The National Organization for Women today congratulates Bill Lann Lee on his appointment as acting chief of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. "Bill Lann Lee is the civil rights advocate the U.S. needs to push an agenda that will move us toward equal rights," said NOW Action Vice-President Elizabeth Toledo.
Toledo accused conservatives of political opportunism. "Conservatives have used this nomination as a political opportunity much like they tried unsuccessfully to get Republicans elected in California by attacking affirmative action," said Toledo, who is the former statewide chair of the Stop 209 campaign in California. "We need a civil rights chief who commits to aggressively pursuing all legal options for preventing and remedying discrimination. Party politics shouldn't get in the way of that goal.
"As long as the barriers of racism and sexism remain apparent, government, private industry and educational institutions need a strong commitment to affirmative action and other equal opportunity solutions. It's outrageous for Republicans to focus on tearing down equal opportunity programs when 95 percent of the top-paying jobs at Fortune 500 companies go to men, 88 percent of those who serve in Congress are men, and job segregation persists across all pay scales and major industries," Toledo said.
Affirmative action -- and its political repercussions -- will be a major topic at NOW's Women of Color and Allies Summit, entitled "Linking Arms in Dangerous Times," February 20-22 in Arlington, VA. "Women from all around the country are willing to fight to preserve affirmative action. This summit will be an opportunity for us to craft strategies to do just that," Toledo said.
Link to this release at http://www.now.org/press/12-97/12-15-97.html