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Information About the Protected Categories

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Dedicated to understanding the definitions of protected categories, in today's diverse and inclusive society, it's essential to grasp the meanings behind terms such as race, gender, religion, age, disability, and sexual orientation, which are safeguarded against discrimination in various contexts.

This introductory guide aims to provide clarity on these protected categories, empowering individuals and organizations alike to foster environments of equality, respect, and understanding. Explore the nuances of each category below to deepen your knowledge and commitment to creating a more just and equitable world.

What is Harassment?

Harassment refers to unwelcome or offensive behavior that creates a hostile, intimidating, or abusive environment for an individual or group. It can manifest in various forms, including verbal, physical, or written actions, and may target someone based on their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or other protected characteristics.

Harassment can occur in the workplace, educational institutions, public spaces, or online platforms, and it often involves repeated or persistent actions that cause distress or harm to the victim.

Recognizing and addressing harassment is crucial for promoting safety, respect, and dignity for all individuals.

Racial, National Origin, & Ancestry Harassment

Racial and national origin and ancestry harassment involve the targeting of individuals based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, or ancestry, leading to a hostile or offensive environment.

This form of harassment can take various forms, including derogatory comments, racial slurs, stereotypes, or exclusionary behavior. It creates a toxic atmosphere that undermines diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Such harassment not only violates the rights and dignity of individuals but also perpetuates systemic discrimination and inequality.

It's crucial for organizations and communities to actively combat racial and national origin and ancestry harassment to foster environments where everyone feels respected, valued, and safe.

Harassment Based on Religion

Harassment based on religion involves the targeted mistreatment of individuals or groups due to their religious beliefs or practices, creating an environment of hostility or discrimination.

This form of harassment can include derogatory remarks, religious slurs, offensive gestures, or exclusion from activities based on one's faith. It undermines the fundamental principles of religious freedom and tolerance, fostering division and prejudice.

Combatting harassment based on religion requires promoting understanding, respect, and acceptance of diverse religious beliefs and practices, and ensuring that everyone has the right to practice their faith without fear of persecution or discrimination.

Harassment Based on Disability

Disability harassment encompasses any form of unwelcome behavior that targets individuals with disabilities, creating an environment that is hostile, offensive, or intimidating.

This type of harassment can manifest through verbal abuse, mocking, physical aggression, or exclusionary actions based on a person's disability or perceived limitations. Disability harassment not only violates the rights and dignity of individuals with disabilities but also perpetuates harmful stereotypes and barriers to inclusion.

It's essential for societies to prioritize education, awareness, and enforcement of anti-discrimination laws to ensure that individuals with disabilities can participate fully and equally in all aspects of life, free from harassment and prejudice.

Harassment Based on Age

Harassment based on age involves discriminatory treatment or mistreatment of individuals due to their age, whether they are younger or older.

This can include derogatory remarks, age-related jokes, exclusion from opportunities, or unfair treatment in employment, housing, or social settings. Age-based harassment perpetuates harmful stereotypes and biases, undermining the rights and dignity of individuals.

It's crucial to combat age-based harassment by promoting awareness of ageism, advocating for equal opportunities across generations, and fostering inclusive environments that celebrate the diversity of experiences and perspectives at every stage of life.

Harassment Based on Military or Veteran Status

Harassment based on military or veteran status involves mistreatment or discrimination against individuals because of their current or past service in the military.

This form of harassment can manifest through derogatory comments, exclusionary behavior, or unfair treatment in various areas of life, including employment, housing, or social interactions. It undermines the contributions and sacrifices of military personnel and veterans, perpetuating stigma and bias.

Combatting harassment based on military or veteran status requires promoting awareness of the value of military service, enforcing anti-discrimination laws, and fostering a culture of respect and support for those who have served their country.

What is Discrimination?

Discrimination refers to the unfair or unjust treatment of individuals or groups based on certain characteristics, such as race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or other protected attributes.

This can manifest in various forms, including denial of opportunities, unequal access to resources or services, harassment, or exclusionary practices. Discrimination undermines the principles of equality, justice, and human rights, perpetuating systemic inequalities and marginalizing certain populations.

Combatting discrimination requires raising awareness, advocating for inclusive policies and practices, and promoting empathy and understanding to create a society where everyone is treated with dignity, respect, and fairness.

Gender Discrimination & Sexual Harassment

Gender discrimination encompasses the unequal treatment of individuals based on their gender identity or expression, often resulting in disparities in opportunities, resources, or rights. This discrimination can take many forms, including wage gaps, limited career advancement, or stereotypes that dictate societal roles and expectations.

Sexual harassment, a prevalent form of gender discrimination, involves unwelcome sexual advances, comments, or conduct that create a hostile or offensive environment.

