Let's Make America Civil Again

Stacy Matson | Celebrity Health
Let's Make America Civil Again

image by: Polina Kovaleva

In the end anti-black, anti-female, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing: anti-humanism - Shirley Chisholm

March 1, 2017 was Zero Discrimination Day, a worldwide, United Nations event that celebrates human diversity.  Since 2014, the organization and its partners have worked tirelessly to put an end to discriminatory practices around the world so that all humans can live a life of dignity regardless of age, gender, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, skin color, medical condition, height, weight, profession, education, or religious beliefs.

Ending discrimination is a lofty goal as there are millions of people around the world who experience it daily.  And for the most part, discriminatory practices are often fueled by laws, policies, and long held beliefs that are never based on human rights.  Instead, they’re based on deeply ingrained moral judgments, fear, and misinformation. Simply put, discrimination is a violation of basic human rights.  It’s immoral, it’s hurtful, and it’s dehumanizing.

Americans love to talk about their “rights.”  But what’s interesting to me is how much discrimination there is here - racism, sexism, ageism, all of them!  I’ve realized that the part in our Constitution which says we cannot be discriminated against based on race, color, or creed only applies sometimes and only to certain people. We love to quote this, but we don't really mean it.

Think about what’s going on right now in the United States, specifically since the last presidential election. There’s been a “yuge” surge in hate crimes. (Yes, I meant “yuge” and yes “hate crimes” cover all types of discrimination.)  In New York alone they’ve seen a 42% increase in hate crimes compared to the same time last year.  And just about every other state has seen an increase in racial, political, or religious violence.  

I don’t know where all this anger and hatred is coming from.  We are so lucky to live in the most multicultural country in the world, with a Constitution that guarantees us human rights.  And yet we are quick to rip those rights away from others.  We want to ban Muslims from entry, we threaten to deport hard working Mexicans, we talk of building walls that will tear families apart, and we’re slamming our doors in the faces of people who are simply looking for a better life.

We’re not acting like the country we set out to be.  As a result, we’re turning into fear mongering, racist, sexist, xenophobic people.  So, I guess in the era of border walls, and travel bans we need a Zero Discrimination Day to remind us how we should treat one another. Perhaps more people will take a stand and refuse to treat others badly just because they look different.  Or, because they hold different beliefs.  Or, because they love different.  People aren’t the enemy.  Fear is.

If you want Make America Civil Again there are hundreds of organizations out there making a difference.  And, whether you're concerned with religious rights, women's reproductive rights, civil liberties, gender equality, or LGBTQ rights the following organizations are doing great work and are some of the highest rated by Charity Navigator.  

Women's Rights

Planned Parenthood.  Yes, they provide abortion services and if you don't want one, you don't have to have one. However, they also provide reproductive health services, cancer screening, and mammograms to millions of underserved women.  Planned Parenthood is a 501(c)3 and according to the website half of your donation would go to a Planned Parenthood affiliate in your area and the other half would go to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

The Center for Reproductive Rights is a legal advocacy group that works to strengthen and enforce laws and policies related to reproductive rights and women's health care.  The Center is also a 501(c)3 organization.

Immigration Rights

The National Immigration Law Center is a 501(c)3 organization that defends the rights of low-income and illegally detained immigrants. They focus on policy issues such as healthcare, workers’ rights, and legal status for immigrant youth.

LGBTQ Rights

The Human Rights Campaign, a 501(c)3 organization, advocates for anti-discrimination legislation and support for people with HIV/AIDS.

The Trevor Project,  a 501(c)3 organization, focuses on suicide prevention among members of the LGBTQ community and operates the "Trevor Lifeline" which is a confidential call-in service with trained counselors.

Civil Rights

For nearly 100 years, the American Civil Liberties Union has worked to defend and preserve the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution.  The ACLU consists of two nonprofit entities: the ACLU and the ACLU Foundation. Donations to the ACLU, a 501(c)4, go toward lobbying and litigation.  However, if you'd like to make a tax-deductible donation, you can donate to the ACLU Foundation, a 501(c)3 that can't use money for legislative purposes.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a 501(c)3 organization, focuses on combating hate, intolerance, and discrimination through education and litigation.  They work tirelessly to defend the civil rights of minorities, prisoners, and the LGBT community.

Stacy Matson is a health enthusiast from Southern California and regularly blogs on Celebrity Health for A Healthier World, as well as contributing to the Best of Best.

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