Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Spoke at UCLA yesterday on Art and Social Justice. Brought my #BlackLivesMatter inspired painting along. Excited to share my thoughts and experiences with the N250 class. Thanks to Dr Pavlish and my alma mater for making me feel at home.

Please Register to Vote!

Today is - I was beaten, left bloody & unconscious so that every person could register and vote. Do your part.
"Register. Vote. Go out and get engaged!” —

Monday, September 19, 2016

Creativity Unleashed

by Gregg Chadwick

Ed Catmull's "Creativity, Inc." is much like the films of Pixar itself: a balanced mix of sheer enthusiasm and careful planning. Catmull writes,"The thesis of this book is that there are many blocks to creativity, but there are active steps we can take to protect the creative process." Catmull writes about the history and vision of Pixar as well as the strategies and mechanisms that have kept the creativity flowing for an amazing run of great animated films - second only in my mind to the stunning work of the Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki and his Ghibli film studios. Cattmull's book is a must read for anyone involved in the arts. From painters, to writers, to actors, to musicians, to film-makers, to game designers - all will benefit immensely from Catmull's encouragement to embrace the unknown while learning to communicate creatively.

Link here: Creativity, Inc 

Stronger Together

Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine's book "Stronger Together" begins with a powerful statement: "It has been said that America is great because America is good." Clinton and Kaine agree with that statement as do I. The book continues and reminds us that,"we face our fair share of threats and challenges." The strength of this 249 page volume is the detailed description of policy suggestions that carry the knowledge that the United States is a country of good as it creates positive change for the benefit of all its citizens.

"Stronger Together" outlines investments in job growth, clean energy, debt free college plans, reining in Wall Street, equal pay for women, expanded health coverage, LGBT rights, open internet, expanded K-12 education, fair immigration reform, national defense, women's health and reproductive rights, and more.

Hillary writes, "Americans don't say:"I alone can fix it." We say: "We'll fix it together." Clinton and Kaine's book is a blueprint of inspiration and ideas of how we as Americans will move our country forward together. Highly recommended.

Link Here: Stronger Together

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Hop On Pop

by Gregg Chadwick
Dad (General Robert J. Chadwick USMC)
circa 1978
photo courtesy USMC

Peter Clothier asked me a while ago to contribute to his series of Boyhood Memories which he is posting on his new blog site -http://www.boyhoodmoments.com/2016/09/hop-on-pop.html and eventually working into a book.  I finally finished my story and it has prompted me to continue writing about my life as an artist. 

Growing up as the kid of a USMC officer during the Vietnam era inspired me in unique ways. Please have a read and let me know what you think. Also spend some time on Peter's site. Masami Teraoka 's piece is timeless and magical and Michael Provart 's writing is funny and poignant. Peter Clothier also adds his own childhood memories into the mix. Every story Peter has received is rich in memory. 

Peter introduces my story with the following: "HOP ON POP
Here's another "absent father" piece, this one with the added leitmotif, perhaps, of a creative vocation discovered as a child! The Dad in question is caught in the black and white photograph, below. Gregg Chadwick is today a Santa Monica-based painter whose work is widely exhibited and acclaimed. His blog is titled Speed of Life. His boyhood memory skirts subtly around the pain of separation, deflecting it first, jokingly, onto a prank played on his mother with his toys; then on a treasured book, a parting gift from Dad. But by the end, we're left in no doubt that the pain is there..."

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Candid Bruce Springsteen on CBS Sunday Morning

by Gregg Chadwick

Today on CBS Sunday morning, Bruce Springsteen spoke candidly about his upcoming autobiography in a conversation with reporter Anthony Mason. Below is the full video and a few highlights from the interview. Full story can be found at: Bruce Springsteen,"I'm still in love with playing." Thanks to CBS Sunday Morning for this insightful glimpse into the man and his art.

