On World Refugee Day, held every year on June 20th, we commemorate the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees. World Refugee Day also marks a key moment for the public to show support for families forced to flee. One in every 113 people on the planet is now a refugee. Around the world, someone is displaced every two seconds, forced from their homes by violence, war and persecution. By the end of 2018, the number of displaced people had risen to 70.8 million – more than the population of the United Kingdom.
The UN General Assembly, on 4 December 2000, adopted resolution 55/76 where it noted that 2001 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) had agreed to have International Refugee Day coincide with Africa Refugee Day on 20 June.
“Refugees are people like anyone else, like you and me. They led ordinary lives before becoming displaced, and their biggest dream is to be able to live normally again. On this World Refugee Day, let us recall our common humanity, celebrate tolerance and diversity and open our hearts to refugees everywhere.” – Ban Ki-moon
Learn more at UN World Refugee Day
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, prevented same-sex couples – even those whose marriages were recognized by their home state – from receiving benefits available to married couples under federal law. On June 26, 2013 the Supreme Court ruled by a 5-4 vote that DOMA was unconstitutional.
On 12 December 1997, by resolution 52/149, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 26 June the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, with a view to the total eradication of torture and the effective functioning of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
26 June is an opportunity to call on all stakeholders including UN Member States, civil society and individuals everywhere to unite in support of the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who have been victims of torture and those who are still tortured today.
Torture is a crime under international law. According to all relevant instruments, it is absolutely prohibited and cannot be justified under any circumstances. This prohibition forms part of customary international law, which means that it is binding on every member of the international community, regardless of whether a State has ratified international treaties in which torture is expressly prohibited. The systematic or widespread practice of torture constitutes a crime against humanity.
For more information: https://www.un.org/en/events/torturevictimsday/
Same-sex marriage first became legal in California on June 16, 2008. However, Proposition 8, a California ballot proposition and a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, passed in the November 2008 state elections. Proposition 8 was ultimately ruled unconstitutional by a United States District Court decision in 2010. In 2013, a Supreme Court decision upheld the ruling, paving the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California on June 26, 2013, after several years of legal battles.
The Stonewall riots (also referred to as the Stonewall uprising or the Stonewall rebellion) were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay (LGBT) community in response to a police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. Patrons of the Stonewall, other Village lesbian and gay bars, and neighborhood street people fought back when the police became violent. The riots are widely considered to constitute one of the most important events leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States.
July 2, 1964: President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, preventing employment discrimination due to race, color, sex, religion or national origin. Title VII of the Act establishes the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to help prevent workplace discrimination.
July 18 is an annual, international, celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life and a global call to action for people to recognize their individual power to make an imprint change the world around them. Nelson Mandela International Day was launched in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on 18 July, 2009 via unanimous decision of the UN General Assembly.
It was inspired by a call Nelson Mandela made a year earlier, for the next generation to take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices when he said that “it is in your hands now”. It is more than a celebration of Madiba’s life and legacy. It is a global movement to honour his life’s work and act to change the world for the better.
Learn more about Nelson Mandela Day
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law on July 26, 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA is divided into five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life.
Learn more: Americans with Disabilities Act
July 26, 1948: President Harry Truman issues Executive Order 9981 to end segregation in the Armed Services. Executive Order 9981 declared “that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.” In short, it was an end to racial segregation in the military, a political act unmatched since the days of Reconstruction after the Civil War.
On July 31, 1892, Francisco Torres, a Mexican laborer of the Modjeska Ranch, had an argument with William McKelvey, the ranch’s foreman. McKelvey had deducted a weekly $2.50 poll tax from his wages. Torres did not understand the reason for the deduction and felt cheated. Torres confronted McKelvey which resulted in McKelvey’s murder.
McKelvey’s murder had residents upset because he was very well known and liked. Torres fled but was captured by the San Diego Sheriff, who turned him over to Sheriff Lacy in Santa Ana. Torres was incarcerated. In the early morning of August 2, 1892 a mob of men with covered faces dragged Torres from his jail cell while calling him racial epithets and carried him to a telephone pole at Fourth and Sycamore Streets in Santa Ana and hanged him.