Every year, CAIR-Philadelphia updates you about how our chapter organizes against Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-black racism, white supremacy, and all forms of bigotry. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic imposed unique challenges for all of us, requiring greater flexibility in how we navigated.
In one of his most famous speeches, aptly entitled Who Taught You to Hate Yourself, Malcolm X spoke to an unfortunate truth, “The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman…the most unprotected person in America is the black woman.”
To date, about 40% of the people seeking legal assistance from our office complain of some form of harassment or discrimination in the workplace. Accordingly, several of my current clients have experienced various forms of workplace discrimination, including three different people in various stages of legal action against their current or former employer based on their allegations of religious discrimination and/or harassment.
Hip-Hop is ubiquitous; there are places without running water and electricity that hip-hop has touched. The culture and its expressions have begun the dominant influence on popular youth culture over the span of the past four and a half decades. That is a significant statement considering the culture emerged from a back to school party hosted by two teenagers in the cramped recreation room of their housing project forty-seven years ago.
Employment discrimination is one of the persistent ways bigotry and xenophobia impacts everyday people. Roughly 40% of the people seeking legal assistant from our office call to complain of some form of harassment or discrimination in the workplace. To that end, I am presently representing three different people in various stages of legal action against their current or former employer based on their allegations of religious discrimination and/or harassment. US law defines employment discrimination as a form of discrimination based on race, gender, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity by employers. When it occurs, employment discrimination is a clear violation of US law.
On Tuesday December 10, 2019, Jacob and I attended a film screening and faith summit entitled Just Mercy Faith Summit. The summit, hosted by Eastern University, convened faith leaders, civil servants, and elected officials who desire to address inequities in the nation’s criminal justice system. It was inspired by the film Just Mercy (a film adaptation of the best-selling book by Bryan Stevenson of the same name)...
Earlier this week, a federal judge ruled that the FBI’s watchlist of “known and suspected terrorists” violates the constitutional rights of US citizens placed in the database. Judge Anthony Trenga, a United States District Judge of the Eastern District of Virginia, ruled the federal government has failed to honor constitutional rights and liberties for individuals placed on a “watchlist” without notice and opportunity for the individuals to challenge that status in his decision for the case Elhady v. Kable.
As we have remarked before, the United States continues to witness a spike in Islamophobia, which has become exacerbated by the brazen bigotry and xenophobia of the present presidential administration. While various outlets like Newsweek and The Washington Post each have reported on this heinous rise in hate targeting Muslims, I can personally attest to this increase firsthand based on the numerous complaints I routinely field as the Muslim community suffers from the anguish and anxiety caused by the implications of increased harassment and discrimination.
We believe the shooting death of Jeffery Dennis was an inexcusable homicide. It is our belief that the investigation presently conducted by the Attorney General’s office will arrive at a similar conclusion. Notwithstanding, some have attempted to justify the killing of Mr. Dennis by signaling he was the potential target of a police investigation at the time of his death. This is the wrong perspective. To quote Lee Merritt, Esq., the attorney representing the family of Mr. Dennis: “We have to stop distinguishing between good and bad victims of police brutality — as if there are people worthy and others unworthy of constitutional protections. The station in life of the victim is an irrelevant consideration in determining whether a shooting is justified or unjustified.”