Bruce Springsteen has been singing about his own life and times for more than 40 years. Now’s he’s written about them as well. Here is our own music man, Anthony Mason:
In the final dates of his international tour that ended this past week, Bruce Springsteen played one four-hour gig after another. How can he keep doing that? “I’m conditioned to do it from many, many years of experience. Don’t try it at home, kids!” he warned.
It’s the one arena where the singer, who turns 67 next week, can control the clock: “You’re looking for a particular moment, and then when you catch that, it feels so good sometimes. 
“Then time disappears, you know?”
“Where do you think your drive came from?” Mason asked.
“I believe every artist had someone who told them that they weren’t worth dirt and someone who told them that they were the second coming of the baby Jesus, and they believed ‘em both,” Springsteen replied.
“And that’s the fuel that starts the fire.”
For Springsteen, the fire started in Freehold, New Jersey, on the block around the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church.
“Home was right up here,” the singer pointed out to Mason. “My house was here, church was there, nun’s convent, priest’s rectory. My aunt’s house was there. My other aunt’s house was right next to her.”
“The grinding power of this ruined place would never leave me,” he writes in “Born to Run,” his new autobiography, published by Simon & Schuster (a division of CBS). 
Doug and Adele Springsteen’s son found both comfort and fear there. His mother, a legal secretary, rented him his first guitar. His father, who worked at Ford, was an angry man.
“He loved me,” Springsteen writes, “but he couldn’t stand me.”
Mason joined Springsteen on a surprise visit to the school at St. Rose of Lima. He is beloved here now. It was different when he was in class.
“I’m gettin’ the willies,” he said, walking into a classroom.
“Did I read they called you ‘Springy’?” Mason asked.
“Yes. That is correct, my friend. Amongst many other things.”
“How did you do when you were here?”
“Not particularly well, you know. I didn’t fit in the box so well.”
Long after he moved away, Springsteen would drive back at times to Freehold: “I may still cruise through every once in a while.”
“What are you looking for when you do?”
“Well, they say you’re looking to make things all right again, you know? And of course, there’s no going back, you know?”
The long-haired guitar slinger who earned his stripes in the bars of Asbury Park, was signed to Columbia Records at just 22.
His first two albums did not sell well, so he poured his soul into a new song called “Born to Run”:

Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run by BruceSpringsteenVEVO on YouTube

“Well, I was trying to make the greatest record you’d ever heard. The record that after you heard it, you didn’t have to hear another record, you know?”
“Born to Run” launched Bruce Springsteen. The album’s now-iconic cover also featured sax player Clarence Clemons, Bruce’s mythic sidekick. The big man’s imposing presence came to symbolize the brotherhood of the E Street Band.
Mason asked, “How would you describe your relationship with Clarence?”
“It was very primal,” he replied. “It was just, ‘Oh, you’re, you’re some missing part of me. You’re some dream I’m having. He was this huge force, you know? While at the same time being very fragile and very dependent himself, which is maybe what the two of us had in common. We were both kind of insecure down inside. And we both felt kind of fragile and unsure of ourselves. But when we were together we felt really powerful.
“We were very different people, you know? Clarence lived fast and loose and wild and wide-open, you know? And I tended to be a little more conservative.”
“You said offstage, you couldn’t be friends.”
“I couldn’t because it would ruin my life!” Springsteen laughed. “But Clarence could be Clarence excellently. He was very good at it.”
Until Clemons’ health went into a long decline. In 2011 he suffered a stroke and died days later. “Losing Clarence,” Springsteen writes, “was like losing the rain.”
“And it happened very quick and suddenly. And it was quite devastating,” he said.
“When something like that, that as you say kind of came magically to begin with, goes away, you’ve got to be sitting there going, ‘How do I replace this?’” Mason asked.

Full story can be found at: Bruce Springsteen,"I'm still in love with playing."

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Artspace Artist Spotlight on Gregg Chadwick

Gregg Chadwick
The Artist (Joseph Beuys)
Oil on Linen
24.00 x 30.00 in
61.0 x 76.2 cm
Unique Work
This work is signed, titled, and dated on verso.

Honored to have my art recognized by as a featured artist! Link here:  and here: http://www.artspace.com/gregg-chadwick

Below you will find a rarely featured video by the artist Joseph Beuys from 1982.

