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Racial Justice

PFAW Joins Call for Pardon of Civil Rights Icon Bayard Rustin

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Press Release
Contact:
Laurie Kinney
People for the American Way
Phone number:

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Following the announcement by California State Senator Scott Wiener and Assemblymember Shirley Weber of their letter to Governor Gavin Newsom, calling on Newsom to posthumously pardon civil rights icon Bayard Rustin for his 1953 conviction under a law criminalizing same-sex relationships, PFAW President Michael Keegan released the following statement:

"People For the American Way wholeheartedly supports Senator Wiener and Assemblymember Weber in their call for a long-overdue pardon for Bayard Rustin.  Rustin was a person of peace and principle whose unsung leadership within the civil rights movement deserves greater attention.  He was doubly harmed during his life by the racist and homophobic climate of the time, and nothing can erase the suffering he endured.  But decades later, his legacy should not continue to be tarnished by an unjust criminal conviction.  We call on Governor Newsom to pardon Rustin and make it clear that California rejects the cruel bigotry that this hero and millions of other people faced, now and forever."

About People For the American Way

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity Learn more: https://www.pfaw.org.