President Obama and Democrats Addressed Civil Rights and Equality

After a relatively oppressive eight year Bush regime, the country once again began to seek improvements in the areas of civil rights and equality for all people. Despite a wall of opposition from the Republican Party, President Obama and Democrats in Congress, with the able assistance of the courts, managed quite a few advances in these areas. Some areas that were controversial before President Obama took office are now almost considered normal, at least by reasonable people, if not the far right.

President Obama Formed a commission to examine and make recommendations for fixing the broken voting system. (Note: a lot of these were ignored by the GOP, which is why so many of them have not been implemented. Also, since states essentially control voting and the biggest problems are in the red states, this problem won’t change until we get rid of Republicans.)

President Obama created a Civil Rights Division in the Justice Department. Since then, that division has become a very strong voice for Black people, which is why Republicans hate it.

At a press conference August 9, 2013, President Obama gave up some executive power and promised to create adversarial process in FISA regarding NSA surveillance.

President Obama proposed rules to enhance Fair Housing Laws and give HUD and other enforcement agencies more enforcement power.

President Obama Ordered a review of capital punishment policies after several botched executions.

President Obama approved $1.2 billion discrimination settlement in the Pigford case, in which black farmers had proved USDA bias.

President Obama and Democrats passed and implemented the Claims Resolution Act, which provided $4.6 billion in funding for a legal settlement with black and Native American farmers who had been cheated out of government loans and natural resource royalties in the past.

President Obama appointed Kareem Dale as the first ever Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy.

President Obama shifted the emphasis of immigration enforcement to those who commit crimes and he vowed to stop breaking up families.

The Obama Administration streamlined the visa process, to make it more responsive and humane for those who want to be here and stay here legally.

President Obama took steps to stop the proliferation of local law enforcement agencies with military-style equipment by exercising more control over the equipment they receive.

President Obama changed the fair housing rules to make more affordable housing available to a greater number of people.

President Obama and Democrats in Congress passed and signed the Civil Rights History Act.

President Obama created a Policing Task Force to deal with the myriad problems that led to the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

The Obama Justice Department investigated the Ferguson Police Department twice and slammed them for their racism and exploitive practices.

President Obama established the White House Council of Native American Affairs, to improve government-to-government relations with Native American nations.

President Obama signed the Blue Alert Law, which provides police officers with more information when they are threatened.

President Obama blocked the sale of Apache tribal land to foreign mining company, over Republican objections.

The Obama Justice Department settled with the City of Cleveland over civil rights and excessive force violations.

The Obama Justice Department reviewed the practices of the Philadelphia Police Department and made 91 recommendations to prevent civil rights and excessive force violations.

The Obama Administration set up rules in response to a law to modernize the way the federal government refers to minorities, removing certain archaic terms from the vocabulary.

The Obama Administration took steps to encourage the treatment of opioid addiction as a health issue rather than a purely law enforcement issue.

President Obama signed a law that was intended to better protect children who are in the various tribal foster care systems.

President Obama completely blocked an oil pipeline in South Dakota that would have devastated sacred Sioux land.

President Obama worked with Congress to pass a bill to establish a Commission on Native Children, which will examine some of the most pressing problems facing Native American nations.

President Obama and Democrats passed and signed into law the Sexual Assault Rights Act by working with Democrats in Congress.

President Obama and Democrats passed a law that ensures that changing tables are supplied in all federal restrooms, including men’s rooms.

President Obama extended constitutional religious protection to atheists and agnostics.

President Obama officially scrapped a post-9/11 registry that primarily targeted Muslim men That makes the proposed Trump registry far more difficult to create.

President Obama established a law to allow disabled people to set up their own trusts and tend to their own financial affairs.

President Obama established the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument.

President Obama signed bill to create thousands of outdoor recreation jobs while preserving an important part of the environment.

President Obama signed a law to provide extra training for local police forces, especially with regard to active shooter situations.

Specific Examples of Protection of LGBT Rights

President Obama and Democrats passed and implemented the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, making it a federal crime to assault anyone based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity, in addition to race or religion.

President Obama and Democrats repealed the reprehensible “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy.

President Obama appointed more openly gay officials overall than anyone in history.

President Obama appointed the first transgender cabinet official in History.

President Obama advocated that United Nations adopt a strict policy in support of LGBT rights worldwide.

As soon as the Supreme Court invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act, President Obama moved to us extend all federal benefits to same-sex couples.

President Obama issued an order requiring hospitals to allow visitation by same-sex couples.

President Obama changed HUD rules to prohibit gender and sexual orientation-based discrimination in housing

President Obama, like most Americans, changed his mind and publicly expressed support for same-sex marriage.

President Obama issued a Memorandum reaffirming the rights of gay couples to make medical decisions for each other.

President Obama appointed a number of prominent gay athletes and others to groups planning the Sochi Olympics and he attempted to show the U.S. government’s commitment to gay rights to anti-gay Russia.

The Obama U.S. Department of Agriculture propagated new rules to better enforce non-discrimination when it comes to USDA investigations and to extend non-discrimination to gender identity.

President Obama banned all federal contractors from discriminating against gay workers.

President Obama persevered with his campaign to turn “gay marriage” into “marriage” and won in the Supreme Court.

Specific Examples Of Improved Conditions for Women

President Obama established the White House Council on Women and Girls to ensure that Cabinet-level agencies evaluate the effect of policies on women and families.

President Obama and Democrats passed and implemented the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to restore basic protections against pay discrimination for women and other workers.

President Obama and Democrats banned federal funding for abstinence-only education and rescinded the global gag rule.

President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Sotomayor is the first Hispanic Justice in the court’s history, and the women represent only the third and fourth women to serve on the court, out of a total of 112 justices.

President Obama and Democrats made improvements in the Paycheck Fairness Act. By allowing employees to talk about their salaries without retaliation and ordering salary data collection, it became more difficult for employers to pay women less.

President Obama signed an executive order to support efforts to end the global problem of violence against women and girls.

President Obama named Janet Yellen chair of the Federal Reserve beginning Feb. 1, 2014, thus breaking yet another glass ceiling.

President Obama and Democrats expanded funding for the Violence Against Women Act.

President Obama ordered companies with 100 or more employees to disclose race and gender salary data, to address the pay gap.

President Obama signed a law restoring Arlington Cemetery burial rights for women pilots in World War II.

President Obama signed a bill to allow for nursing women to bring breastfeeding equipment onto a plane and to provide better protection for women who choose to breastfeed while traveling.

Specific Examples of Improved Workers’ Rights

President Obama issued final rules that require all employers to prominently post employees’ rights where all employees or prospective employees can see them, including all websites and intranets.

President Obama’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission clarified and strengthened rules prohibiting discrimination against pregnant workers.

President Obama required all companies who bid on federal contracts larger than $500,000 to disclose publicly all previous violations of labor law, including unpaid claims for back wages.

President Obama made it illegal for federal contractors with more than $1 million in contracts to force employees into arbitration in workplace discrimination accusations.

President Obama vetoed a Republican bill that would have blocked new NLRB rules designed to speed up the time it takes workers to unionize.

In addition to making sure the NLRB rules went through, President Obama added a Memorandum of Disagreement to make his reasons for the veto clear and made a major statement in support of unions.

President Obama cracked down on companies that were using the employee classification process to deny workers sick pay, vacation and health insurance, as well as Social Security and Medicare tax payments.

President Obama signed a law banning imports of goods produced through forced labor.

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