Both gender discrimination and sexual harassment undermine the principles of equality and respect, perpetuating harmful power dynamics and barriers to inclusion. It's essential to address these issues through education, awareness, and enforcement of policies that promote gender equality and prohibit all forms of harassment and discrimination.

What is Gender Identity?

Gender identity refers to an individual's deeply held sense of their gender, which may or may not align with the sex they were assigned at birth. It encompasses how one perceives themselves and the gender with which they identify, whether it be male, female, both, neither, or something else entirely. Gender identity is a complex interplay of biological, psychological, social, and cultural factors, and it is unique to each person. It's important to recognize that gender identity exists on a spectrum and can evolve over time, and everyone deserves respect and acceptance for who they are.

Title IX & Gender Identity

Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. The principal objective of Title IX is to avoid the use of federal money to support sex discrimination in education programs and to provide individual citizens effective protection against those practices.

Title IX includes sexual harassment, sexual misconduct and sexual violence.  Any report of gender/sex discrimination made to an employee must be addressed in a timely manner by school administration or the supervisor and reported to the Title IX Director at the Office of Equal Opportunity Services.

Title IX Violations

Formal complaints of Title IX violations may be reported to Equal Opportunity Services.

All students, regardless of gender identity, are entitled to a safe and respectful school environment.  Complaints of discrimination or harassment should be addressed in a timely manner by appropriate school personnel.

If you are a student (or parent/guardian of a student) who wants to assert a gender that differs from previous representations or records, please contact the school principal or counselor to request a Gender Support Plan meeting.  You may also contact the District Title IX Director if you have general questions or need assistance with the process.

Looking for a site Title IX coordinator? Call your school's main number and ask to speak with the principal.

Inspect Our Training:

As required by OCR in §106.45(b)(10)(i)(D) of the new Title IX Regulations, please view the training used to train APS' Title IX Coordinator.

More Information:

For more information, contact: Heather Cowan, Director, Equal Opportunity Services and Title IX, by phone at (505) 855-9831, or by email at .

What are Less Common Laws?

More information coming soon

Content coming soon

History of Civil Rights

The history of civil rights is a testament to the enduring struggle for justice, equality, and dignity. It serves as a profound reminder of the collective resilience and courage of those who fought against oppression and discrimination.

Understanding this history is crucial for navigating the present and shaping the future. It provides invaluable lessons on the power of activism, the importance of solidarity, and the consequences of systemic injustice.

By studying the past triumphs and tribulations of the civil rights movement, we gain insights into the complexities of social change and are inspired to continue the fight for a more inclusive and equitable society.

History of Civil Rights (1942-1968)

With peaceful protests such as sit-ins, boycotts, litigation, and more to start the movement for civil right overturn to grant African Americans suffrage, the movements created a national crisis that ultimately led the federal government to overturn segregation laws. 

Political History

Four hundred years of violent and nonviolent conflict, rooted in slavery, the civil rights came about. Principle and strategy abolitionists committed to nonviolent resistance, typically in the period between colonization and American Civil War. However, there was also rebellion from those enslaved when they faked illnesses, slowed down work, ruined equipment and supplies, escaped, and more. There was a secret network of safehouses that tied between the US South and Canada. Their allies who were free published letters and protected others who escaped. In 1833, William Lloyd Garrison founded the American Anti-Slavery Society, to which Frederick Douglass was inspired by and published the first issue of Abolitionist North Star.

More than 200,000 African Americans fought in the Civil War, and 38,000 died from combat. African Americans are still denied equal rights, even with amendments that grant equal protection and the abolition of slavery. Black Codes during the Reconstruction Era, along with Jim Crow laws African Americans are still denied suffrage, and are segregated in states that were formerly part of the confederacy. By 1900, tens of thousands of African American teachers were trained and hired, expanding the literacy rate in the African American community.

The community gathered for equal job opportunities and rights, for instance, in a protest down fifth avenue in New York City where the mass quietly marched for fair jobs and wages. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in 1909. To advance the rights of African Americans, “The Communist Party established the American Negro Labor Congress in 1925”. Around the same time, the African-American Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was founded and became influential in civil rights. Gandhi was of inspiration, and in 1941 A. Philiph Randolf adopted it for a protest in Washington DC where he hoped that president Roosevelt would issue an executive order that would ban discrimination in defense hiring. 

Civil Rights Changed

No rights so they had to claim them through protests, violent and non violent, when segregation was prevalent in the most over ways. Rights were limited and held back

Today, discrimination still exists, however it is a more equal playing field because everyone of every race is assigned and has access to the same rights, legally. Although socially it is a different problem because everyone can choose to respect others rights or not, people can still protest when they feel their rights have been infringed, but they do not have to call out to be given them or earn them. They already have them legally, but discrimination is still around in housing, education, and there is still progress to be made.

This page was last updated on: May 8, 2024.