September 6, 2002
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) recently joined a diverse coalition of civil rights organizations in submitting an amicus brief, friend of the court brief, in Virginia v. Black which was filed with the United States Supreme Court last month.
The case relates to a Virginia law, Virginia Code § 18.2-423, which states that: It shall be unlawful for any person or persons, with the intent of intimidating any person or group of persons, to burn, or cause to be burned, a cross on the property of another, a highway or other public place. The statute also contains a presumption that “[a]ny such burning of a cross shall be prima facie evidence of an intent to intimidate….”
ADC joined the brief, prepared by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), as an amicus (friend of the court) along with the People For the American Way Foundation, Human Rights Campaign, National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, National Conference for Community and Justice, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Hadassah, American Jewish Committee, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Commission of Social Action of Reform Judaism, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, National Council of Jewish Women, Inc., and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law of the Boston Bar Association.
ADC’s statement of interest, which was included in the brief, stated: The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (“ADC”) is the national association of Arab Americans that works in every sphere of public life to promote and defend the interests of the Arab-American community.
ADC is a grassroots civil rights organization welcoming people of all backgrounds, faiths, and ethnicity as members. Since its founding in 1980 by former U. S. Senator James Abourezk, it has grown into the largest non-sectarian, non-partisan civil rights organization in America dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Americans of Arab descent. ADC works with other civil rights organizations and coalitions on a multitude of issues that affect constitutional freedoms. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., ADC also has more than 80 membership chapters nationwide.
Through its Legal Department, ADC offers counseling, advocacy, and mediation, addressing hate crimes, employment and educational discrimination, public accommodation discrimination, immigration, housing, freedom of speech, and other civil liberties. ADC is committed to combating crimes of hate while at the same time protecting the constitutional guarantees of expression. As the national voice of the Arab-American community, ADC supports and joins the Anti-Defamation League and other amici in submitting this brief, in the belief that freedom of speech and expression are equally as important to the American way of life as freedom from hate, and from racial, ethnic, and religious bigotry in our society.
September 6, 2002