Landmark Legislation Still Holds Significance for Millions of Americans
ATLANTA - Several government agencies will join forces on July 11 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson's signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today. The landmark legislation, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin, was envisioned and drafted by President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and was enacted in 1964 following his assassination.
The EEOC's Atlanta District Office will join with other government agencies to include the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Education Office, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity (GCEO), in partnership with The King Center, to host an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the passage of the law.
The event, The Civil Rights Act @ 50 - Looking Back, Moving Forward, will bring together prominent civil right leaders and government leaders to observe the rich history and legacy of the Civil Rights Act. Featured speakers include Mayor Kasim Reed, Ambassador Andrew Young, Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, Dr. C.T. Vivian, Dr. Bernice A. King, and government leaders from the EEOC, HUD, HHS, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia, the Departments of Education, Labor, and Justice, and the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity. Monica Kaufman Pearson, legendary anchor of WSB-TV news, will be the emcee.
"The architects of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 sought to address this nation's long history of segregation and discrimination by making it illegal to limit access to employment, public accommodations, and activities funded by the federal government based on race, color, national origin, religion or sex," said EEOC Chair Jacqueline Berrien, who will speak at the event. "As a result, doors that were long closed began to open, and many institutions began to draw upon the talents and benefit from the participation of the diverse population of the United States of America. As we recognize the 50th anniversary of this landmark law, the EEOC is committed to enforcing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 even more effectively. We welcome the opportunity to join with our partners at the federal, state and local level to present this event at the historic King Center, celebrating the past, recognizing continuing challenges, and envisioning the future of civil rights enforcement."
In addition to the program of speakers, there will be an information fair, as part of the event, where government officials who are responsible for enforcing civil rights laws related to employment, housing, education, public accommodations, healthcare, and the judicial system, will be on hand to answer questions and share information about protections afforded under the Civil Rights Act.
EEOC Atlanta Office District Director Bernice Williams-Kimbrough remarked, "The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is without question one of the most significant pieces of legislation ever enacted. We must take the time to acknowledge the great opportunities and protections this law has created for us."
The commemorative event will take place at The King Center on Friday, July 11, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The King Center is located at 449 Auburn Avenue, NE in downtown Atlanta. The event is open to the public, and limited seating is available. Doors will open at 9:00 a.m.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the agency is available at www.eeoc.gov.