Tag Archives: civil rights

From Civil Rights to Women’s Rights to Reproductive Justice

By Robin Marty and Jessica Mason Pieklo

In the days before Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in all fifty states, a woman’s ability to control her destiny by controlling when she became a parent was a luxury afforded only to those who had income and connections. Forty years later, that’s largely once more true.

Although Roe was celebrated as a victory for the right to privacy—with the court ruling that prior to fetal viability a woman’s healthcare decisions were for her consideration alone—activists failed to fully explain the human rights aspect of the ruling.  By decriminalizing abortion nationwide, the ruling was supposed to allow all women, not just those who were wealthy or well connected, the right to control the size of their families, their personal health and their physical and economic future. This is a matter of fundamental civil rights. Continue reading

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Filed under Essay Dialogues, Roe at 40

The When, Why, and How of Legal Mobilization

By David Pettinicchio

Social movement scholars have increasingly broadened their view of the role of social movements vis-à-vis institutions and political outcomes– that is, beyond using direct action to challenge authority. The fact that you are reading a short essay about social movements and the courts is a testament to that. As movements became increasingly viewed as part of “everyday politics” and the use of institutionalized tactics more common, not surprisingly, legal mobilization emerged as an area of interest among political sociologists and social movement scholars. Continue reading


Filed under Essay Dialogues, Movements and the Courts

A New Generation of Black Church Activists?

The New York Times recently published a set of essays in its Room for Debate series, exploring how black church activism has changed since the 1960s. The impetus for the debate– “Black Churches and a New Generation of Protest”– is the recognition that black church activism has declined since the days of Martin Luther King, Jr., coupled with recent calls from African American church leaders to “Occupy the Dream” by engaging in protests at Federal Reserve banks around the country.

Several distinguished scholars and religious leaders participate in the debate about the current state of black church activism, writing about the issues they see as most pressing for black churches to address. Some argue for a focus on education and better reintegration of former prisoners; others recommend an emphasis on environmental justice. Continue reading


Filed under Daily Disruption