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Blog Post

Memorial Day 2023

Memorial Day enables us to pause and reflect on the incredible sacrifices of those servicemembers who have given their lives to safeguard and advance our shared democratic values of liberty, fundamental fairness and equal justice for all. Through this reflection, the Civil Rights Division reaffirms our commitment to safeguard the rights of the brave men and women of our nation’s armed forces, the veterans who have served in the past and their families.

The Civil Rights Division is proud to house the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative (SVI), which seeks to strengthen and enhance the Justice Department’s efforts on behalf of servicemembers, veterans and their families. Through targeted outreach, training and policy development, SVI works with division attorneys and staff to protect the employment, housing, financial, voting and disability rights of the military community.

Through this work, the Civil Rights Division has assisted thousands of servicemembers, veterans and their families. These efforts have included:

  • Through enforcement of the Servicemember Civil Relief Act over the past two years, the division has obtained more than $2.1 million in relief for servicemembers and more than $286,000 in civil penalties. During this same period, the division has secured almost $600,000 for members of the military in cases alleging violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.
  • During Black History Month in February 2023, SVI convened a virtual listening session to discuss issues faced by Black veterans, particularly in the transition from military to civilian life, and the programs and resources available to help them.
  • Since the initiative was established in 2014, the Civil Rights Division has provided hundreds of training and outreach programs, including sessions at The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School’s annual Legal Assistance Course, continuing legal education courses for the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (ABA-LAMP), presentations at Yellow Ribbon events for military families and trainings on military bases across the nation. 

The servicemembers we remember and honor today came together from diverse races, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities and other backgrounds to make the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedoms. Let us never forget the debt we owe our nation’s heroes and work together to ensure that all persons in our great nation, including those in the military community, receive the legal and constitutional protections that they fought to secure.

To learn more about SVI and the Civil Rights Division’s work on behalf of servicemembers, veterans, and their families, please visit

Updated May 29, 2023

Servicemembers Initiative
Civil Rights