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History of the
Equality and justice for all people in the United States of
America did not happen overnight. The perseverance of the civil rights movement
and the leadership and conviction of activists like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and
Rosa Parks raised the voices of millions who were living in a world filled
with racial inequality. Solidifying the work of the movement and these activists
has been led by a coalition of 200 national organizations known as the
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights engages
in legislative advocacy and coordinates national lobbying efforts in support of
equality and social justice. Founded in 1950 by A. Philip Randolph, head of the
Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, Roy Wilkins of the NAACP, and Arnold
Aronson, a leader of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council,
the coalition sought to win the struggle for civil rights by joining the forces
of many organizations.
The coalition helped transform this nation by coordinating
national lobbying efforts for every major civil rights law since 1957 and winning
the passage of several laws that advanced equality. The Leadership Conference
helped outlaw discrimination in America by helping pass such notable legislation
In 1968, the Leadership Conference created the Leadership
Conference Education Fund to serve research efforts that empower advocates
around the country to push for change and legislation to improve or maintain
The Leadership Conference
Today the coalition consists of 200 organizations and continues
to ensure equal opportunity for all, protect civil rights, help ensure civil
liberties worker protections, and promote civic engagement. The organization
also works to support communities and families and to help reform the nation’s
criminal justice system.
Recent campaigns by the Leadership Conference led to the
creation of new legislation. The coalition worked with other organizations in
2010 to ensure that the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection
Act protected consumers from predatory lending practices.
In 2009, the coalition led campaigns to enact the Matthew
Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act which extended
protection to victims of hate crimes based on their sexual orientation or
gender in addition to race, color,
religion, or national origin. The coalition also led a campaign in support of
the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 that called for removing limitations
on when workers could challenge pay discrimination in court.
A variety of organizations comprise the Leadership
Conference for Civil and Human Rights. Many organizations in the coalition are
dedicated to supporting civil and human rights, the disabled, labor rights, or
issues that protect civil and human rights.
Getting Involved and
Whether one is a student of public service or interested in
civil rights and diversity, it’s important to get acquainted with organizations
that lead the way in civil rights reform and legislation. Supporting communities
and serving society involves education and understanding how organizations help
transform movements or causes into laws that provide protection to all.
To commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Center for
Public Service selected the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
because of its dedication to driving change and helping improve equality. Anyone
interested in more information about the Leadership Conference for Civil and
Human Rights can visit www.civilrights.org
where many resources and publications are available. Undergraduate students
interested in internships who live in the Washington, DC, area can visit the Internships section on
their website for information on opportunities that may be available.
Kaplan University’s College of Public
Service also offers courses and programs that seek to serve communities and
drive change. We encourage those interested in pursuing careers in public
service or public
administration to visit our College of Public Service for information on
our courses and programs.
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