We are not as divided as we think

Civil rights are not something that can be won by blacks, Latinos, Jews or Asians alone.

This point was made by various speakers who were not Latino but participated in the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) conference in Chicago this week.

The President and CEO of the NAACP, Benjamin Todd Jealous, who spoke Tuesday, faulted the media for not reporting on the cooperation between the Latino and African-American communities.

"They act like black-brown cooperation is something new," he said acknowledging the 100-year history of the NAACP and the 41-year history of NCLR.

"We are going into our fifth decade of working together," Jealous said. "Somebody please call the newspaper."

Jealous made it clear that his organization also takes pride in the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court and that he supports comprehensive immigration reform.

"We will win the battle for comprehensive immigration reform," Jealous said.

He also mentioned the case of Henry Louis Gates and how a reporter called to tell him that the neighbor didn't report a black man entering the home but a Hispanic man. Jealous noted that both blacks and Latinos are victims of racial profiling.

"Can we finally work to end racial profiling in this country?" he said.

Also at NCLR earlier in the week were leaders from the Jewish community.
Stacy Burdett, associate director of government and national affairs
with the Anti-Defamation League, spoke on a panel about hate crimes
about the importance of building up alliances.

"Fighting hate cannot be the job of the victim alone," she said. "We've got to amplify the non-Latino vote on this issue."

Catherine Han Montoya, who is Korean and Chicana, spoke about the
importance of Census 2010 and that it must involve multi-ethnic
coalition building. There is a census campaign involving the Asian
American Justice Center
, NALEO, the NAACP, the National Congress of
American Indians
and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
Education Fund
.

"Our five organizations have committed ourselves to working in partnership," Han Montoya said.

The census, hate crimes and racial profiling are just some of the
issues that these diverse groups are working on. It's encouraging to
see that in America maybe we are not as divided as we think.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

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