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Bayard Rustin to be Posthumously Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom


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Friday, 09 August 2013

Brett Abrams : 516-841-1105 : brett@fitzgibbonmedia.com

Bayard Rustin to be Posthumously Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

President Obama recognizes African-American, Gay civil rights leader at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington

Statement by Tico Almeida, founder and President of Freedom to Work, a national organization dedicated to ending workplace discrimination, on President Obama awarding Bayard Rustin the President Medal of Freedom:

"Freedom to Work is thrilled to learn that President Obama will award one of America's most important civil rights strategists with the Presidential Medal of Freedom," said Tico Almeida, founder and President of Freedom to Work.  "Among Rustin's many accomplishments, he organized a 1941 March on Washington so successful that it never even took place, and that cancelled march instead pressured a reluctant President Roosevelt to begrudgingly sign the first federal contractor executive order granting African-Americans the freedom to work without discrimination.  Toward the end of his career and life, Rustin also advocated for New York City's ENDA law barring discrimination based on sexual orientation.  Now, 72 summers after Rustin organized a national march to focus America's attention on workplace discrimination, LGBT Americans and our straight allies are calling on President Barack Obama to immediately sign the federal contractor executive order giving LGBT Americans the freedom to work without discrimination.  President Obama should sign it today in honor of Bayard Rustin.  If it were up to me, we'd even name the Obama executive order after Bayard Rustin.  It would be a fitting honor that would bring our nation's civil rights history full circle."

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