Deval Patrick on Civil Rights



1985: defended community activists in Alabama voter case

Patrick and Attorney General Jeff Sessions faced off in court in 1985, when Patrick was a member of the defense team in a federal criminal voter fraud case against three African-American community activists; Sessions served as the U..S Attorney for the Southern District.

While the former governor has been out of office for more than three years, he was one of a handful of surrogate campaigners for Democrat Doug Jones against Republican Roy Moore in the December Alabama Senate special election.

Patrick sat for an interview in May where he discussed his 2006 gubernatorial bid, his time campaigning in Alabama and the need for the Democratic Party to open up to outsiders. "It was so much fun. I was in places I had spent time in before, in Selma and Birmingham . going back to my days litigating Jeff Sessions way back when. Yes indeed," he said.

Source: Politico.com on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Jun 4, 2018

Today in Massachusetts, you can marry whomever you love

We Democrats owe America more than a strong argument for what we are against. We need to be just as strong about what we are for. Today in Massachusetts, you can also marry whomever you love. We Democrats believe that freedom means keeping government out of our most private affairs, including out of a woman's decision whether to keep an unwanted pregnancy and everybody's decision about whom to marry. We believe that we owe the next generation a better country than we found and that every American has a stake in that. We believe that in times like these we should turn to each other, not on each other. We believe that government has a role to play, not in solving every problem in everybody's life but in helping people help themselves to the American dream. That's what Democrats believe.
Source: 2012 Democratic National Convention speech , Sep 4, 2012

1970s: Routinely stopped by police, on foot in Milton MA

In Milton in the 1970s, if I walked through town, I would almost invariably be stopped by the police and asked for identification. It was humiliating to have to explain that I was just walking to a friend's house or to the convenience store and was not the thief they presumed I was, casing the neighborhood. It helped a little when the school issued identification cards.

Once a cruiser pulled up behind another student and me when we were strolling on Randolph Avenue and put on his blue lights. I took unnatural pride in displaying my card, showing I was in fact a resident. After many months of this ritual, however, my pride turned to resentment at having to show identification at all. A young, gruff officer with sunglasses swaggered over to us, asking what business we had in the neighborhood. "We're just walking up to the Curtiss Compact," I said. When he asked for identification,

Source: A Reason to Believe, by Gov. Deval Patrick, p. 47-48 , Apr 12, 2011

Daughter Katherine came out as lesbian at age 19

The summer after her 19th birthday, [our daughter] Katherine kept asking Diane and me when we would all be in the same place so that she could tell us something important. We were spending a weekend together at our home in western MA, preparing a picnic lunch, when she came into the kitchen and told us she was a lesbian. We both hugged her, told her we were there for her no matter what, and asked her to grab the mustard jar so we could get the picnic going.

That was all she or we needed right then. The time for the endless questions would come in due course.

Source: A Reason to Believe, by Gov. Deval Patrick, p.106 , Apr 12, 2011

Supports equal marriage rights for gays

A man carrying a red Bible to the microphone asked, How could Patrick support gay marriage if God doesn’t? Patrick treaded carefully. He said that the law should regard everyone as equals, regardless of their sexual orientation. Patrick added that people are far less concerned about gay marriage than about paying their rent and heating bills.

’’I am not going to pander to anybody for anything,“ Patrick said. ‘’I respect differences of opinion, but I have a point of view which I think is right on the law and right as a matter of fundamental fairness.“

Ultimately, said Melvin B. Miller, publisher and editor of the Bay State Banner, a newspaper serving the black community, many people will decide that it’s foolish not to support Patrick because of gay marriage. ‘’I mean, we’re not going to support a candidate of those qualifications? That’s not good enough?” said Miller, himself an opponent of same-sex marriage. ‘’That’s ridiculous.“

Source: Scott Helman, Boston Globe, p. A1 , Jan 15, 2006

Former civil rights prosecutor under President Clinton

Patrick, a former civil rights prosecutor under President Clinton, makes clear he doesn’t want to be defined by his race, and he believes white voters care just as deeply about everything he talks about. ‘’Yes, I’m a black man. I know that. Other people know that. I’m proud of that. I’m completely at ease with that,“ he said in the interview. ‘’But that’s not all I am.” He tells the crowd, ‘’I do need to be not just the first black governor, but the best governor you’ve ever had.“
Source: Scott Helman, Boston Globe, p. A1 , Jan 15, 2006

Close the racial and ethnic gap in health

Evidence shows that disparities remain in the delivery of health services based on race and ethnic origin. This is unacceptable in Massachusetts. I will implement recommendations developed by public health experts to end inequities in care. Under my leadership, Massachusetts will be the first state to close the racial and ethnic gap in health. 
Source: Moving Massachusetts Forward, Patrick’s policy booklet, p.12 , Sep 15, 2005

Crafted “mend it, don’t end it” for affirmative action

Q: You’re credited with crafting the administration’s “mend it, don’t end it” approach to affirmative action. What needed to be mended?

A: As in any program with good intentions, particular means of using affirmative action principles are subverted, and are not functioning very well. And so we ended [such] programs. But we do believe that affirmative action can be done a right way; that on the whole it has been done the right way.

Q: You said that you think it’s still necessary. I assume that’s because we don’t have a colorblind society.

A: I think it is a complete ruse to suggest that declaring ourselves colorblind in law is going to cause us to be colorblind in fact. I think that there will come a day as long as we remind ourselves of fundamental American values, of equality, opportunity and fair play, when we will set aside the kind of negative attention that the differences in this country sometimes--sometimes bring. But we are not there yet.

Source: Elizabeth Farnsworth interview on PBS Newshour , Jan 10, 1997

Other governors on Civil Rights: Deval Patrick on other issues:
MA Gubernatorial:
Bill Weld
Bob Massie
Charlie Baker
Dan Wolf
Don Berwick
Jay Gonzalez
Jesse Gordon
Karyn Polito
Lawrence Lessig
Martha Coakley
Marty Walsh
Richard Tisei
Seth Moulton
Setti Warren
Steve Grossman
Tom Menino
Warren Tolman
MA Senatorial:
Allen Waters
Beth Lindstrom
Elizabeth Warren
Geoff Diehl
Heidi Wellman
Joe Kennedy III
John Kingston
Shannon Liss-Riordan
Shiva Ayyadurai

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