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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Working Together to Protect Civil Rights


This week, Attorney General Eric Holder spoke at the Protecting Civil Rights Symposium in Boston,  an event sponsored by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. This symposium brought together law enforcement officials, attorneys, community leaders and concerned citizens to learn how to identify and respond to challenges that hinder the principles of opportunity, equal treatment and fair representation in the United States.

In his keynote address, Attorney General Holder detailed former Attorney General Robert Kennedy’s commitment to protecting civil rights:

All of you are here today because you already know what we’re up against – and you understand what’s at stake.   I ask that you remember Robert Kennedy’s enduring words, and bear in mind that – although no one can doubt that we’ve come a long way together – the struggle for civil rights is far from over.  Our nation’s journey is not yet complete, and the responsibility to carry these efforts into the future now rests with each of us.

Attorney General Holder also recognized U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz the formation of the District of Massachusetts’ innovative Civil Rights Enforcement Team. The team, which was established in May 2010 has strengthened the office’s ability to identify, and respond to, civil rights violations by partnering with state and local law enforcement, community groups and advocates. 

The enforcement team works to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Massachusetts residents, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society. They help enforce federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status, and national origin. The team is also responsible for investigating and prosecuting hate crimes, misconduct by public officials and sex trafficking of children.

Other U.S. Attorney offices have since established similar teams in their own districts. Enforcement teams are just one example of the innovative ways the department is continuing its long legacy of protecting the rights of all Americans.

To learn more about the District of Massachusetts’ Civil Rights Enforcement Team, visit their website and read Attorney General Holder’s full remarks from the symposium.

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