Senator Mary Landrieu has long been recognized as a champion for civil and equal rights across the country. From her early days in the Louisiana State Legislature to her current role as a senior member of the U.S. Senate, Senator Landrieu has fought for the protection of civil rights, equal rights and equal opportunities for all Louisianans.
Senator Landrieu believes that in order to move forward as a country, we must recognize and learn from the mistakes of our past. In 2005, Senator Landrieu made history when the Senate, for the first time in history, formally apologized to lynching victims and their families for its failure to enact federal anti-lynching legislation during the first part of the 20th century. As a result of the Senate's failure to act more than 5,000 Americans were documented as having been lynched. Read more.
Resolution Apologizing for Slavery
In 2009, in honor of Juneteenth or Freedom Day, Senator Landrieu co-sponsored a Senate resolution that apologized for the enslavement and racial segregation of African-Americans. The resolution acknowledged the fundamental injustice and cruelty of slavery and Jim Crow laws; apologized to African-Americans for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors; and called on all Americans to work toward eliminating racial prejudices, injustices and discrimination from our society.
Voter Rights and Protection
As a longtime advocate for voting rights, fair elections and transparency; Senator Landrieu continues to monitor the fairness and equality of the elections process. In 2011, Senator Landrieu joined with fifteen of her colleagues in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging the Justice Department to carefully review the new photo identifications requirements passed by state legislatures around the country.
In 2006, Senator Landrieu stood with her colleagues to introduce the Voting Rights Act Reauthorization, which extends the expiring provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for another 25 years. She also cosponsored an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations Bill, which provides $30 million for Federal election assistance for those affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Women's Rights and Domestic Violence
Senator Landrieu has always been a strong advocate for women's rights, domestic violence and equality in the workplace. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Senator continues to fight for funds for witness protective services and for programs such as STOP Grants to help and support victims of Domestic violence. In 2009, the Senate passed the landmark Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which the senator supported and co-sponsored. This legislation amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to allow employees who have suffered from pay-discrimination 180-days from the last act of discrimination to file suit against their employer. Previously an employee would only have had a year from the date of the first act of discrimination.
Remembering our Past and Protecting our Future
In 2005, Congress passed Senator Landrieu's bill to authorize a memorial in New Orleans for 19th Century African American Soldiers, or the Buffalo Soldiers, who served in the Army's all-African American regiments in the years following the Civil War. Two of the four regiments - the 9th Calvary Regiment and the 25th Infantry Regiment - were raised in New Orleans, with a majority of troops coming from the surrounding area.
In 2007, Congress passed a bill authored by Senator Landrieu and then-Senator Barack Obama to name the great hall in the Capitol Visitors Center (CVC) "Emancipation Hall." The Senators believed it was fitting to name the 22,000-square-foot CVC main hall in honor of the slaves who worked to build the Capitol.