Statement of Assemblyman Steve Otis on the 56th Anniversary of the Signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Today, July 2nd, marks the 56thanniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is a day to note the promise made with the enactment of legislation to make discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin illegal and require equal access in employment, education and the right to vote.

The Civil Rights Act was followed by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other federal legislation that prohibit discrimination in housing, employment and against persons with disabilities – all actions to further the promise of America for all individuals.

Yet today is also a day to reflect upon where these laws have fallen short in delivering on the promises made. It is a day to note efforts through the courts and actions of lawmakers to weaken the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and continue discrimination in our country. Federal agencies responsible for enforcing these laws need to be strengthened again.

To properly mark this year’s anniversary, we must focus on the understanding that there are many challenges ahead and much work to accomplish. As was the case in 1964, today the country is again galvanized to change past wrongs. We must make sure that this time the promises of equality and justice throughout our society are fulfilled.