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Marking the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act

Jun 25, 2014

This week, I am joining with my colleagues in Washington in marking the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It also put an end to unequal voter registration requirements.

Since the passage of this landmark bill, we have seen a drastic increase in the number of women and minority members elected to Congress.  Today, there are 98 women, 43 African-Americans, 31 Latinos, 12 Asian-American and Pacific Islanders and seven LGBT  members serving in the United States Congress. This would have been impossible without passage of the Civil Rights Act.

Today’s diverse Congress represents a diverse America. However, there is still progress to be made when it comes to equality. Recently, the Supreme Court overturned key sections of the Voting Rights Act of 1964 that leave our country without a remedy to stop voter discrimination before it can affect election results.

When President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act 50 years ago, he said, “Let us lay aside irrelevant differences and make our nation whole.” Those words still apply today. I am urging my colleagues to continue supporting legislation to close gaps in voting rights and end other forms of discrimination once and for all.