Challenging Injustice, Advancing Human Rights

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.

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A Civil Rights Movement for the 21st Century

December 17, 2012

The following is excerpted from one of UUSC President Bill Schulz’s e-mails to UUSC supporters in December 2012 about defending civil liberties:

You may have heard of “driving while black.” How about “flying while Muslim”?

Racial profiling is alive and well in America. More than a decade after the 9/11 attacks, a shameful pattern of abuse by law enforcement persists in communities around the country.

Enter civil rights lawyer and hip-hop artist Shahid Buttar, who directs an action project called the Local Civil Rights Restoration (LCRR) campaign. Buttar, a UUSC partner, works from the community level up, encouraging profiling victims to share their stories — and to unite people who have faced similar abuses.

Buttar exemplifies the values and spirit of UUSC by combining creativity, perseverance, storytelling, and community organizing into a force for social progress.

Hartford, Conn., was one of many racial profiling hot spots. LCRR, as a program of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, mobilized a coalition of immigrants, civil liberties groups, faith organizations, and civil rights leaders. Thanks to this diverse coalition’s persistence and creativity, in 2011 Hartford adopted a model set of protections against racial or religious profiling. And that’s one of more than 30 LCRR campaigns across the country.

UUSC supports local heroes like Shahid Buttar and so many others who are working peacefully toward justice on behalf of the world’s most forgotten people.

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