"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by General Manager, Nick Simonette.
The Declaration of Independence claims that "that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…"
Well, for nearly 200 years, that basically applied to white males only.
It certainly didn't apply during the years our nation tolerated slavery…
didn't begin to apply for women until the early 20th century…
and didn't apply in reality when "separate but equal" was deemed as fair and appropriate.
Fifty years ago this month, we took a great leap forward with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
This new law outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, the workplace, and "public accommodations."
As you might expect, it didn't pass without rancor and debate in Congress.
And it didn't bring about immediate change for those who had previously been excluded.
But it was a historic benchmark…a new beginning in both the legal and practical treatment of those generally labeled as "minorities."
Fifty years after passage of the Civil Rights Act, we still have work to do. But we have made progress.
Let us continue to ensure that all people in our great country are treated fairly, with respect, and with equal application of the law.