Democracy Awards

Civil Rights

Summary of Position

During his more than 25 years in public service, Mark has fought to ensure that all communities are protected from discrimination and harassment. Whether it is promoting equality based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status, race, nationality, or any other characteristic, Congressman DeSaulnier values the ideal that we are not equal until everyone is equal, and continuous fighting for this goal in Congress.

By the Numbers

  • State legislators introduced 129 anti-LGBT bills across 30 states in 2017.
  • 6.6 million, or 13% of all public school students, receive special education services.
  • Only 34.5% of people with disabilities were employed in 2015, compared to 76% of people without disabilities and down from 50% when the ADA took effect in 1991.
  • In the latest Census, Contra Costa County was 58.6% White, 24.4% Hispanic, and 9.3% African American.

Things to Know

  • Member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus
  • Member of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus
  • 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign Congressional Scorecard
  • Cultivated a conversation on race in a town hall with Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) to explore the role race plays in the Bay Area

Working for You

Champion for the Port Chicago 50:
On July 17, 1944, a ship loaded with weapons exploded at Port Chicago in Richmond, CA killing or wounding 710 people, 435 of whom were African-American. When the surviving African American sailors refused to return to work under the same unsafe conditions, 50 were convicted of mutiny. Joined by members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and with the support of the NAACP, Mark spearheaded multiple efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives to call for the exoneration of the sailors and erase the historic stain from their records. As a nation, we cannot truly move forward until we correct the mistakes of our past.

Fighting for Full Equality for the LGBT Community: 
Despite the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision guaranteeing Americans the right to marry regardless of who you are, what you look like, or who you love, the fight for LGBT equality is not over. Mark supports the Equality Act (H.R. 2282), which would explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

Pushing for Continued Progress for Individuals with Disabilities: 
Americans with disabilities, a group that includes over 50 million people, have struggled against bias, stereotypes, and discrimination throughout our nation’s history. As a member of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus and the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Congressman DeSaulnier introduced the Improving Access to Higher Education Act (H.R. 3199), the first-ever comprehensive legislation specifically addressing the needs of students with disabilities in higher education.

For a downloadable copy of Mark's civil rights work, click the image below: