civil rights

Equal Employment
9:14 am
Wed July 16, 2014

EEOC Announces Tougher Rules Protecting Pregnant Workers

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's new guidance states that employers who allow parental leave must provide it to men and women equally.
Yuri Arcurs iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 10:32 am

Discrimination against female workers who might get pregnant in the future, or have been pregnant in the past, is against the law, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said this week. For the first time in 30 years, the agency has updated its rules against pregnancy discrimination.

The agency clarified several policies, including one that spells out when businesses may have to provide pregnant workers light duty and another that bans employers from forcing a pregnant worker to take leave even in cases when she's able to continue on the job.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Transgender Rights: "The Civil Rights Issue of Our Time"?

Susan Bigelow.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Those who identify as transgender Americans continue to face social stigmas, discrimination, and legal issues not often faced by other members of the LGBT community.

This hour, we talk with some transgender rights experts and advocates about what Vice President Joe Biden has called "the civil rights issue of our time."

We also check in with WNPR reporter Lucy Nalpathanchil, who gives us the latest on the case of transgender teen Jane Doe.

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Gay Marriage
7:20 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Married Same-Sex Couples To Receive More Federal Benefits

The Obama administration is set to announce expanded federal benefits for same-sex spouses, no matter what state they live in. On Thursday, demonstrators supporting same-sex marriage marched in front of the Supreme Court.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 5:31 pm

This post was updated at 5:20 p.m. ET.

The Family Medical Leave Act's benefits will be extend to married same-sex couples in all of the U.S., under a White House announced today. The change comes as the Obama administration alters federal policies to fit the Supreme Court's repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act last June.

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Remembrance
1:59 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Legendary Actress Ruby Dee Dies At 91

Actress Ruby Dee and director Spike Lee attend a special 20th anniversary screening of Do the Right Thing, in New York, in 2009. Dee died Wednesday at age 91.
Peter Kramer AP

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 2:58 pm

Editors' Note: An earlier version of this post, as well as an accompanying breaking news alert, incorrectly stated that Ruby Dee had won an Oscar for her role in American Gangster. Dee was nominated for the award but did not win.

Ruby Dee, an actress and civil rights activist who built a career on stage and screen at a time when African-Americans had few such opportunities, has died at age 91.

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Code Switch
9:14 am
Thu June 5, 2014

The Modest Bus Station At The Center Of A World-Changing Confrontation

When the Freedom Riders arrived in Montgomery, they were greeted by an armed, racist mob, while the local police were conspicuously absent.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 3:38 pm

EDITOR'S NOTE: This summer, we'll be regularly spotlighting sites on the National Register of Historic Places that have some significance to issues of race and culture.

The Montgomery Greyhound Station, Montgomery, Ala.

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Tasers
2:29 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Connecticut Could Be First In U.S. to Have a Law Tracking Taser Use

One of the Tasers made by Taser International.
Sarah Caufield Creative Commons

The use of Tasers by police has been controversial in communities nationwide after isolated deaths and reports of misuse. In Connecticut, lawmakers have approved a bill that would make it the first state in the country to require police to report how the weapons are being used.

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Law Enforcement
4:24 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Advocacy Groups Want to Know When and How Police Use Tasers

Credit TASER International

The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut is calling for statewide regulations and clear policies on how the police use Tasers.

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Code Switch
8:12 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Why For-Profit Prisons House More Inmates Of Color

An inmate walks through the yard at the North Central Correctional Institution in Marion, Ohio, which recently switched to private management.
Ty Wright Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 10:03 am

A new study by a UC-Berkeley graduate student has surprised a number of experts in the criminology field. Its main finding: Private prisons are packed with young people of color.

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Pro-Life, Anti-Planned Parenthood
1:59 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Alveda King: Abortion Is a Civil Rights Issue

Dr. Alveda King

Dr. Alveda King has taken up the civil rights mantle of her uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But her driving issue is abortion, and she has a vehemently pro-life stance. She says her uncle would agree with her. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue February 25, 2014

A Conversation About Minimum Wage, Education, and Civil Rights

United States Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez speaking at the AFL-CIO Convention in 2013.
Credit US Department of Labor / Creative Commons

On Monday, United States Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez came to Connecticut to discuss minimum wage increases with local business leaders, workers, and politicians. During his trip, he called us to talk about how states like Connecticut are handling a higher minimum wage. What effect could this have on employment in the United States? 

