Ida L. Castro became the first Hispanic woman to head the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) when she was sworn in as Chairwoman last month.
"I see this job as giving me the ability to address concerns that I have picked up throughout my life," said Castro, 46. "I believe in equal opportunity and life has shown me it is not always present."
Castro has known discrimination first-hand. In one former job, Castro discovered that several employees she supervised were earning a salary higher than her own. Not one to tolerate discrimination based on gender or ethnicity, Castro persuaded her bosses to remedy the situation. "I had the wherewithal to do that," she pointed out. "Not everyone does."
The EEOC was established in 1964 to detect and eliminate discrimination in the workplace. However, the organization has faced a substantial amount of controversy since its inception. "The perception is that EEOC is just a bureaucratic nightmare. But we think we're at a point where we are turning the corner," stated Castro.
New hope has come in the form of a 15 percent budget increase. Castro believes the new money can be used in efforts to restore the organization's reputation. "I truly believe in the mission of EEOC," Castro said. "Discrimination in the workplace is insidious. It does not benefit employees. It does not benefit employers. It is also against every value I've been taught, that you should be judged on your merits, not on some stereotype that may be out there."
Castro does not discount the effort it takes workers to approach the EEOC either. "I really appreciate the courage it takes for people to walk through our doors and file a complaint," she said. "It is a big step and we here at EEOC need to take that seriously."
Media Resources: Washington Post - November 30, 1998
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .