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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Mississippi

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 8, 2016

U.S. Attorney Announces New Civil Rights Practice at Civil Civil Rights Symposium Held in Jackson Today

 

Jackson, Miss – Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, delivered remarks during a Civil Rights Symposium hosted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi in Jackson today, announced U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis.

The purpose of the symposium was the announcement of a new Civil Rights Section within the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi that will investigate and remedy civil rights violations within the district. The new Civil Civil Rights Section welcomes information from the public regarding possible violations of our nation’s civil rights laws.

The new Civil Civil Rights Section will collaborate with local community members, advocacy groups and other federal and state agencies in the area of civil rights, working to civilly enforce federal civil rights laws including the Fair Housing Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. Civil remedies under these statutes may include monetary penalties, injunctions, civil judgments and more.

Coinciding with the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the newly created Civil - Civil Rights Section has already been busy with a Polling Place Initiative launched in March, where the office reviewed polling places in Hinds County and Forrest County. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by places of public accommodation, including polling places, and requires such places comply with the accessibility standards established by the ADA’s implementing regulations. This initiative is in accordance with the Department of Justice’s congressionally-mandated responsibility to review compliance with the ADA and is not in response to any specific complaint against a polling place.

Today’s symposium, held at the Jackson Medical Mall, focused on the nation’s federal civil rights laws in the areas of disability, housing and education and highlighted the role of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in ensuring compliance and effective monitoring in the areas of affirmative civil rights enforcement. Other topics covered by various speakers during the event included: civil rights enforcement; military rights; disability rights; LGBT rights; discrimination in access to housing and credit; juvenile justice; school discipline; jails and policing; equal educational opportunities; and improving local communities through an active civil rights practice.

Participants, including members of various civil rights organizations, members of state and local bar associations, and local, state and federal officials, were able to raise questions or concerns regarding civil rights issues in the Southern District of Mississippi.

"Today’s Civil Civil Rights Symposium is an effort to let the public know that the United States Attorney’s Office is indeed a partner with other community advocates and organizations in enforcing the civil rights of all Mississippians," said Civil Division Chief Mitzi Dease Paige. "We are committed to advancing equal opportunity and we look forward to continuing to do justice for all people wherever and whenever we can."

Updated June 8, 2016