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:24 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Connecticut in the Civil War

Matt Warshauer is a professor of History at Central Connecticut State University
Chion Wolf

Here's a little bit of Civil War history that seems to have started here in Connecticut. It was in this month of February in 1860 that Cassius Clay, a Kentucky planter turned anti-slavery crusader spoke in Hartford not far from where we're doing this show today. He was accompanied by a torch-bearing honor guard in capes and caps. The Hartford Courant called these young men "wide-awakes." 

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Civil Rights
10:31 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Holder Calls For Restoring Felons' Voting Rights

Eric Holder, attorney general of the United States, speaks at a Feb. 7 reception for baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron in Washington.
Nick Wass AP

Attorney General Eric Holder called on 11 states to repeal "counterproductive" laws that bar convicted felons from "the single most basic right of American citizenship-the right to vote."

In a speech Tuesday at Georgetown University law school, Holder used his bully pulpit to note that 5.8 million people are prohibited from voting because of current or former felony convictions, including 1-in-5 black adults in Florida, Kentucky and Virginia.

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Connecticut First
1:41 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

More Snow on the Way; Metro-North Upgrades Coming

A Winter Storm Watch has already been issued for Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning for the next snow storm that could start out as sleet and bring another eight inches of new snow. Temperatures will be in the low 20s on Monday night.

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East Haven
10:50 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Former East Haven Police Officer Sentenced to Five Years in Prison

Former East Haven police officer Dennis Spaulding with his wife.
Credit Melanie Stengel / The New Haven Register

Former East Haven police officer Dennis Spaulding has been sentenced to five years in prison for violating the constitutional rights of members of the East Haven community, particularly Latinos.  

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Civil Rights
4:32 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Former East Haven Police Officer Sentenced to Two and a Half Years In Prison

David Cari, at center, in a 2009 video that led to an arrest.
Credit Father James Manship / New Haven Independent

A former East Haven police officer was sentenced on Tuesday to two and a half years in prison for multiple civil rights violations. David Cari was found guilty in October of conspiring to violate and violating the civil rights of members of the East Haven community, particularly Latinos.  

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History
2:49 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

A Promise Unfulfilled: 1962 MLK Speech Recording Is Discovered

A recording of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivering this address to the New York State Civil War Centennial Commission in 1962 was recently discovered by the New York State Museum.
Courtesy of New York State Education Department

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 7:44 pm

Last fall, curators and interns at the New York State Museum were digging through their audio archives in an effort to digitize their collection. It was tedious work; the museum houses over 15 million objects. But on this particular day in November, they unearthed a treasure.

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Connecticut First
9:58 am
Mon January 20, 2014

"Connecticut First" Recalls Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Time in Connecticut

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC.
Credit Win McNamee/Getty Images / Thinkstock

Monday marks the official observance of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. To honor the occasion, "Connecticut First" is airing a special edition of the weekday news segment with Eric Clemmons. Watch the segment below or catch it on CPTV on Monday at 6:56 pm. It tells the story of the two summers King spent in Simsbury picking tobacco while on college break.

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Civil Rights
9:10 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Police, Banks Help Undocumented Workers Shake 'Walking ATM' Label

Prince George's County, Md., Police Officer Juan Damian and Dora Escobar outside one of her popular check cashing businesses.
Laura Sullivan NPR

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 8:04 am

On a recent Friday evening in Langley Park, Md., police officer Juan Damian drives his patrol car past fast food restaurants, discount stores and Hispanic groceries.

Damian estimates that at least two-thirds of the people here are undocumented, and that has made it a magnet for robberies over the years. Gangs know undocumented day workers are especially lucrative targets, he says. Their pockets are often stuffed with a day's or even a week's worth of wages. The street term for these men: "walking ATMs."

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Connecticut's African American History

Martin Luther King, Jr. spent time in Connecticut
Credit Library of Congress

You may not think of Connecticut as a slave state, but in the mid 1700s, New London County held more slaves than anywhere else in New England. Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison referred to our state as the "Georgia of New England."

This fact is one of many that can unsettle our Yankee sensibilities. Connecticut residents, especially white ones, grow up thinking they were on the right side of abolition, of the civil war, and later, of the civil rights movement. But the history, and the real path for African Americans who live in the state, is much more complicated. 

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Race
3:18 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Meeting in New Haven on Connecticut Racial Profiling Law

There's a state law that's supposed to deter racial profiling: the Alvin Penn Law of 1999. It was never really implemented until a recent revision by the General Assembly that states exactly how police officers should collect and maintain data on traffic stops. 

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The Two-Way
8:13 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Hawaii's Senate Gives Final Approval To Same-Sex Marriage

Hawaii state Sen. Clayton Hee playfully gives Gov. Neil Abercrombie a kiss on the head before he signs the Hawaii Civil Unions bill into law at a ceremony in February 2011 in Honolulu.
Eugene Tanner AP

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 7:10 pm

Hawaii's Senate has given the OK to a bill allowing same-sex marriage, which now goes to the governor, who is expected to sign.

