both the houses through bipartisan vote

Ultimately we ask what is the significance of this bill to our community? This first step ultimately has led to now a 5million strong, articulate, vibrant and contributing community. It is also true for other Asian, Latin American, African and Eastern European communities.

It is needless to say that our gratitude rests on sacrifices of African American community and many other who supported the struggle and the national leadership's support and President Johnson's championing for creating a just system.

Ashwin Ghatalia Advisory Board Member IACCT 

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