Congressman Filner has been active in the struggle for civil rights since his teenage years. In 1961, he joined the first Freedom Rides to desegregate transportation facilities in our southern states--and was arrested and imprisoned for several months in Mississippi. He has consistently fought to uphold civil and human rights for every person in the United States and throughout the world.
Bob is working to ensure that American efforts to confront terrorism are conducted in strict accordance with our national commitment to international law and human rights standards. Bob believes that the USA PATRIOT Act was an overly hasty response to the events of September 11, 2001 and dangerously infringes on the civil liberties guaranteed by our Constitution--it does not make us safer. He was one of the few who voted against the USA PATRIOT Act when it was first introduced, and he voted against its reauthorization in 2005. Bob feels that the USA PATRIOT Act should be repealed!
In the 109th Congress, Congressman Filner introduced the Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act . This legislation would establish an Unsolved Crimes section within the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. The section's mandate would be to investigate and prosecute crimes that resulted in the deaths of activists from the Civil Right era. He will introduce this bill again in the 110th Congress, and will continue to fight for justice.
In July 2006, Congress voted to reauthorized the 1965 Voting Rights Act--one of the most effective and crucial civil rights laws ever enacted. The Voting Rights Act was a result of thousands of marches, sit-ins, boycotts, and freedom rides in the 1960s. At a high cost, Americans of all backgrounds fought hard to ensure that the most basic fundamental right of all Americans was secured.
The National Education Association presented Congressman Filner with the prestigious NEA Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Award, which recognizes his lifetime commitment to human and civil rights, and to providing quality education for all students in the nation.