Saturday, March 14, 2020

Campaign launched against California's affirmative action ban

Supporters of ACA5 gathered in Sacramento last March 10.

Its going to be another case of Asian Americans against Asian Americans over affirmative action. California groups have launched a campaign against Proposition 209, an affirmative action ban passed by voters in 1996.

The Opportunity for All Coalition, which includes AAPI organizations, announced a campaign to repeal Proposition 209 through the introduction of Assembly Constitutional Amendment No. 5 (ACA5), the California Act for Economic Prosperity.
"Because of Prop. 209, which bans fair opportunity policies in California like affirmative action, too many hardworking Californians are not sharing in our state’s prosperity – particularly women, Black, Latino, AAPI, and Native American families and low-wage workers," said Eva Patterson, president of the Equal Justice Society.

"Repealing Prop. 209 is an opportunity for us to stand up for our values and put an end to discrimination in state contracts, hiring and college admissions across race and gender," she said.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to that fact, and we cannot turn away from this fight, added said Stewart Kwoh, founder of Advancing Justice-LA. "By repealing Prop 209, we are sending a clear message that our identities are part of who we are and what we bring to the table. They are assets that should not continue to be seen as unlawful.” 

California is one of only eight states that does not allow race or gender to be considered in hiring, or allotting state contracts, or accepting students into the state’s public colleges and universities.

“In contracting, small business owners don’t get the same fair shot because of Prop 209,” Said Vincent Pan, representing Chinese for Affirmative Action. “In Chicago or Atlanta, Asian American-owned businesses win more public contracts than in San Francisco or Los Angeles where equal opportunity is banned because of this law.”

ACA5 will most likely stir up anti-affirmative action groups that supported Prop. 209 when in 2014 state lawmakers tried to pass a State Constitutional amendment overturning the law.

Asian American groups organized themselves against the proposed amendment because they felt affirmative action hurt their children's admittance to California's more competitive colleges. They were well organized and very vocal. When they began re-registering Asian American Democrats as Republicans, it got the attention of legislators who reversed their eaerlier vote from aye to nay.

ACA 5 is supported by members of the Black, Latino, API and Women’s Caucuses, as well as leading business and civil rights organizations across California, including Equal Justice Society, the California Black Chamber of Commerce, Chinese for Affirmative Action and scores of faith-based organizations. 

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