Yesterday was Human Rights Day – the day in 1948 that the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that everyone is entitled to be treated humanely regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

How is Washington State living up to these ideals?

It’s not! Jim Crow laws still persist in Washington state. For example, Washington law continues to deny basic health protections like overtime to workers in dangerous occupations, such as agriculture. 

Local law enforcement cooperates with ICE to target people for civil immigration charges, when they are accessing courthouses or have been otherwise freed from detention on state charges.

Inmates are awakened in the middle of the night by correctional staff dressed in riot gear and armed with tactical weapons, shackled, and loaded onto a bus for a 16-hour trip across Washington and placed in solitary confinement, without notice or information of why. 

What would it look like if our institutions valued human rights?

At Columbia Legal Services, we know our communities have the strength, imagination, and compassion to create a just world.

Together, we can create the changes we envision. With your support Columbia Legal Services is actively fighting for rights like:

  • The right to safe and healthy workplaces. We recently argued at the Washington Supreme Court, that the Minimum Wage Act’s exclusion of agricultural workers has a racist history and is unconstitutional.
  • Freedom from detention, instead of sending those freed from state criminal charges directly to ICE detention centers. We have sued counties who continue to engage in these unconstitutional practices and will fight to enforce the Keep Washington Working Act.
  • Humane treatment when people must be incarcerated, including access to health care, healthy food, fair wages, and due process. We are representing individuals in an action against the Department of Corrections to remedy inhumane and unfair treatment. 

Please join us in making our collective vision a reality. Together, we can ensure that everyone in our state can realize their dignity and human rights.

Janet Chung
Advocacy Director