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Progress on Civil Rights Slow

New Poll Shows Black and White Americans on Same Page When It Comes to Civil Rights Progress

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In classrooms and on TVs across the country this week, Americans will be reminded of the impact the March on Washington had on our country.  This march was the backdrop for Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have A Dream" speech—celebrating its golden anniversary August 28.

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140826/139529

A new poll, by Heart+Mind Strategies, asked Americans how much progress has been made on four driving values of the Civil Rights movement in the last 50 years, and how much farther the country has to go to cement Dr. King's dream into reality.  White and African American perceptions of progress are in sync, which may just be the biggest indicator of progress overall.

Not even one-third of Americans believe significant progress has been made on any one of these values.  The most progress has been made on a sense of belonging, followed by freedom—though two-in-ten Americans believe little or no progress has been made in these areas. The full breakout follows, using a 1 to 10 scale where 1 means we have made no progress at all and a 10 means we have made significant and substantive progress:


Top 3
(8,9,10 rating)

Bottom 3 (1,2,3 rating)

Belonging: all races, religions, and creeds are openly accepted into society and local communities.

30%

20%

Freedom:  law enforcement and the judicial system ensure freedom and justice for all, no matter one's race, religion or creed.

28%

22%

Financial security: people are able to pursue economic prosperity; employment options are not based on race, religion, or creed.

25%

24%

Personal security: people feel safe in society and local communities, free from violence based on race, religion, or creed.

19%

26%

Scenes in Ferguson, MO just last week over the death of Michal Brown—police in full riot gear confronting protesters in the street—are eerily similar to infamous photos from the Civil Rights era.  In this context, it's easy to see how personal security is where Americans feel the least progress has been made.  In fact, last month's Spotlight found that 70% of Americans thought the country was worse off on freedom from fear compared to 50 years ago.

"Values drive choices and decisions people make in their lives," said Dr. Jim Hoskins, Director of the Richard B. Wirthlin Values Center.  He continued, "These results which reflect erosion in Americans' sense of security are not surprising, when people do not feel in control of safety and security in their own communities, feel victimized by crime, or perceive a loss of personal privacy." 

To read the full article—including how much farther Americans think we have to go on these fronts and survey methodology—click here.

America is a land of opportunity, built on freedom. At times we must fight for our rights—be it free speech, freedom of religion, or equal rights.  As we each find ourselves fighting for the things we value, let us remember Dr. King's words.  He had a dream, but also a warning: "Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline."

About Heart+Mind Strategies (www.heartandmindstrategies.com)

We are experts in human decision-making and its impact on marketing decisions and communications across industry and issue categories.  We apply a rigorous framework and an experience-driven set of principles that have elected presidents and prime ministers, strengthened corporations, bolstered declining industries, and reinvigorated global brands.

Media Contact: Gretchen Comey, 571.484.8083, [email protected]

SOURCE Heart+Mind Strategies

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