Every year on the last Monday in May, our country pauses to honor those servicemembers who have given the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom. The Memorial Day holiday—which first began as a commemoration of fallen Union soldiers who gave their lives to overthrow the tyranny of slavery—is an opportunity not only to honor these fallen heroes, but to also express our collective gratitude and appreciation for those servicemembers who work each day to safeguard our country. The Civil Rights Division (“Division”) houses the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative (“SVI”), which works to protect the rights of servicemembers, veterans, and their families.
The SVI serves as the Department of Justice’s centralized resource for current and former members of the military, military family members, and legal practitioners who serve the military community. The SVI educates the military community about the work that Division attorneys and staff do to investigate and litigate matters that protect the employment, housing, financial, voting, and disability rights of servicemembers, veterans, and their families. The SVI also conducts targeted outreach, training, and policy development to assist the military community. Additionally, through the SVI Coordinating Committee, which was convened at the direction of Attorney General Garland earlier this year, SVI brings together resources from across the Department of Justice to better ensure that servicemembers and veterans receive the legal and constitutional protections that they have fought to secure.
Every day, servicemembers from diverse races, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, and other backgrounds serve and sacrifice to safeguard and advance our shared democratic values of liberty, fundamental fairness, and equal justice for all. This Memorial Day, as we stop to remember and reflect on the sacrifices of our Nation’s heroes, we also reaffirm the Division’s strong commitment to protect the rights of all servicemembers, veterans, and their families.
To learn more about the SVI’s ongoing efforts, please visit www.servicemembers.gov.