It took until 1920, 144 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, to pass a constitutional amendment granting women the right to vote. The Lilly Ledbetter Act, signed into law in 2009, reminds us that women in America must still struggle for pay equal to that of men for equal work.
Our nation placed Japanese- Americans in internment camps following the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. The deeply troubling story of the African-American struggle for full equality is well known.
Sadly, it is commonplace for minority groups and their leaders to be painted as a threat and vilified, even by the government. Martin Luther King--a non-violent, shining example of the civil rights movement who now has a federal holiday named after him and who won a Nobel Peace Prize--was branded "the most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country" in an FBI memo. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover labeled King a "degenerate."
The UCB/CAIR report argued that America was founded on a set of ideals such as individual liberty, freedom of speech and worship and equal justice under the law. America was not founded as a place for any single religion, race or ethnic group. That said, people of conscience must continually remind themselves that the specters of bigotry, discrimination and second class citizenship are omnipresent.
Muslims have the great
fortune to receive guidance, support and wisdom from the many groups who have
fought bigotry before us, the report added.
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