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Fun exhibit of Elvis-themed art at @lrossgallery -- "One in a Million."

“Gregg Chadwick takes the opposite stance in the oil-on-linen "Elvis Presley (Suspicion)." Here, a familiar depiction of the singer is rendered in blurry, shadowy lines, as if his memory is slowly fading and becoming the stuff of rumor and legend tending toward oblivion.”
- Fredric Koeppel, The Commercial Appeal

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Off to Memphis!

by Gregg Chadwick

Gregg Chadwick
Elvis Presley (Suspicion)
36”x36” oil on linen 2016

In the Exhibition:
One in a Million 

August 2 - 27, 2016
Reception 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, August 5, 2016. 
5040 Sanderlin, Suite 104, Memphis, Tennessee 38117


Monday, August 01, 2016

Gregg Chadwick Talks About His Paintings on Facebook Live from Saatchi Art Exhibit Cross Currents

New Works by Los Angeles Artists 
Saatchi Art, the world's leading online gallery, presents new works in celebration of LA's first citywide Public Art Biennial, Current: LA.
July 21 through September 29, 2016

1655 26th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90404

CROSS CURRENTS is a new exhibition on view at Saatchi Art in Santa Monica. Curated by Katherine Henning, Associate Curator, and Jessica McQueen, Assistant Curator, the exhibition continues Saatchi Art's series of shows around the world.
The exhibition highlights the work of 14 emerging artists represented by Saatchi Art, the world’s leading online gallery: Gregg Chadwick, Fabio Coruzzi, Charlotte Evans, Art van Kraft, Chase Langford, Koen Lybaert, Lola Mitchell, Harry Moody, Relja Penezic, Kelly Puissegur, Stephen Rowe, Erin Tengquist, Dean West, and Naomi White.
The exhibition is on view from July 21 through September 29, 2016 at Saatchi Art, located at 1655 26th Street, Santa Monica, CA. Gallery hours: Monday through Friday 10am-5pm and Saturday by appointment. Please email to schedule a visit during gallery hours. Gallery contact:curator@saatchiart.com.
All works are on sale at the exhibition and online at Saatchi Art: saatchiart.com/show/cross-currents

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Monday, July 25, 2016

London Calling at Getty Museum

London Calling - So excited for this exhibit at
Opens on July 26, 2016

Love the catalog -

Thank you RB Kitaj

School of L.A. (RB Kitaj - Westwood 3/08/07)

School of L.A. (RB Kitaj - Westwood 3/08/07)
Gregg Chadwick
40"x30" oil on linen 2007

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Live Coverage of the 2016 Democratic National Convention

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Cross Currents: Don't Forget the Water - Salish Sea

by Gregg Chadwick

Gregg Chadwick
Salish Sea
30"x24" oil on linen 2014 

Two years ago on a technicolor blue day, I stood on the deck of the Wenatchee ferry cutting through the choppy sea from Seattle to Bainbridge Island. The vessel was named for the Wenatchi people who originally lived in the shadow of the Columbia and Wenatchee Rivers in Eastern Washington State. We are riding on a ship of memory.

In the Yakama language, wenatchi means "river flowing from canyon." The Wenatchee River was home to a vibrant salmon run prior to the damming of the Columbia River which impeded the salmon's journey. Like the fish, the Wenatchi tribe was also blocked from its ancestral waterways as the US government rounded up the Native Americans in Washington State and collected them in reservations far from their native lands. 

I often think about the rivers, lakes, towns and cities we have named after the original Americans. The absence of most of their culture in our increasingly mini-malled landscape points to the brutal erasure of Indian tribes across the United States. The dominant culture in America seems to continually romanticize, while at the same time ostracizing, the rich history of Native Americans. The writer Sherman Alexie will have none of that, thank you. Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington before graduating from Washington State University. Alexie is a major player in contemporary writing. His well-received novels, Reservation Blues and Indian Killer helped pave the way for his foray into film with Smoke Signals and The Business of Fancydancing. Alexie writes with courage about his experiences as an Indian in a white culture. Alexie also writes, as Andrea Vogt in Washington State Magazine reported, with "brutal honesty-some might even say disdain-about ignorance, alcoholism, and other problems on the rez."  

