Agent speaks in Ignacio about Hussein

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Agent speaks in Ignacio about Hussein

Civil rights conference covers variety of subjects

By Shane Benjamin

Herald Staff Writer

IGNACIO – The civil rights conference, called Eradicating Racism and Colorism Everywhere, began Tuesday and ends today. It is sponsored by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Patricia McMahon, program analyst for the EEOC in Denver, said civil rights mean different things to different people. For example, a health-care worker may consider civil rights to be the ability for all people to receive medical treatment. But in law enforcement, civil rights means the equal treatment and protection of all people under the law.

To illustrate that point, the conference has invited a variety of agencies to hold workshops and discuss how civil rights relate to their fields.

“Civil rights is huge,” McMahon said. “It encompasses so many different genres. It’s not just health care. It’s not just education. It’s not just employment. It’s also human trafficking. It’s drugs. There are so many issues with civil rights that you need to broaden your perspective.”

She added: “A lot of times when you talk of civil rights, people think that it’s people of color sitting at a lunch counter protesting the fact that they won’t get served. That’s not civil rights anymore. It’s the fact that someone has a name that is ethnic, and they get passed over for a job over somebody who has a non-ethnic-sounding name.

“It’s a nonconscious bias.”

shane@durangoherald.com

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