July 2020 -- Tammuz-Av 5780,  Volume 26, Issue 7

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Landmark Ruling Protects L.G.B.T. Workers

by Joseph Kaidanow, Chairperson HHREC  and Millie Jasper, Executive Director HHREC

 

“Landmark Ruling Protects L.G.B.T. Workers,” so read the banner headline of the New York Times on Tuesday June 16th, 2020.

 

This past Monday, June 15, we saw an example of our better angels at work. In a 6-3 ruling, the US Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling protecting L.G.B.T. workers from being fired on the basis of their sexual orientation. Five years ago, the Court established a fundamental right for same-sex couples to marry; yesterday’s decision builds on that precedent.

 

It was on another day in June in 1865, after the end of the Civil War, when the Union Army occupied Galveston, Texas declaring all Southern slaves free under the terms of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth, June 19th, is commemorated each year as the nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

 

Clearly, the wheels of justice do not move swiftly. As recent events prove we are still far from realizing our founding ideal of a more perfect Union but, we must never give up.  As Martin Luther King advised, paraphrasing Unitarian minister Theodore Parker, “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

 

We are heartened by both Monday’s landmark news and the glimmers of hope that a criminal justice and enforcement system may finally see genuine reform. Such progress encourages us to redouble our ongoing efforts to educate students, teachers and our community about the corrosive nature of both active discrimination and hatred of others as well as the dangers of silence and inaction.

 

The Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center {HHREC} uses the lessons of the Holocaust to inform our advocacy for all aspects of human rights. We are painfully aware of humankind’s capacity for evil. However, the Holocaust is also a story of resilience, hope, and courage, acts of compassion and self-sacrifice which make us certain that peace and justice will ultimately prevail as it did yesterday.