Gay marriage is legal in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Illinois passed a similar law last week, which is awaiting the governor's signature.

Reuters says the measure in Hawaii cleared the state Senate on a 19-4 vote, with the chamber's lone Republican joining three Democrats to oppose the bill.

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Illinois
5:36 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Illinois House Approves Bill Paving Way For Gay Marriage

Jerry Bowman (left) and David Strzepek demonstrate at a marriage-equality rally in Springfield, Ill., on Monday.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 7:02 pm

With the approval of the Statehouse, same-sex marriages are one step away from being legal in Illinois.

The Chicago Tribune reports the bill received 61 votes, just one more than necessary to send the bill to the Senate, which is expected to pass it.

The House was the bill's biggest hurdle because Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has said he would sign the bill into law.

The Tribune adds:

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Civil Rights
3:53 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Post-Verdict, What’s Next For East Haven?

East Haven Mayor Joe Maturo, Jr.
Credit Diane Orson / WNPR

The city of East Haven does not have a positive national reputation. Earlier this week, a guilty verdict was reached in the case of two local police officers on charges of violating civil rights. Now that the trial is over, how does the town recover and move forward?

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Violence Against Women
7:50 am
Wed October 23, 2013

UConn Conference Looks at a Global Issue: Violence Against Women

The United Nations calls violence against women a "global epidemic."
Credit Say No--Unite / Creative Commons

The University of Connecticut held a day-long conference on Violence Against Women on Tuesday. The gathering came just a day after seven women filed a federal discrimination complaint against the school, claiming they were victims of sexual assaults while students at UConn.

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New Jersey
7:40 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Christie's Gay Marriage Decision Has Primary Consequences

Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie debates Democratic challenger Barbara Buono at Montclair University in Montclair, N.J., on Tuesday. Christie's decision not to fight gay marriage in the state takes away an issue Buono had been campaigning hard on.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 7:35 am

Republican Chris Christie's decision Monday to drop his administration's legal challenge to same-sex marriage made perfect sense for the governor of New Jersey,

But for the potential 2016 presidential candidate, whose path would presumably start in Iowa — where the Republican Party is dominated by social conservatives — the calculation is a bit more complicated.

Bob Vander Plaats, Iowa's powerful evangelical conservative, put it bluntly Monday.

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East Haven
3:51 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

East Haven Officers Found Guilty of Violating Hispanics' Civil Rights

East Haven police officer Dennis Spaulding and his wife leave court in late September in Hartford.
Credit Melanie Stengel / The New Haven Register

A federal jury in Connecticut has found two police officers from the town of East Haven guilty of violating the civil rights of Hispanics. The Justice Department has said the town systematically discriminated against Latinos.

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East Haven Police
2:38 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Maturo Touts Full, Timely DOJ Compliance So Far

East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo, Jr.
Credit Diane Orson / WNPR

East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo, Jr. said the town has met its deadlines thus far under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice's Office for Civil Rights. The investigation into East Haven's police department began in 2010. In a 2011 report, federal authorities found that police there intentionally targeted Latinos for traffic stops, and used excessive force against those taken into custody.

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Civil Rights
8:28 am
Fri October 4, 2013

East Haven Police Officers on Trial

East Haven police officer Dennis Spaulding and his wife leave court in late September in Hartford.
Credit Melanie Stengel / The New Haven Register

Two police officers from East Haven are facing charges that they harassed Latinos and violated their civil rights. Prosecutors are making their cases against David Cari and Dennis Spaulding in Hartford federal court. As they do, they're calling members of East Haven's largely Ecuadoran community to testify.

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Courts
8:24 am
Fri October 4, 2013

A Look at the East Haven Civil Rights Trial

East Haven police officer Dennis Spaulding and his wife leave court in late September in Hartford.
Credit Melanie Stengel / The New Haven Register

WNPR News talked with Evan Lips, a reporter for The New Haven Register who has been covering the trial in East Haven of two police officers accused of violating the civil rights of several Latinos during arrests. The officers are David Cari and Dennis Spaulding, who were charged with conspiracy to violate civil rights. Spaulding was also charged with excessive force. Lips shared his observations about the early stages of the trial.

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Gender
11:20 am
Thu October 3, 2013

ACLU On Single-Sex Education In Connecticut

Credit State Education Resource Center

The American Civil Liberties Union in Connecticut said it's concerned about the idea of single-sex classrooms as a way to address the state’s achievement gap.

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