A U.N. representative recently concluded a three-week, eight-city tour of the United State to investigate claims of racial discrimination. The U.S. is a signatory of the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Disparity, an international treaty that protects citizens from all forms of racial discrimination. The Campaign recently testified before the U.N. and issued a shadow report highlighting our government’s failure to comply with its treaty obligations, and criticizing the continued rollback of civil rights.
The U.N. dispatched an emissary, Doudou Diène—who has one of the best civil service titles, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Race Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance—to check out our allegations.
The Special Rapporteur visited Washington, New York, Chicago, Omaha, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The ACLU vividly described the Rapporteur's stop in Miami:
The visit began with a tour of urban Miami, during which he saw the stark juxtaposition of affluent communities and the communities of color that were deliberatively and systematically destroyed to make room for condos, art galleries and commercial retail developments. Mr. Diène saw and heard much about Overtown. Famous performers like Count Basie and Billie Holiday were frequent visitors to Overtown and stayed there after their Miami Beach performances (since Jim Crow laws barred them from hotels on the Beach). As Mr. Diène witnessed the blight, disappearing stock of public and affordable housing, and the boarded up businesses, he heard about the efforts to destroy this once vibrant African-American community. Not only was it was dissected by I-95 (one of our tour guides pointed to a concrete support pillar for I-95 which now stands on the site of the home she grew up in), but neglect, aggressive (but unequally enforced) code enforcement practices, aggressive policing, and the fraudulent siphoning of tax dollars to private developers all were tools used to undermine the community’s infrastructure and displace its residents. Overtown activists and residents described their dedicated fight to preserve and regain control of this historic neighborhood.Diène will report his findings to the U.N. Human Rights Council next year.
The Campaign's shadow report can be read in full on our website.