• CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964

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    Fifty-seven years ago, on July 2nd, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted. The Act outlaws discrimination based on race, color, sex, national origin and paved the way to future conquest of rights on the criminalization of prejudice based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

    Then-President John F. Kennedy originally proposed the legislation in June 1963 but initially was opposed in the Senate. After Kennedy's assassination, President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed the bill forward once more, and, after a 54 days filibuster, the US Congress passed it on June 19th, 1964. The final vote was 290–130 in the House of Representatives and 73–27 in the Senate.

    Although undoubtedly the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is one of the most significant legislative achievements in American history, it made clear one critical issue: How much good for the people a law that the State cannot enforce nationwide can do? There is no argument that the enactment of the Act of 1964 was not a significant victory to the Civil Rights Movement, which was active since the 1950s. Still, the approval of legislation alone was not enough to solve all the issues they struggled against for years. Several significant events in the following years would make that clear, which would motive future changes and amendments in the Act itself.

    Many business owners maintained their segregational practices long after the Act. In addition, many states still passed or kept a series of discriminatory requirements and procedures to disenfranchise the black population, deliberately preventing millions from registering to vote and voting. Nevertheless, the Civil Rights Movement struggle pressed on. The Selma to Montgomery marches (1965) protested against those disenfranchising practices and, despite peaceful, was violently repressed. The cause of the Orangeburg massacre (1968) was a protest against a business that still didn't accept African American clients. Many murderers influent figures of the Civil Rights Movement happened after enacting the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, most notably Malcolm X on February 21st, 1965; Viola Liuzzo and James Reeb, both on March 1965 during the events of the Selma to Montgomery march; Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4th, 1968 and Fred Hempton on December 4th, 1969.

    Nonetheless, July 2nd is a date to be celebrated as a day that legally brought civil rights and equality to millions of American citizens, but also as a reminder that a victory over legal battles may not get the expected improvements to society immediately. The end of many social struggles cannot happen before their effects are felt in the real world by the community.

    In memory of those who fought and fight so that every human being may live on equal grounds, hooah!


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