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“My Brother’s Keeper” Mentoring Pledge Friday, June 13, 2014 Washington, D.C.
June 13, 2014 Posted by
Video: Celebrating Fatherhood and Encouraging Mentorship with the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative

Video: Celebrating Fatherhood and Encouraging Mentorship with the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative

I would not be where I am today without the love, guidance, and support of my father.  He taught me to work hard, to dream big, to give back to my community, and to always remember the responsibility I have to be a role model for my own children.  But as we celebrate Father’s Day this weekend, we must all be mindful of a tragic truth: far too many children simply cannot count on the love and support of an attentive parent.  This is not an individual problem – it’s a national concern that affects each and every one of us.  And that’s why President Obama has launched a national call to action – known as “My Brother’s Keeper” – that’s bringing together government and private groups to address persistent opportunity gaps and provide young people with the support they need to stay on the right path.

Attorney General Holder attends an event with his son, Eric Holder III, and his brother, William Holder. (Credit: Department of Justice)

Attorney General Holder attends an event with his son, Eric Holder III, and his brother, William Holder. (Credit: Department of Justice)

My Brother’s Keeper is uniting Americans from all walks of life to build sustained mentoring relationships that will help countless children across the country.  Study after study has shown just how critical it is for our children to have strong, positive role models.  With the benefits of mentorship, kids are more likely to mature into responsible, confident, and healthy young adults who are better prepared to contribute, and to lead, as full and productive members of society – and to serve as role models themselves.

That’s why I’m honored to join President Obama in calling on all Americans to get involved in My Brother’s Keeper today.  By pledging to serve as a long-term mentor to a young person in your community, you can make a real difference while inspiring others to do the same.  You can provide the positive influence that so many children lack, helping to knock down barriers to success and changing the trajectory of a child’s life for the better.

Attorney General Eric Holder hosts a My Brother’s Keeper discussion with Indian American young men at United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, ND. (Credit: Denis Neumann, UTTC)

Attorney General Eric Holder hosts a My Brother’s Keeper discussion with Indian American young men at United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, ND. (Credit: Denis Neumann, UTTC)

The power – and the responsibility – to be a role model for our nation’s young people rests in your hands.  Please take the pledge – at whitehouse.gov/mybrotherskeeper – and do your part to help a new generation of Americans build the better, brighter futures they deserve.

A Message from the Attorney General on the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail
April 16, 2013 Posted by

The following post appears courtesy of Attorney General Eric Holder.

Fifty years ago today, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sat in the Birmingham City Jail, having been arrested four days earlier for participating in a local civil rights march without a permit.  There in his cell, on scraps of newsprint, he began to draft what became one of the most important documents of the Civil Rights era.

In that famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Dr. King wrote that, “all communities and states” are interrelated.  He declared that “[i]njustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  And he implored his fellow citizens to move with “a sense of great urgency” to help build the brighter future that everyone in this country deserves.

Dr. King’s letter was a rebuke to those who cautioned civil rights advocates merely to “wait” for their constitutional rights to be protected, rather than standing up and speaking out to help secure those rights.  It served as a resounding call for Americans from all backgrounds and walks of life to continue the march towards equality and opportunity for all.  And it reaffirmed the values that were at the root of Dr. King’s actions and at the core of his life: tolerance, compassion, non-violence – and, above all, justice.

Despite the adversity that surrounded him – and the darkness of his narrow jail cell – Dr. King was confident in our nation’s greatness.  He was proud of what this country had always stood for – and optimistic about what he knew it could become.  That’s why his vision – and his inspiring words – continue to guide our steps forward even today.