The Business of Fancydancing leads Gene Tagaban (Aristotle Joseph), Michelle St. John (Agnes Roth), and Evan Adams (Seymour Polatkin), with writer/director Sherman Alexie.photo by Lance Muresan
Courtesy Washington State Magazine
For Alexie and other Native American activists ignoring the problems exacerbated by systemic racism in the US is out of the question. With that in mind, for over 20 years an annual inter-tribal Canoe Journey has been held on the Salish Sea. The Salish Sea is a 6,500 square mile ecosystem consisting of the Puget Sound Basin (US) and the Georgia Basin (Canada). 
Canoe Journey 2016, Paddle to Nisqually, continues the inter-tribal celebration and annual gathering of Northwest indigenous nations. The website for Paddle to Nisqually goes into great detail about the history and significance of the event:
"Canoe Journey gatherings are rich in meaning and cultural significance. Canoe families travel great distances as their ancestors did and participating in the journey requires physical and spiritual discipline. At each stop, canoe families follow certain protocols, they ask for permission to come ashore, often in their native languages. At night in longhouses there is gifting, honoring and the sharing of traditional prayers, drumming, songs and dances. Meals, including evening dinners of traditional foods, are provided by the host nations.
When Europeans began exploring the region, the tribes were used to meeting and welcoming strangers who arrived by boat. Sadly, the Europeans did not understand the hospitality culture of the coastal tribes as the tribes were displaced over the next two centuries. The canoe culture, as practiced by the Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest, had all but disappeared until the Canoe Journey events began to grow in the 90’s. Techniques of canoe making and use had largely vanished and fewer and fewer tribal people knew how to pull a traditional canoe. Now...a new tradition is well into the making and a cultural resurgence is underway."
The Salish Sea is a 6,500 square mile ecosystem consisting of the Puget Sound Basin (US) and the Georgia Basin (Canada). 
The theme for this years Canoe Journey is "Don't Forget the Water" in honor of the Nisqually Tribe's Mountain story.  

The Nisqually Tribe finds hope in the annual canoe journey and its focus on community building:
The Nisqually River Council’s Nisqually Watershed Stewardship Plan (NWSP) recognizes that community wellness is a key component of creating a sustainable watershed. We embrace the people who live in the Nisqually watershed, their sense of identity and responsibility that has existed for generations. Strong communities require, among other things, access to the arts and high community health indicators. Paddle to Nisqually represents a unique opportunity to highlight the many efforts the Nisqually Tribe makes to promote community wellness, including a culture free of drugs and alcohol, access to traditional and healthy foods, and close ties to Nisqually heritage.
Looking back now on that day on the ferry, I see things through the veil of my painting and the complicated history of the region. There is an accumulation of memories gathered in this Salish Sea as the Wenatchee ferry carries its passengers towards their destination. How many canoes over the centuries have traversed this same path?
In my painting Salish Sea, who is the rider on the bow of this ship of memory? 

Gregg Chadwick's Salish Sea is on exhibit at Saatchi Art through September 29, 2016 in the group exhibition Cross Currents. There will be an opening on Thursday, July 21, 2016 from 6-9pm. For more info and to RSVP please visit:  

New Works by Los Angeles Artists 
Saatchi Art, the world's leading online gallery, presents new works in celebration of LA's first citywide Public Art Biennial, Current: LA.
July 21, 2016
6–7pm VIP Preview
7–9pm Public Reception
Featuring special musical guest
1655 26th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90404
RSVP by July 20

