Civil Rights

Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife will formally acknowledge Friday that it violated the constitutional rights of two brothers who commercially fished the Columbia River.

Rowan Moore Gerety / Northwest News Network

Voters in Yakima will elect their first Latino city councilor today, after a lawsuit brought by the ACLU forced the city to create a new electoral map. Even before the results come in, some residents of the new majority-Latino districts feel that change is already underway.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington’s Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island is home to 252 sex offenders. These are men -- and one woman -- who’ve completed their prison sentences but are deemed too dangerous to release. The state is supposed to offer treatment to all of them so they can have the chance to get out. But advocates say a group of disabled residents are languishing in unconstitutional conditions that give them little hope of ever leaving the island.

Spokane NAACP Stands By Dolezal, Waits For Explanation

Jun 12, 2015

The NAACP is standing behind the besieged president of the Spokane chapter, at least for the time being.

swong95765 / Flickr

A Eugene convenience store violated the civil rights of a disabled customer when it refused to allow a woman entrance with her service animal. That is Monday's ruling from BOLI -- The Bureau of Labor and Industries.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

A 30-year-old novel has just been translated to English but keeps its Spanish name, "Muerte En Una Estrella." The author is Sergio Elizondo, and the translators are Rosaura Sanchez and Beatrice Pita. Our reviewer Alan Cheuse says it crackles.

As part of NPR's "Book Your Trip" series, TV critic Eric Deggans looks at a different kind of summertime journey, described in two books that became TV shows: PBS's documentary Freedom Summer, debuting tonight, and The Hallmark Channel's The Watsons Go to Birmingham.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Ellen Willis was the first rock critic for The New Yorker is. She was also a radical feminist writer and activist. Her work appeared in the Village Voice, where she was a columnist, as well as in Rolling Stone and The Nation.

Martin Luther King may not have had a vote in Congress, but he and the movement he helped lead were integral to getting the civil rights bill introduced. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of that bill, now known as the Civil Rights Act.

Among other things, the act outlawed discrimination in public accommodations — including restaurants, hotels and motels — ending the era of legal segregation in those places.

If you've been browsing bookstores this summer, you'll probably notice there are, in some places, whole tables devoted to books about the civil rights movement. The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington has focused national attention on movement history and most everything related to it.

While the cynics among us might argue that America's high ideals and lofty rhetoric rarely transcend their inscriptions on stone, few would disagree that the 1963 March on Washington was one of the nation's finest hours. It was a transformational moment, and a portent for future blows to segregation and injustice.

Can a rhythm and blues song change the world? That's the question at the heart of veteran author Mark Kurlansky's new book, Ready for a Brand New Beat, a chronicle of the spectacular success of Motown hit "Dancing in the Street."

The reaction is split in Coeur d’Alene after the city council passed an ordinance banning gay and lesbian discrimination Tuesday night.

Paige Browning reports.


Oregon Gathers Signature For Same-Sex Marriage

Feb 15, 2013

Gay rights supporters in Oregon have begun the early work to put same-sex marriage on the 2014 ballot. Their petition was filed with the Secretary of State on Monday.

Now, 1,000 signatures are needed to initiate the ballot title process. Among the first to sign the petition Thursday were Governor John Kitzhaber and former Governor Barbara Roberts.

Copyright 2012 Matt McKnight

There’s a new effort to build a white supremacist compound in the Northwest. The Southern Poverty Law Center has reported that a man in remote north Idaho has been developing property to revive the Neo-Nazi presence there.

The latest TV ad from same-sex marriage opponents in Washington focuses on school children. It warns “schools could teach that boys could marry boys”. This ad mirrors those that ran in other states when gay marriage came up for a vote. And campaign strategists on both sides agree, it’s been a game changer. KUOW’s Liz Jones takes a closer at the ad’s claims and the track record of this particular strategy.

Washington Catholics Take On Referendum 74

Jun 5, 2012

This fall, people in Washington state will likely vote on a referendum to repeal same-sex marriage. Backers of Referendum 74 plan to turn in signatures by Wednesday to put the issue on the ballot. One of the biggest proponents of the repeal is the Catholic archdiocese of Seattle. It wants all of its parishes to actively campaign against same-sex marriage. But some Catholics are feeling caught in the middle, as Liz Jones reports.

