Rights Working Group (RWG) convenes and mobilizes its diverse constituencies and amplifies their efforts to hold the U.S. government accountable to protecting human rights, focusing on the evolving connections among national security, counter-terrorism, immigration enforcement and criminal justice policies and systems.
Rights Working Group formed in the aftermath of September 11th to promote and protect the human rights of all people in the United States. RWG envisions a society where people live with freedom, respect, dignity and equality and strong protections of their civil liberties and human rights, particularly the right to due process and equal protection under the law. As a coalition of more than 340 local, state and national organizations, WRG works collaboratively to advocate for the civil liberties and human rights of everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, citizenship or immigration status. Their policy, communications and organizing efforts are primarily domestic and are supported by a human rights frame. Internationally, they advocate before the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee, the UN Human Rights Council, the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to amplify and support domestic advocacy work.
In 2012, RWG and partners intensified their lobbying and organizing efforts around the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA), which seeks to address human rights violations in the criminal justice, immigration and national security contexts--and fits RWG’s cross-sectoral approach to human rights advocacy. Efforts by RWG and partners convinced Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) to hold the first Senate hearing in more than ten years on racial profiling. RWG members, allies and partners used the opportunity to visit over 65 congressional offices in Washington, DC and demand passage of ERPA.
RWG also organized a successful national day of action on ERPA, where over 2,000 emails were sent to members of Congress and the Senate Judiciary Committee. The day of action was a collaborative effort among RWG field members in 10 states and national members and allies. As a result of these and other efforts by RWG and partners this congressional session, the bill currently has 16 co-sponsors in the Senate and over 70 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives.
On November 12-13, 2012, the Rights Working Group National Membership Meeting will provide a chance for local, state, and national organizations to share, strategize, learn and build, while connecting racial profiling, border justice, surveillance, immigration enforcement, national security, and criminal justice issues through panel discussions, skills-building and strategy workshops, and caucuses. Community members and advocates will also come out to share experiences of systemic racial profiling problems in the Northwest with local and state elected officials, and will call for solutions. More information is available at http://www.rightsworkinggroup.org/MembershipMeeting2012.