Civil Rights

Fifty years after he was assassinated at age 39, Malcolm X remains a controversial and somewhat mysterious figure. During his short but eventful life, he was a minister with the Nation of Islam who went on to found his own mosque, a fiery militant who advocated “any means necessary” to attain racial justice, and a brilliant, charismatic speaker whose legacy is still being determined.

In the season of the 2016 general election, we’re discussing the history of voting rights on today’s show with, Michael Waldman. He is the president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU’s School of Law, and the author of a new book, titled The Fight To Vote.

Belonging is a fundamental human need. Equally strong is the drive to exclude. This is what Seattle University School of Law professor Sara Rankin calls "the influence of exile," which transcends individuals when powerful groups use laws and policies to restrict marginalized groups. The impulse to exclude is visible today in laws that criminalize and eject visibly poor people, including the homeless, from public spaces.

courtesy ACLU of Idaho

For six years Monica Hopkins has been one of Idaho’s top civil rights campaigners as head of the ACLU of Idaho. Now Hopkins is leaving the state to take charge of the American Civil Liberties Union branch in Washington D.C.  

Hopkins says the ACLU of Idaho has accomplished a lot in these last six years. Among those successes, she lists lawsuits seeking better conditions for inmates in Canyon County as well as lawsuits against prison operator Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

This winter, protests hit the Idaho Capitol at a level rarely seen in Boise. Gay rights activists blocked entrances and were marched away in handcuffs.

They want Idaho's Republican-controlled Legislature to pass an anti-discrimination law similar to those in Oregon and Washington. It would make it illegal for employers, landlords and most businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

But lawmakers plan to wrap up the session this Friday without ever printing the bill.

Pressure through civil disobedience

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

About 100 people gathered at the Anne Frank Memorial Park in Boise Wednesday afternoon to remember this day 50 years ago when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I have a Dream” speech.

One of the Boiseans who attended the historic March on Washington in 1963 was Yvonne McCoy. McCoy grew up in Virginia, and was 15 at the time. She says that even as a young girl, she was involved with the civil rights movement.