LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Attorney General Kamala Harris, along with Southland leaders in the African-American community, joined hundreds to mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.

KNX 1070’s Claudia Peschiutta reports Harris was among several speakers featured at Monday’s event at the California African American Museum in Exposition Park.

“I would not be standing here this afternoon as your attorney general were it not for the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Harris said.

The landmark act, which was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964, outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Harris said the legislation is a living, breathing document that must be defended with each generation.

KCAL9’s Art Barron reports Harris spoke about a wide range of issues, like the inequalities in housing, education and employment opportunity.

While strides have been made, Harris said work must continue with faith-based leadership, law enforcement and business, noting that women still don’t make as much as their male counterparts.

“When women are being paid 70 cents to 50 cents on the dollar, we have to be concerned,” she said.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said he runs a department that is now made up of a majority of minorities.

“My command staff is more minority than it is your traditional, white, male-dominated enterprise,” he said.

Activist and attorney Connie Rice successfully sued the LAPD in the 1980s to bring about more diversity.

“We’ve made a lot of progress. LAPD has made a lot of progress. We still have problems, but we’re working on them every day,” Rice said.

California African American Museum Executive Director Charmaine Jefferson, United Way of Greater Los Angeles CEO Elise Buick, Los Angeles Urban League CEO Nolan Rollins, and Karen Korematsu, executive director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education, were also on hand to mark the anniversary.

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