Today's Civil Rights Marches: Different Issues; Same Format

By Kristi Nelson
|  Thursday, Apr 10, 2014  |  Updated 1:30 PM CDT
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Civil rights marches of 2014 reflect today's human rights debates.

Kristi Nelson, NBC 5

Civil rights marches of 2014 reflect today's human rights debates.

The black and white images of civil rights-era marches are burned into the collective memories of our nation. Some images are grainy, others crystal clear of mostly black Americans marching in solidarity. Their message: we want fairness, we want equality, we want to feel safe.

Their signs and songs, like "We Shall Overcome" made history.

Now, across the country, there are new demonstrations with new marchers.

"A host of other issues have emerged surrounding civil rights in today's world that we don't think of as black and white issues," said Dr. Jason Shelton, sociology assistant professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. "Things such as gender, men and women's issues, wage inequality in the workplace between men and women, gay rights, immigration issues."

Shelton said they still share a common theme.

"You see the idea of groups — multitude of groups coming together under the guise of changing, under the perception of fairness, the perception of inequalities to fundamentally change rights and laws," Shelton said.

As anchor/reporter for Telemundo 39 in Dallas/Fort Worth, Norma Garcia has seen the complex immigration debate evolve.

"People used to say, 'Well just send them back to their country;' but they have become such an integral part of society that you cannot just ship them away, you cannot just deport them," Garcia said.

In April 2010, nearly 100,000 people took to the streets of Dallas to march for immigration issues.

Politics aside, she said the bottom line is civil rights.

"You have 11 to 14 million immigrants with no real access to health care, with limited access to education and with no real avenues to seek justice when their basic human rights are violated."

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