ADL National Civil Rights Director Discusses “The Fierce Urgency of Now”

  • February 20, 2015

The title of Anti-Defamation League (ADL) National Civil Rights Director Deborah Lauter’s speeches to ADL’s Women’s Initiative and Board captures in five words what ADL is up against every single day: the fierce urgency of now.

Hatred, bigotry and bias wax and wane, but almost every day, ADL works to proactively stop hate before it starts, or ADL has to respond to an act of hate.  The depth and breadth of what we do can hardly be described in one speech, but Lauter did a good job of conveying ADL’s civil rights work in a digestible, understandable way.

Speaking to about 80 women in the morning and about 40 board members in the afternoon, Lauter referenced recent news stories that made ADL’s mission, “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and secure justice and fair treatment for all” resonate even louder.   She spoke of Ferguson, Missouri, and the horrible murders of three Muslim students in North Caroline.

She spoke about specific projects, such as the Texas statewide hate crimes, extremism and domestic terrorism training for law enforcement that brought ADL National Investigator Research Director Mark Pitcavage to central Texas February 17 to train over 100 law enforcement officials from more than 30 agencies all across the state.

Lauter also touched on separation of church and state, LGBT issues, immigration, and women’s issues.  There is almost no issue of bias or prejudice that doesn’t get ADL’s attention, or that ADL doesn’t touch.

Deborah Lauter is a tough act to follow, but March’s Women’s Initiative and Board speakers promise to be interesting in their own right.   Megan and Grace Phelps Roper, who defected from the Westboro Baptist Church, whose members protest outside synagogues, military funerals, and churches, will speak to the Women’s Initiative  and ADL Board March 25.   For more information or to register for the Women’s Initiative breakfast, go to: theothersideofthepicketline.