The Civil Rights Act, which acknowledged the equality of people of all colors, was signed into law in 1964. Passed in spite of strong political resistance and brutal violence, this landmark legislation was a turning point for the cause of racial equality in America. The fight is far from over, though. Five decades later, ERASE Racism continues to break down the social and institutional barriers that prevent people from realizing their full potential simply because of the color of their skin.
On June 4, ERASE Racism devoted its annual benefit to a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. The benefit recognized a number of community leaders in the Long Island area dedicated to the mission of ERASE Racism and to racial equality in general. Several individuals and corporations received awards for their efforts toward the development of affordable, sustainable housing; equitable health care access; and integrated communities.
A common theme running through many of these participants’ speeches, however, was that the struggle to end racism and segregation is an ongoing one. As Elaine Gross, president and founder of ERASE Racism, pointed out, even affluent blacks are as likely to live segregated from whites as poor blacks are. Unfortunately, genuine integration in America clearly is still a long way off.
ERASE Racism, and the volunteers and donors who support it, are devoted to eliminating racial discrimination, especially in the areas of housing, health care, and education. Their vision is to transform America into a country of fully integrated communities, where no one is denied opportunity because of race or ethnicity.
As part of its mission, ERASE Racism heads public policy campaigns to promote racial equality. It conducts research and educational initiatives throughout the New York region, and provides a range of training and evaluation services for those interested in carrying on the mission of equality.