CROSS CURRENTS is a new exhibition on view at Saatchi Art in Santa Monica. Curated by Katherine Henning, Associate Curator, and Jessica McQueen, Assistant Curator, the exhibition continues Saatchi Art's series of shows around the world.
The exhibition highlights the work of 14 emerging artists represented by Saatchi Art, the world’s leading online gallery: Gregg Chadwick, Fabio Coruzzi, Charlotte Evans, Art van Kraft, Chase Langford, Koen Lybaert, Lola Mitchell, Harry Moody, Relja Penezic, Kelly Puissegur, Stephen Rowe, Erin Tengquist, Dean West, and Naomi White.
The exhibition is on view from July 21 through September 29, 2016 at Saatchi Art, located at 1655 26th Street, Santa Monica, CA. Gallery hours: Monday through Friday 10am-5pm and Saturday by appointment. Please email to schedule a visit during gallery hours. Gallery contact:curator@saatchiart.com.
All works are on sale at the exhibition and online at Saatchi Art: saatchiart.com/show/cross-currents

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Thinking About Peace and Painting With Melissa Pickford

by Gregg Chadwick

Under the Gun Film Poster Reflected in Window at Premiere in Beverly Hills, CA
May 3, 2016
photo by Gregg Chadwick

Just spent a rich afternoon in my studio with Monterey Peninsula College Art Gallery Director Melissa Pickford. Her father Rollin Pickford was an accomplished painter of the California scene and she is an accomplished curator and artist as well. We caught up on our lives, and talked about art, and memory, and time, and we also discussed the recent violent acts across the globe. Writer Anne Lamott on her Facebook page writes, "And then in recent weeks, Orlando, police shooting innocent people, and innocent police officers being shot, and now Nice. How on Earth do we respond, when we are stunned and scared and overwhelmed, to the point of almost disbelieving?" This morning as I scan the reports trickling out from Istanbul about the failed coup in Turkey, a news alert scans across my computer screen informing me of a new shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This summer of discontent continues to boil. But Anne Lamott reminds us,"What is true is that the world has always been this way, people have always been this way, grace always bats last, it just does--" 

As we consider recent events, three books published in the last few years should be on every peacemaker's bookshelf: Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, Michael Shermer's The Moral Arc: How Science Makes Us Better People, and the Dalai Lama's Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World. These three volumes begin with the premise that global violence on an historical timeline is not increasing and that humanity is generally good. As Melissa and I talked about - turn the nightly news on, or scan the latest headlines on your iPhone, and it would seem that the world grows uglier each day. Pinker's book successfully argues that the past was a much more brutal time. Shermer argues that because of the Enlightenment, thinkers consciously applied the methods of science to morally solve social struggles and that again, on an historical timeline, humanity is in the most moral period in history. The Dalai Lama makes it clear in Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World that an individual does not have to be religious to be ethical. Love and compassion are necessities for living. Compassion expresses deep sensitivity to the sufferings of others and a fierce drive to help alleviate those sufferings. Compassion is also the realization that we - human beings, animals, and the earth itself - are all interconnected.

How do we respond to our summer of discontent with compassion? Annie Lamott writes:
"I know that we MUST respond. We must respond with a show of force equal to the violence and tragedies, with love force. Mercy force. Un-negotiated compassion force. Crazy care-giving to the poor and suffering, including ourselves."
And we must continue to paint, to write, to dance, to sing. To value creation over destruction.
We must continue to fight for justice and to celebrate life. 

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Greenpeace holds a historic performance with pianist Ludovico Einaudi on the Arctic Ocean

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

MFA Conservation: Van Gogh's Houses at Auvers

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Venice Art Walk and Auctions Today - May 22, 2016

Gregg Chadwick
City of Angels
17”x17” oil on linen 2014

Today's the day! 2016 at Google Los Angeles 340 Main Street Venice, CA 90291 Noon-6pm

Monday, May 09, 2016

Full Remarks by U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Civil Rights Division Leader Vanita Gupta on North Carolina's Anti-LGBT HB 2

Loretta Lynch to transgender community: 
"We see you, we stand with you and we will do everything we can to protect you." 

Full Remarks by U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch:

Good afternoon and thank you all for being here.  Today, I’m joined by Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice.  We are here to announce a significant law enforcement action regarding North Carolina’s Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, also known as House Bill 2. 

