Topic: Observing a Civil Rights or Civil Liberties Event
“[A] bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse.“
â€” Thomas Jefferson
Civil liberties and civil rights are salient rights enshrined by the U.S. Constitution and subsequent congressional legislation, executive actions, and judicial decisions. Whereas many times civil liberties and civil rights are used interchangeably, the two terms are distinct.
In short, civil rights are a personâ€™s right to be free from discrimination based on race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, etc. Civil liberties are a personâ€™s basic freedoms. For example: a basic civil liberty is the right to marry. If you were not allowed to marry because the court clerk refused to sign your marriage certificate, then that is a civil liberty concern. But, if the court clerk refused to sign your marriage certificate because you were LGBTQ, then that is a civil rights concern.
The Department of Homeland Securityâ€™s Citizen Resource Center explains the civil liberties, civic rights, and responsibilities of U.S. citizens. Following are the rights, liberties, and responsibilities enjoyed by every citizen:
Source: (USCIS, n.d.)
Did you notice that part of a U.S. citizenâ€™s responsibility includes staying informed of the issues affecting your community, participating in the democratic process, and participating in your local community?
In Mitch Danielsâ€™s book, Keeping the Republic, Purdueâ€™s president and former governor of Indiana argued that most Americans enjoy many of their Constitutional rights. Yet, not all Americans uphold the responsibilities that come with U.S. citizenship. (Daniels, 2011)
So, shall we do a spot of â€œcivic engagementâ€ and shall we actively involve ourselves within local, state, and/or national concerns?
Considering the academic theme of this unit, let us focus on concerns related to civil liberties and civil rights.
Directions: Using the required academic readings and supplemental academic research, please address the following while adhering to the Discussion Board Rubric:
Part 1: First, to prepare to answer the discussion questions, attend a local, state, or federal meeting that addresses either civil liberties or civil rights. Note that you should have the Part 2 discussion questions in mind as you attend the event you choose. Use one of the following options for attendance:
Part 2: After attending a meeting on civil liberties or civil rights, address the following in the discussion:
Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship
C-Span. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.c-span.org/live/.
Daniels, M. E. (2011). Keeping the republic: Saving America by trusting Americans. New York: Sentinel.
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