For me, and for my colleagues at every level of the U.S. Department of Justice, the fundamental ideal that energized Dr. King – that justice is the right of all – lies at the center of our daily efforts to protect the American people from terrorism and other national security threats – including cowardly acts like the one we witnessed in Boston yesterday afternoon; to combat violent crime; to eradicate financial fraud; to safeguard the most vulnerable members of society; and to uphold the sacred civil rights to which everyone in this country is entitled.  This ideal also shapes our work to reform America’s criminal justice systems – and to ensure that the mechanisms of these systems promote public safety, deterrence, efficiency and fairness.  And it drives our efforts to close the so-called “justice gap” – by working with organizations like the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) to expand access to civil legal aid for those who need it.

This afternoon, I was proud to join Vice President Biden, Valerie Jarrett, LSC leaders, jurists, educators and members of the private bar at the White House in order to discuss the challenges we face in expanding legal assistance.  The unfortunate reality is that – even today – tens of millions of Americans cannot afford the assistance they need to avail themselves of their rights before our court system.  Studies have shown that, for every eligible person seeking help from a legal aid program, another eligible person is turned away.  And, for all the remarkable, once-unimaginable progress we’ve witnessed since Dr. King’s time – more than 80 percent of civil legal needs faced by low-income individuals continue to go unmet.

As Attorney General, I’ve made expanding access to legal services a major focus for the Department of Justice.  Three years ago, I established a new office known as the Access to Justice Initiative to help spearhead national efforts to ensure that basic legal services are available, affordable and accessible for everyone in this country – regardless of status or income.  Last year, in cooperation with the White House Domestic Policy Council – the Justice Department helped launch an interagency roundtable, bringing together 17 agencies to raise awareness about the impact that civil legal aid can have in promoting access to health and housing, education and employment, family stability and community well-being.  The Department’s Office of Justice Programs is providing support for partnerships that educate, train, and equip lawyers to provide civil legal assistance.  Through events like today’s White House forum, and initiatives like the federal government’s Pro Bono Program, we’re encouraging professionals throughout our nation’s legal community to use their skills and training not simply to make a living, but to make a difference.

As we continue these and other efforts, I believe there’s good reason for confidence in our ability to overcome the obstacles before us – and to help realize Dr. King’s vision for a more just society.  I’m optimistic about what we can accomplish – so long as we remain committed to working together.  And I look forward to all that we must, and will, achieve together in the months and years to come.

Commemorating Equal Pay Day
April 9, 2013 Posted by

Today, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division (@CivilRights) participated in an Equal Pay Twitter Chat. Hosted by the National Women’s Law Center, the event brought together officials from across the Administration, members of Congress, advocates and community members to recognize National Equal Pay Day, which marks the point in the year when women’s wages catch up to those of men in the previous year.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Jocelyn Samuels joined officials from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to discuss equal pay issues. Participants were invited to contribute using the hashtag, “#Talkpay.”

During the chat, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Samuels answered questions about pay discrimination and best practices regarding equal pay enforcement and complaint filings. For example, the department tweeted about the importance of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, and the need for the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act:

@CivilRights: Fair Pay Act gives women ability to challenge pay discrimination when it occurs–but Paycheck Fairness Act is a necessary complement.

@CivilRights: Paycheck Fairness enhances the tools women can use to hold employers accountable when paid less than men for substantially equal work.

The Civil Rights Division has worked diligently to ensure that all workers are treated fairly in the workplace and paid equal wages for equal work without regard to sex, race, national origin or other prohibited factors. Within the past year, the Department has filed numerous complaints on behalf of those whose rights were violated by state and local employers under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment practices that discriminate on grounds of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion. In one recent case, the Division and its partners at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reached a settlement with two Texas state agencies to resolve allegations that three female employees were paid significantly less than their male counterparts for performing essentially the same work. The Department is also part of the National Equal Pay Task Force, which was established by President Barack Obama to crack down on violations of equal pay.

Since the Equal Pay Act was signed in 1963 by President Kennedy, women — who make up nearly half of our Nation’s workforce — earn 23 percent less on average than men do. That disparity is even greater for African-American women and Latinas. That is why the first bill signed by President Obama was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restored to women critical tools to enable them to take action against pay discrimination.

