On Independence Day, also celebrate the 14th Amendment’s promise of equal protection

On Independence Day, also celebrate the 14th Amendment’s promise of equal protection

An American flag flutters in the breeze during at the Fairfield Fireworks at Penfield Beach in Fairfield, Conn. on Monday, July 2, 2018. Did you know that it took 92 years and five days after the Declaration of Independence was signed to write the promise that “all men are created equal” into the Constitution — and apply it to every one of us? On July 9, 150 years ago, the 14th Amendment was adopted, offering equal protection under the law and due process for all persons, citizen and noncitizen alike. As you reflect on America’s founding on July 4, I invite you to join me in also celebrating July 9, which is the day of our second founding as a nation committed to equal protection for everyone. It was the fight by black people to secure citizenship rights after overcoming slavery that paved the way for the 14th Amendment and its assurance of “equal protection under the law.” The 14th Amendment overturned the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision, which had held that free blacks were not citizens. From Brown vs. Board of Education, which struck down “separate but equal” schools, to Loving vs. Virginia, which struck down laws barring interracial marriage, the 14th Amendment has been the basis of these and countless other rights we have today. The clause “equal protection under the law” has been used by people of all races, faiths, genders and sexual orientations to advance fairness and human dignity. As an Iranian American born in […]

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