Presser by hotel-workers union and other groups, National Press Club, July 23, 2012, in D.C. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
“Workers’ Rights have been under attack in states across this country. Low-wage earners in certain industries have been banned the right to unionize and collectively bargain for fair pay, benefits and other protections,” reads National Action Network’s call to action for its commemorative march on Aug. 24. At least 36 senators think that banning unions isn’t a problem and that workers still have too much protection. Just to be sure, more than three quarters of the Senate Republican caucus signed on to legislation introduced by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that could render it virtually impossible for Congress to enact any legislation intended to improve working conditions or otherwise regulate the workplace.
Immigration protest near the Capitol in Washington, D.C, Aug.1, 2013 (Jim Watson/Getty Images)
Organizers of the NAN march say they want immigration reform — specifically, amnesty for the many illegal immigrants who are here and the opportunity for them to achieve the American dream. Sounds reasonable, right? But opponents have a list of reasons as long as the one that kept blacks from realizing that goal back in 1963. Then there’s that whole thing about how all immigrants are marijuana smugglers with “calves the size of cantaloupes.” If it’s bad now, can you imagine how much worse it will sound in another 50 years?
4. LGBT Equality
Wanda Lawson and Lauryne Braithwaite after their July 1, 2013, wedding, West Hollywood, Calif. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Modern civil rights activists celebrate the fact that 13 states now allow gays to marry and that the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8. However, they still want to remedy employment discrimination and other challenges that block the ability of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to achieve full rights. Conservative groups will push back that it’s right (and maybe even dictated by God) that discrimination against gay Americans is preserved in just about every area of life.