This week, same-sex marriage opponents in Washington state plan to turn in signatures for Referendum 74. The measure seeks to rollback the state’s recent legalization of gay marriage.

Conservative churches are a key base for the Referendum campaign, including many African American churches. Numerous polls show black voters, compared to whites, are more opposed to gay marriage.

Now, some wonder how these voters’ views might shift given President Obama’s support for marriage equality.

In the first of our two-part series about same-sex marriage and the church, Liz Jones visits two Baptist churches in the Puget Sound area.

The U.S. Forest Service can no longer use Border Patrol agents as interpreters. That’s according to an order from the federal agriculture department that was made public this week.

The issue stems from a case on the Olympic Peninsula near Forks last year. A Latino man and woman were picking salal … that’s shrub used in floral arrangements.

President Obama made a quick fundraising trip through Seattle Thursday. The trip included his first appearances since announcing his support for gay marriage. Democrats at the fundraiser were quick to show their appreciation. But they also predicted that his stance will energize his opponents as well as his supporters. KUOW’s Amy Radil reports.

Idaho Lawmakers Weigh In On National Contraception Policy

Mar 14, 2012
Photo by Mark Kobayashi-Hillary / Wikimedia Commons

BOISE, Idaho -- Some Idaho lawmakers are weighing in on a national debate over whether religious institutions should be required to provide birth control coverage to employees. Samantha Wright reports.

OLYMPIA -- Same sex marriage supporters in Washington state are chalking up a small victory Tuesday. A Thurston County judge agrees with changes they wanted on a possible voter referendum.

Wash. Voters May Find Referendum Confusing

Mar 12, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Over the next few months in Washington, someone may approach you with a petition. Opponents of same-sex marriage are trying to force a referendum vote on Washington’s new marriage equality law. There’s also a separate initiative to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Meanwhile, gay rights supporters are also collecting signatures for their own non-binding pledge. Confused? Azusa Uchikura has this voter’s guide.

Petitioning To Repeal Same-Sex Marriage In Wash. Begins

Mar 12, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Tuesday in Olympia, a county judge will word-smith the ballot language for the a referendum challenging the same-sex marriage in Washington. Christian conservatives want to overturn the legislature’s approval of gay marriage last month.

Photo courtesy Wash. Legislature

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Gay rights supporters will gather Monday in an ornate reception room in the Washington state capitol. They will witness history as Governor Chris Gregoire signs into law legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins looks at how the rhetoric that led to this controversial moment has changed.

Same-Sex Marriage Decision Personal for Lawmakers

Feb 9, 2012
Photo by Azusa Uchikura

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A bill to legalize same-sex marriage is in the hands of Governor Chris Gregoire. It passed the Washington House Wedesday with a 55-43 vote. During the three-hour debate, many lawmakers shared their own personal stories.

Photo by Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Wednesday, the Washington state House is expected to send a gay marriage bill to the governor. The final measure will likely contain some special language to address a concern raised by faith-based foster and adoption agencies. These state contractors don’t want to be forced to place children with gay couples. But Washington law already prohibits them from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. So how does that work now? As Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins found out, it’s “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Same-Sex Marriage Clears House Committee

Feb 7, 2012
Wikimedia Commons

OLYMPIA, Wash. - One more vote by the full Washington House is all that remains before same-sex marriage goes to the governor's desk in Olympia. In a narrow vote Monday, a House committee moved the gay marriage bill forward. A floor vote could come as early as Wednesday night.

In testimony Monday, gay rights activist Charleen Strong introduced a panel of lawmakers to her newborn daughter.

"And it is my hope that she will know that her moms have the right to be married and to be a family, just as many other Washington families have," Strong said.

Photo Credit: Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, WASH. – The battle to allow gay marriage in Washington has cleared a major hurdle. The Washington state Senate voted [last night] Wednesday night to approve same-sex marriage. The vote was 28 to 21. Four Republicans voting with the majority. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins was there for the historic debate.

Photo Credit: Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Four Washington Republicans joined majority Democrats Wednesday night to approve a same-sex marriage bill in the state Senate. The historic vote represents a major step forward for gay rights supporters. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins was there for the debate.

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