RaceWire’s parent company, the Applied Research Center, partnered with the Rights Working Group in the production of the video above. In the aftermath of 9/11, the Rights Working Group (RWG) works to restore the “American commitment to protect civil liberties and human rights for all people in the U.S.” Last week, RWG launched the The Racial Profiling: Face the Truth campaign which will build alliances amongst directly-affected communities, coordinate advocacy efforts and field activities, and educate and mobilize broad support for legislative and policy reforms. The timing of this effort couldn’t be better. As police officers accused of abusing people of color continue to be routinely acquitted, as the federal government heightens airport security checks of passengers from 14 mostly Muslim nations, and as Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials and local sheriffs continue to unfairly target and inhumanely treat dark-skinned immigrants, it’s clear that racial and religious profiling continues to be standard operating procedure. A recent USA Today poll finds that 71% of people said they were in favor of racial profiling at airports. That’s a far cry from the broad support that existed for a federal measure to end racial profiling first introduced in 2001, which quickly evaporated in the wake of the attacks of September 11, leaving the proposed legislation to languish. But efforts to jumpstart the federal bill are now underway in the current session of Congress. According to Rights Working Group, “Now is the time to have conversations and share our stories on how racial and religious profiling impacts our communities. This is the time to make a powerful public statement about the changes that need to happen — changes that will guarantee the protection of our civil liberties and human rights.” The Face the Truth campaign has three policy objectives:
- Secure passage of federal legislation to ban racial profiling — the “End Racial Profiling Act.”
- Revise the June 2003 Department of Justice Federal Guidance on Racial Profiling to eliminate the border and national security loophole, to include profiling based on religion and ethnic origin, and to ensure that the guidance is enforceable.
- Eliminate Department of Homeland Security programs that result in racial profiling in immigration enforcement.