July 19, 2019

ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL:

US Anti-Apartheid Movement Helped Bring Change to South Africa (Chris Simkins, April 24, 2014, Voice of America)

It's been 20 years since the end of apartheid in South Africa, the system of racial segregation that curtailed the rights of black South Africans for decades. One of the strongest protest movements outside South Africa to dismantle apartheid was in the United States during the 1980s.

Television news images of the violent struggles to end apartheid in South Africa captured the attention of Americans in the 1980s.  

They also galvanized support for the U.S. anti-apartheid movement. Former U.S. Congressman Ron Dellums was one of the leaders of the movement.

"Challenging apartheid in South Africa became a logical next place to go," he said.

Dellums worked to expose the plight of South Africa's blacks along with the injustices carried out by the white minority government. Dellums introduced anti-apartheid legislation in Congress banning trade and investment in South Africa, and also led many demonstrations in which ordinary people and many celebrities were arrested.

"They went out there to put themselves on the line to say, 'Look if South Africans could be beaten and jailed the least we could do is go out there and experience some discomfort ourselves and be one with our sisters and brothers in the struggle to liberate them," he said.

Howard Dodson, director of the Howard University Library, remembers protesting with his son outside the South African consulate in Atlanta.

"The anti-apartheid activities in the United States actually reverberated around the world leading other people to develop their own demonstration activities and that was probably as critical to the overthrow of apartheid as anything else that was going on," he said.

Students also protested on university campuses - calling on schools and corporations get rid of their investments in South Africa.




116th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. RES. 496

Affirming that all Americans have the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad, as protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
July 16, 2019

Ms. Omar (for herself, Ms. Tlaib, and Mr. Lewis) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


RESOLUTION

Affirming that all Americans have the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad, as protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

    Whereas boycotts have been effectively used in the United States by advocates for equal rights since the Boston Tea Party and include boycotts led by civil rights activists during the 1950s and 1960s in order to advocate for racial equality, such as the Montgomery bus boycott, and promote workers' rights, such as the United Farm Workers-led boycott of table grapes;

    Whereas Americans of conscience have a proud history of participating in boycotts to advocate for human rights abroad, including--

    (1) attempting to slow Japanese aggression in the Pacific by boycotting Imperial Japan in 1937 and 1938;

    (2) boycotting Nazi Germany from March 1933 to October 1941 in response to the dehumanization of the Jewish people in the lead-up to the Holocaust;

    (3) the United States Olympic Committee boycotting the 1980 summer Olympics in Moscow in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the preceding year; and

    (4) leading the campaign in the 1980s to boycott South African goods in opposition to apartheid in that country;

    Whereas the Supreme Court, in the 1966 case Rosenblatt v. Baer, held that the First Amendment to the Constitution ensures that "[c]riticism of government is at the very center of the constitutionally protected area of free discussion";

    Whereas the Supreme Court held in the 1982 case NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware that "[t]he right of the States to regulate economic activity could not justify a complete prohibition against a nonviolent, politically motivated boycott ... .";

    Whereas the Supreme Court has recognized various activities as "expressive conduct" warranting constitutional protection, such as flag burning, wearing black armbands, silent sit-ins, and creating and designing custom wedding cakes; and

    Whereas despite this tradition, governments and nongovernmental organizations alike have sought to criminalize, stigmatize, and delegitimize the use of boycotts in an attempt to stifle constitutionally protected political expression: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) affirms that all Americans have the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad, as protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution;

(2) opposes unconstitutional legislative efforts to limit the use of boycotts to further civil rights at home and abroad; and

(3) urges Congress, States, and civil rights leaders from all communities to endeavor to preserve the freedom of advocacy for all by opposing antiboycott resolutions and legislation.


Posted by at July 19, 2019 6:28 PM

  

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