WASHINGTON, DC (March 22, 2017) – This afternoon, civil rights leaders met with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer to discuss key policy issues and express their shared opposition to the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the ACA repeal bill, and the Administration’s economic agenda.
Attendees included: Marc H. Morial, president and CEO, National Urban League; Kristen Clarke, president and executive director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Wade Henderson, president and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president, National Action Network; and Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable.
“As always, we thank Senator Schumer for his attention to our priorities,” said Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League. “When we met with him in January we shared our collective concerns for what may come in this new Congress and Administration. Now, our worst fears are being realized as the latest assaults from lawmakers and the President threaten to devastate our way of life. Our civil rights and our judicial system are experiencing one rollback after another, from the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, to the attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and the proposal of a skinny budget, we are witnessing an erosion of the progress we’ve made thus far. We implore Senator Schumer to continue to do what he can to guarantee the continuance and advancement of our great democracy.”
Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said, “We look forward to working with leaders across Congress to promote legislative action that safeguards and protects civil rights. It is time for Congress to move forward with long overdue criminal justice reform, which enjoys bi-partisan support. It is also time for Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act, following the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder. We also will continue to look closely at nominees that come before Congress to ensure that these individuals are prepared to move our nation forward.”
“We deeply appreciate the opportunity to continue the conversation with Leader Schumer to discuss the agenda of the national civil rights community,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “With the many troubling actions being taken by the Trump administration and Congress, it is reassuring that Senator Schumer is willing to stand up for the civil and human rights of all. Just some of the issues we are concerned about include the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and increase the number of uninsured by 24 million people, and a proposed budget that slashes resources devoted to critical job training, education, and social service programs that serve low-income, working and middle class people.”
“We appreciated the opportunity to meet with Senator Schumer and to discuss a number of LDF’s priorities, including our opposition to the confirmation of Judge Gorsuch whose record raises deep concerns about how he will approach key civil rights protections, as well as the need to advance economic and infrastructure policies that ensure equal economic opportunity and mobility for all Americans,” said NAACP Legal Defense Fund President and Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill.
Reverend Al Sharpton, founder of the National Action Network said, “We challenged Senator Schumer to continue to strive to get the Senate Democrats to block any vote on Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch until the investigation of Russian ties into the elections of 2016 are completed. It is a civil right that our votes not be interfered with by foreign governments. I urged Senator Schumer to unequivocally block the Health Care bill that will upend what millions of Americans now enjoy as a result of the Affordable Care Act and stressed that people must receive quality health care based upon their infirmities, not upon their income.”
"The meeting with Senator Schumer was very encouraging and offered my civil rights colleagues and I a vitally important opportunity to present our key policy priorities and concerns for the 115th Congress,” said Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable. “The National Coalition and the Black Women’s Roundtable are especially concerned about the plans by Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act with no viable replacement, leaving more than 24 million Americans without insurance coverage. In particular, we fear that African American women, seniors and our families, will suffer greatly as a result of this repeal. We simply cannot afford to let this happen to the American people.”
The group also requested a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Kezmiché “Kim” Atterbury, National Urban League, (202) 629-5750, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nikki Thompson, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, (202) 662-8382, email@example.com
Shin Inouye, The Leadership Conference, (202) 869-0398, Inouye@civilrights.org
Melanie Newman, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, (202) 682-1300, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Noerdlinger, National Action Network, (212) 681-1380, email@example.com
Lon Walls, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, (301) 966-1669, Lwalls@wallscomm.com