The North Carolina General Assembly passed House Bill 2 in special session on March 23 of this year.  The bill sought to strike down an anti-discrimination provision in a recently-passed Charlotte, North Carolina, ordinance, as well as to require transgender people in public agencies to use the bathrooms consistent with their sex as noted at birth, rather than the bathrooms that fit their gender identity.  The bill was signed into law that same day.  In so doing, the legislature and the governor placed North Carolina in direct opposition to federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex and gender identity.  More to the point, they created state-sponsored discrimination against transgender individuals, who simply seek to engage in the most private of functions in a place of safety and security – a right taken for granted by most of us.  

Last week, our Civil Rights Division notified state officials that House Bill 2 violates federal civil rights laws.  We asked that they certify by the end of the day today that they would not comply with or implement House Bill 2’s restriction on restroom access.  An extension was requested by North Carolina and was under active consideration.  But instead of replying to our offer or providing a certification, this morning, the state of North Carolina and its governor chose to respond by suing the Department of Justice.  As a result of their decisions, we are now moving forward. 

Today, we are filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against the state of North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and the University of North Carolina.  We are seeking a court order declaring House Bill 2’s restroom restriction impermissibly discriminatory, as well as a statewide bar on its enforcement.  While the lawsuit currently seeks declaratory relief, I want to note that we retain the option of curtailing federal funding to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and the University of North Carolina as this case proceeds.

This action is about a great deal more than just bathrooms.  This is about the dignity and respect we accord our fellow citizens and the laws that we, as a people and as a country, have enacted to protect them – indeed, to protect all of us.  And it’s about the founding ideals that have led this country – haltingly but inexorably – in the direction of fairness, inclusion and equality for all Americans. 

This is not the first time that we have seen discriminatory responses to historic moments of progress for our nation.  We saw it in the Jim Crow laws that followed the Emancipation Proclamation.  We saw it in fierce and widespread resistance to Brown v. Board of Education.  And we saw it in the proliferation of state bans on same-sex unions intended to stifle any hope that gay and lesbian Americans might one day be afforded the right to marry.  That right, of course, is now recognized as a guarantee embedded in our Constitution, and in the wake of that historic triumph, we have seen bill after bill in state after state taking aim at the LGBT community.  Some of these responses reflect a recognizably human fear of the unknown, and a discomfort with the uncertainty of change.  But this is not a time to act out of fear.  This is a time to summon our national virtues of inclusivity, diversity, compassion and open-mindedness.  What we must not do – what we must never do – is turn on our neighbors, our family members, our fellow Americans, for something they cannot control, and deny what makes them human.  This is why none of us can stand by when a state enters the business of legislating identity and insists that a person pretend to be something they are not, or invents a problem that doesn’t exist as a pretext for discrimination and harassment.

Let me speak now to the people of the great state, the beautiful state, my state of North Carolina.  You’ve been told that this law protects vulnerable populations from harm – but that just is not the case.  Instead, what this law does is inflict further indignity on a population that has already suffered far more than its fair share.  This law provides no benefit to society – all it does is harm innocent Americans.  

Instead of turning away from our neighbors, our friends, our colleagues, let us instead learn from our history and avoid repeating the mistakes of our past.  Let us reflect on the obvious but often neglected lesson that state-sanctioned discrimination never looks good in hindsight.  It was not so very long ago that states, including North Carolina, had signs above restrooms, water fountains and on public accommodations keeping people out based upon a distinction without a difference.  We have moved beyond those dark days, but not without pain and suffering and an ongoing fight to keep moving forward.  Let us write a different story this time.  Let us not act out of fear and misunderstanding, but out of the values of inclusion, diversity and regard for all that make our country great. 

Let me also speak directly to the transgender community itself.  Some of you have lived freely for decades.  Others of you are still wondering how you can possibly live the lives you were born to lead.  But no matter how isolated or scared you may feel today, the Department of Justice and the entire Obama Administration wants you to know that  we see you; we stand with you; and we will do everything we can to protect you going forward.  Please know that history is on your side.  This country was founded on a promise of equal rights for all, and we have always managed to move closer to that promise, little by little, one day at a time.  It may not be easy – but we’ll get there together.  