That is why this Administration is calling on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. When women bring home less money than they are owed for the jobs that they do, it means they have less for the everyday needs of their families and, over a lifetime of work, far less in savings for retirement.

Equal Pay Day serves as a reminder for the nation and the Department that we have more to do to ensure economic equality for every employee. The Department and the Attorney General are committed to that effort.

For more information and resources about equal pay, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/equal-pay. | Follow the Civil Rights Division on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/civilrights.

Digital Strategy at the Department of Justice
August 21, 2012 Posted by

On May 23, 2012, the White House released the Federal Digital Strategy that outlined the use of “modern tools and technologies to seize the digital opportunity and fundamentally change how the Federal Government serves both its internal and external customers–building a 21st century platform to better serve the American People.” That means making sure information and services are easily accessible on the internet anytime, anywhere, and on any device. It means you will be able to find and share information that is important to you, your family and your community.

In the past few years, the Department of Justice has taken many steps to make the department’s information more available and accessible. We’ve added hundreds of data sets to data.gov, have begun using social media to bring information directly to you, and added more information to our website than ever before. But we know we can do more. As we begin to formulate our digital strategy, we want your input on which information and services you’d like us to prioritize and make more tech and mobile-friendly. There are two areas where we’d like your input:

  • What Justice Department information would you like to be able to access on mobile devices?
  • What Justice Department information, data, or applications would you like to us make available via APIs (Applied Programming Interface)?

Send us your thoughts on digital strategy at opengov@usdoj.gov.

We’ve come up with a few possibilities for each area. You can see the list on our Digital Strategy web page, justice.gov/digitalstrategy.

We welcome your feedback on the possible candidates for improvement, or other opportunities we may have overlooked. Your feedback, combined with other internal and external conversations, will guide our digital plan in the coming months and years.

Read more about how we are participating in the Digital Government Strategy and Open Government at our website.

The FBI Child ID App: A Free Tool to Help Keep Kids Safe
May 25, 2012 Posted by

FBI Child ID App

Today the FBI released a version of its Child ID App built for Android mobile devices.

The Child ID App provides parents and caregivers with an easy way to electronically store pictures and vital information about their children in case they go missing—whether it’s a toddler wandering away at the mall or a teen who has been snatched by a stranger.

Using the app, you can show pictures of your kids and provide physical identifiers such as height and weight to security or police officers on the spot. You can also quickly and easily e-mail the information to authorities with a few clicks. The app also includes tips on keeping children safe as well as specific guidance on what to do in those first few crucial hours after a child goes missing.

An iPhone version of the app was first released in August 2011.

Download the free app for iPhones from the iTunes store or for Android on Google Play.

 

Equal Pay for Equal Work
April 20, 2012 Posted by

Today, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division (@CivilRights) joined the Equal Pay Twitter Chat hosted by the Department of Labor to discuss the gap in pay between women and men. Participants were invited to ask questions related to pay equality using the hashtag, “#equalpaychat.”

Pay equality is an issue that affects all Americans. The Department is part of the National Equal Pay Task Force, which was established by President Barack Obama to crack down on violations of equal pay. The Civil Rights Division’s Employment Litigation section enforces against state and local government employers the provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and other federal laws prohibiting employment practices that discriminate on grounds of race, sex, religion, and national origin.

During the chat, staff from the Civil Rights Division answered questions related to pay discrimination by public employers and offered tips and links to information about equal pay. For example, the department tweeted about the damage done when compensation is kept secret:

@CivilRights: Pay secrecy makes it harder to find violations. Good public employers make pay data available, which is a great practice.

During the chat, the Department of Justice joined the Department of Labor in recognizing the winners of the Equal Pay App Challenge, which asked developers to address the wage gap through innovative use of data.

Officials from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) also participated in the chat.

For more information and resources about equal pay, visit http://www.dol.gov/equalpay. | Follow the Civil Rights Division on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/civilrights.

 
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