July 9 marks the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 14th Amendment, signed into the Constitution in the wake of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. The 14th Amendment provides for citizenship for "all persons born" in the United States, and provides for equal protection and due process for all persons, citizen and non-citizen alike.
The #Powerthe14th campaign is meant to encourage us all to learn and be in conversation with each other about this history, the current threats to our rights, and how we can each be the power behind the 14th Amendment. We hope these conversations happen online, in the news, in our homes, and in our organizations and events.
One such conversation happened on June 21, 2018 at The Battery in San Francisco. Abdi Soltani, Executive Director of the ACLU Northern California, led a conversation with two Bay Area social justice luminaries about what it means to "be the power behind the 14th Amendment."
Tirien Steinbach, Executive Director of East Bay Community Law Center and Lecturer-in-Residence, UC Berkeley Law School; and Dorsey Nunn, Executive Director, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and a key leader of All of Us or None, shared some crucial markers from the history of the 14th Amendment, as well as some of the critical ways that the 14th Amendment is being defended – and attacked – with regard to civil rights issues today - ranging from racial justice to free speech, women's rights, LGBT equality, and immigrants' rights.
Photo: Bethanie Hines Photography