I want to thank my colleagues in the Civil Rights Division who have devoted many hours to this case so far, and who will devote many more to seeing it through.  At this time, I’d like to turn things over to Vanita Gupta, whose determined leadership on this and so many other issues has been essential to the Justice Department’s work.

Remarks by Civil Rights Division Leader Vanita Gupta:

Thank you, Attorney General Lynch, for those powerful words.  Throughout the arc of our country’s history – from tragedies of injustice to marches for equality – there have been pivotal moments when America’s leaders chose to stand up and speak out to safeguard the ideal of equal justice under law.  And history will record your inspiring words and our forceful action today as one of these moments.  

I also want to take a moment to thank the entire team throughout the Civil Rights Division and the Department of Justice, who have worked tirelessly over the last several weeks to ensure that everyone in North Carolina has the full protections of our laws.

Today, we filed a federal civil rights complaint in federal court in the Middle District of North Carolina.  Before I discuss the details of our legal argument, I want to make one thing clear.  Calling H.B. 2 a “bathroom bill” trivializes what this is really about.  H.B. 2 translates into discrimination in the real world.  The complaint we filed today speaks to public employees who feel afraid and stigmatized on the job.  It speaks to students who feel like their campus treats them differently because of who they are.  It speaks to sports fans who feel forced to choose between their gender identity and their identity as a Tar Heel.  And it speaks to all of us who have ever been made to feel inferior – like somehow we just don’t belong in our community, like somehow we just don’t fit in.  Let me reassure every transgender individual, right here in America, that you belong just as you are.  You are supported.  And you are protected.

Our complaint brings legal claims under three different civil rights statutes.  Two of these statutes are long-standing protections against discrimination in the employment and education contexts: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.  It is fitting that these statutes – which emerged from our nation’s long struggle to banish a legacy of legal discrimination – are now being used to defend, to uphold and to reaffirm the progress that resulted from that struggle; progress that represents America at its best, at its brightest and at its strongest.

Title IX and Title VII prohibit discrimination based on sex.  The Department of Justice has for some time now made clear that sex discrimination includes discrimination against transgender people – that is, discrimination based on gender identity.  That is consistent not only with the language of the statutes, but also with the legal interpretations adopted by federal courts – including the appellate court with jurisdiction over the state of North Carolina.  There is nothing radical or even particularly unusual about the notion that the word “sex” includes the concept of “gender.”  Transgender people are discriminated against because their gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth.  H.B. 2 denies transgender people something that all non-transgender people enjoy and take for granted: access to restrooms consistent with their gender identity.  That’s sex discrimination, plain and simple.  This view is only confirmed when proponents of measures like H.B. 2 misinterpret or make up facts about gender identity.  Here are the facts.  Transgender men are men – they live, work and study as men.  Transgender women are women – they live, work and study as women.

Our Title VII claim is brought against the state and governor of North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and the University of North Carolina because of sex discrimination in employment.  Our Title IX claim is brought against the University of North Carolina because of sex discrimination in its education programs.

We also bring a claim under the Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, a more recent statute specifically designed to prevent discrimination against transgender people by entities that accept certain federal funds.  As with Title IX, entities that accepted federal funds under VAWA – including UNC and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety – pledged that they would not discriminate on the basis of sex or gender identity.  Our complaint seeks to enforce that pledge and hold those entities accountable for the discrimination required by H.B. 2.

Even as we seek that compliance, we remain committed to working with any agency receiving federal funding to develop a plan to ensure their compliance with federal law.

For the reasons I just highlighted, H.B. 2 violates the law.  But H.B. 2 also threatens the values that define us as a people.  These values are timeless.  These values say to all people that you can be who you are, and you deserve to live with dignity.

The complaint filed today seeks to enforce these laws and protect these values.  At this time, the Attorney General and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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