Veteran Discrimination

Posted: July 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

Boston’s Veterans Services chief said the discrimination claim by an Iraq and Afghan war veteran who is suing a peace activist over a Savin Hill rental dispute is “unusual,” despite the nation’s bitter divisions after a decade of war. “Things are definitely better than they used to be,” said Veterans Affairs Commissioner Francisco Urena, when asked if returning vets today are feeling the kinds of prejudices reported by Vietnam vets decades ago. The Boston Herald reported 4 JUN that Army National Guard Sgt. Joel Morgan, 29, filed a discrimination lawsuit in Suffolk Superior Court against property owner Janice Roberts, 63, of Boston, after she cited her anti-war views when suggesting he look elsewhere for an apartment. Roberts, citing issues such as questions about Morgan’s ability to pay and his failure to return a rental application, has denied she passed him over for the two-bedroom, $1,220 a month flat over his war service, though she cited, “what you told me about the Iraq war,” in an April 9 voicemail in which she stated, “It probably would be better for you to look for a place that is a little bit less politically active and controversial.” Roberts doesn’t live at the Savin Hill property. State law bars landlords from rejecting veterans due to their military backgrounds. Harvey Silverglate, a noted local civil liberties lawyer who is not involved in the case, said of the looming legal dispute, “We’re living in highly contentious times. It’s just a reflection of the larger ideological battles that have divided this country. As a society, we’re forgetting how to live with our differences and this is very dangerous. We need to start talking to each other.” Meanwhile, Urena advised any vets who believe they are facing discrimination to call City Hall. [Source: Boston Herald Laurel J. Sweet article 6 Jun 2012 ++]


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