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Archives for August 2015

Champion For Voting Rights Dies

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog
Amelia Boynton Robinson passed away last week at the age of 104.  She was one of the leaders of the voting rights movement that resulted in the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.  Boynton Robinson had worked to register Southern African-American voters since the 1930s.  She ran for Congress in 1963.  She was the first African-American woman ever to do so.
She was an organizer of the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to demand the right to vote.  On March 7, 1965, hundreds of African-Americans were marching and attempting to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.  There they were met by Alabama state troopers armed with tear gas, billy clubs and whips.
Boynton Robinson was near the front of the line.  She was knocked unconscious and hospitalized.  Nearly 20 others were hospitalized as well.  A photograph of Boynton Robinson following the attack appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world in 1965.  News coverage of “Bloody Sunday” was deemed instrumental in garnering support for the civil rights movement.
Just 5 months later, on Aug 6, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the federal Voting Rights Act into law.  Boynton Robinson was a guest of honor at the signing.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
Amelia Boynton Robinson, activist beaten on Selma bridge …
Amelia Boynton Robinson, civil rights matriarch, dies at 104
Amelia Boynton Robinson, a Pivotal Figure at the Selma …


A Few Good Women

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog
Last week for the first time women graduated from the Army’s Ranger School.  Two women graduated – Captain Kristen Griest, 26, a military police platoon leader, and 1st Lieutenant Shaye Haver, 25, an Apache attack helicopter pilot.  19 women entered the training.  94 men made it out of 380 that entered training.
Ranger School was opened to women for the first time this past April as the Army assesses integrating women into more positions in combat units.  It is one of the toughest tests the military has.  It requires performing a number of physically and mentally challenging tasks under difficult conditions with little food and sleep.  It takes a couple of months to complete Ranger School if all tests are passed on the first try.  Many take longer to complete the training.  Of the 96 in Griest’s and Haver’s class, 40 went “straight through” and the rest repeated portions of the course.  Last year 4,057 attempted the course and 1,609 graduated.
There are additional tests that those who made it through Ranger School still have to pass to join the 75th Ranger Regiment.  The 94 men who completed Ranger School can continue on.  The 2 women can’t because the Ranger Regiment remains male-only.  That may soon change.
In January of 2013 then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey signed an order eliminating numerous limits on women’s service in the military and ordering a quarter-million jobs open regardless of gender.  The military was also ordered to engage in a review of requirements for combat jobs and make any arguments in support of keeping certain jobs closed to women by January of 2016.  Standards were not to be reduced.
The Navy and Air Force have few jobs closed to women.  The Army and Marine Corps still have numerous positions that remain closed to women which often involve fighting in small units on the front lines and doing physically grueling tasks.  The military is completing their reviews and will make any arguments to Defense Secretary Ash Carter in the coming months.
It appears that most if not all jobs that remain closed to women may open.  There remain deep divides over the wisdom of this.  Some believe if you can meet the established standards then you should be allowed to have the position.  Others believe despite that, there are still reasons to leave some jobs closed to women.
For more on this topic see . . .
The Washington Post Editorial Board: Let women serve in elite military units

Kathleen Parker: Military is putting women at unique risk

William Denn: Women in combat roles would strengthen the military

Dan Lamothe: These are the Army’s first female Ranger School graduates



Customer Tells Lowe’s “Don’t Send a Black Delivery Driver”

Jon Allison

 Monday Blog

Last week a Lowe’s Home Improvement delivery driver in Danville, Virginia was told he could not make a delivery because he is African-American and the customer did not want a black person on her property.

Marcus Bradley has been employed with Lowe’s for 11 years.  He and Alex Brooks, a long-time coworker who makes deliveries with Bradley, were in their truck on the way to make the delivery when their manager called and told them to come back.  Their manager told them that the customer had given specific instructions that she didn’t want a black employee making the delivery.  Both were shocked, but they turned the truck around and went back.  Brooks, who is white, refused to get back in the truck and make the delivery without Bradley.  Another white driver made the delivery.

Upon learning of the situation, Lowe’s terminated the manager involved and apologized to its employees.  Lowe’s also issued a statement saying “Under no circumstances should a discriminatory delivery request be honored as it is inconsistent with our diversity and inclusion core values and the request should have been refused.”  The homeowner who made the request said “I got a right to have whatever I want and that’s it,” and “I don’t feel bad about nothing.”

Even where a company has policies against discrimination, managers still make discriminatory employment decisions.  Follow this link to read more.

14-Year Employee Terminated After Background Check Reveals 1990 Misdemeanor

BMW is going to trial soon on the issue of whether it violated employment discrimination laws when it used criminal background checks at its Greer, South Carolina plant that had a disparate impact on African-Americans.  The background checks were completed in 2008.  After reviewing the background checks 88 employees lost their jobs.  70 were African-American and many had been employed for years.  One was terminated after 14 years of employment because her background check revealed a misdemeanor from 1990 with a fine of $137.

Additional information can be found here.