This week, the country mourned the passing of civil rights leader Reverend Joseph Lowery. Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic has brought up a number of civil rights issues—from a state governor ordering police to stop cars with New York license plates, to investigations into state hospitals’ discriminatory guidelines in determining who will get lifesaving care, to increased racial attacks on Asian Americans.
Rev. Joseph Lowery, a civil rights icon, died at 98. Rev. Lowery had an extensive career advancing civil rights causes through activism and was the co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. NPR.
The Office of Civil Rights at HHS has opened a series of civil rights investigations to prevent states’ medical providers from discrimination in determining who gets lifesaving treatment during the current medical emergency. For example, Alabama’s guidance states that people with “severe or profound mental retardation” and “moderate to severe dementia” should be prioritized lower for ventilator support in a period of rationing. New York Times.
The ACLU of Rhode Island is contesting the constitutionality of Governor Gina Raimondo’s order to state police to stop cars with New York license plates to ensure that travelers from New York know they are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Steven Brown, executive director, argues that simply having a New York license plate cannot constitute probable cause for a stop under the Fourth Amendment. Newsday.
A study published by the National Academy of Sciences found that racial bias was a major problem for automated voice-recognition systems used by Amazon, Google, IBM, and Microsoft. Researchers found that the systems’ average error rate in transcribing interviews with white people was 19%, but was 35% for black interviewees. The Root.
San Francisco State Professor Russell Jeung launched a website tracking incidents of harassment and assault against Asian Americans in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. In its first eight days, the site received more than 650 reports. NPR.
Resources for survivors of domestic violence worldwide are stretched thin as more and more people are at home with abusers. Activists in many countries have been calling for legal and policy changes to give greater protections to people in dangerous situations. The Guardian.
A California federal judge ordered the government to make “continuous” efforts to release migrant children from federal detention facilities. The order came after reports that four children at a federally licensed facility in New York had tested positive for coronavirus. New York Times.
Alabama police officer Blake Duke was put back on duty after being caught on camera placing 53-year-old Howard Green in a chokehold after he was already in handcuffs. Though Duke was found to have violated departmental policy, he was merely placed on desk duty for one month. The Root.