In the News

California voters will be asked to restore affirmative action in November
Los Angeles Times, 06/24/2020

“…Wednesday’s discussion was personal for many lawmakers. Black and Latino senators said the 1996 ballot measure had not lived up to its backers’ promises of creating a level playing field for millions of Californians who no longer represent a minority of the state’s population.”

Affirmative action will be on California’s ballot in November
The Sacramento Bee, 06/24/2020

“For two hours, senators debated the need to revisit a decades-old policy Democrats said has historically disadvantaged women and Californians of color in businesses and on university campuses throughout the most diverse state in the country.”

California Senate Okays ACA 5: Affirmative Action Decision Moves to Voters
Los Angeles Sentinel, 06/25/2020

“‘The California state Senate has the power to take a strong stance against racism and allow Californians the opportunity to vote to restore affirmative action and create a more fair, just and equitable California’ [-Cal State Student Association]”

California voters will be asked whet her to repeal Prop. 209 ban on affirmative action
San Francisco Chronicle, 06/24/2020

The California state Senate voted in favor of placing proposed constitutional amendment ACA5 on the November ballot to reverse Prop. 209. With a simple majority by voters, the measure would strip the language in the State Constitution, allowing for race and sex in admissions criteria, hiring, and contract decisions.

California voters to decide fate of affirmative action ban
KCRA 3, 06/24/2020

“The Legislative Asian Pacific Islander Caucus officially endorsed the repeal earlier this week, adding that more than 100 organizations and community leaders “representing hundreds of thousands of Asian Pacific Islanders” support ending the ban on affirmative action.”

California Voters to Decide on Restoring Affirmative Action, Allowing Parolees to Vote
KQED, 06/24/2020

“California voters will weigh in this fall on restoring affirmative action and allowing people on parole to vote, after the Senate gave final approval to the two constitutional amendments on Wednesday.”

How to bring equal opportunity to the San Francisco Bay Area economy
San Francisco Chronicle (June 17, 2020)

By John William Templeton – When the California Assembly voted last week to approve Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5, which would repeal Proposition 209’s (1996) ban on affirmative action, the lawmakers used their own personal histories to show how race is an enduring factor in their life prospects. They correctly explained that the 14th Amendment’s mandate for equal protection of the law — the goal of the millions of African Americans who voted in 1868 to make the amendment part of the Constitution — has not yet been achieved.

California Lawmakers Push to Repeal Ban On Affirmative Action
KQED Forum (June 16, 2020)

With guest Vincent Pan, Co-Executive Director, Chinese for Affirmative Action, and Co-Chair of the Opportunity for All coalition.

California forges a path through America’s racial divide
CNN (June 16, 2020)

One notable aspect of last week’s Assembly vote was that eight of the chamber’s ten Asian-American members voted for repeal. Vincent Pan, executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, says that shift from 2014 partly reflects immediate factors: better organizing in the Asian-American community and the also the fact that this repeal affects not only education but also public hiring for positions such as police, fire-fighters and college faculty where Asian communities still feel underrepresented.

UC regents back repealing Prop. 209, restoring affirmative action
San Francisco Chronicle (June 15, 2020)

“It makes little sense to exclude any consideration of race in admissions when the aim of the university’s holistic process is to fully understand and evaluate each applicant through multiple dimensions,” UC President Janet Napolitano said in a statement released by the university.

Race matters. Put affirmative action back on California’s ballot
Los Angeles Times (June 12, 2020)

California Assembly voted to pass ACA 5
The Sacramento Observer (June 11, 2020)

“Today California took an important step toward real change by passing ACA 5. A new generation of Californians is rising,” said Chris Lodgson of American Descendants of Slaves (ADOS) Sacramento.”One that values the lives and rights of Black American descendants of Slavery.”

Is Affirmative Action Coming Back In California?
KPCC (June 11, 2020)

ACA 5, authored by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), would repeal Proposition 209, the controversial constitutional amendment that banned affirmative action at state institutions in 1996. The ban has impacted state college and university admissions, as well as state jobs and government contracting opportunities. … Only two lawmakers publicly opposed the proposed ballot measure during the discussion Wednesday, both Republicans.

California Playbook: Affirmative Action Redo Advances
Politico (June 11, 2020)

If [ACA 5] passes the Senate, the voters are the ultimate gatekeepers. But as we said, California’s current electorate is very different from the 1996 version. A whole cohort of young left-leaning voters was not around or eligible to weigh in on this fight last time, and many of them — along with plenty of other voters — have been energized by a cresting racial consciousness.

As millions protest systemic racism, Californians could soon have chance to restore affirmative action
Los Angeles Times (June 11, 2020)

Both legislative leaders — Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) and Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) — are pushing the proposal. “I absolutely support giving California voters the opportunity to right this historical wrong,” Atkins emailed me. Gov. Gavin Newsom also has embraced the measure.

California Assembly backs repealing affirmative action ban
CBS8 San Diego (June 10, 2020)

The San Diego Democrat [Assemblymember Weber] successfully convinced California Assembly members from both sides of the aisle to back her plan claiming it would reverse a slide in African American enrollment at elite universities and solve the lack of diversity in government jobs.

California affirmative action vote prompts ‘tough’ debate
Associated Press (June 10, 2020)

The Assembly voted 58-9 to let voters decide whether to repeal the amendment. If the state Senate concurs by June 25, the question would be added to the November ballot — further intensifying an election year that already includes a presidential contest. Since the 1996 amendment, at least seven other states have adopted similar policies: Washington, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Arizona, New Hampshire and Oklahoma. A constitutional amendment in Colorado failed to pass in 2008. “This is not the same California that voted on this 25 years ago,” said Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, a Democrat from Los Angeles.

Editorial: To dismantle systemic racism, California Legislature must let voters consider Prop. 209
Sacramento Bee (June 10, 2020)

In 1996, Prop. 209 passed with nearly 55 percent support from California voters. That year, Republicans seized on affirmative action as a wedge issue to inflame racial division and drive voter turnout in an effort to unseat incumbent President Bill Clinton. Masquerading behind civil rights language, it abolished a key tool for addressing systemic discrimination people of color and women. Then-Gov. Pete Wilson endorsed it, as did Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole.

After 24 years, it’s time for a new generation of California voters to weigh in on the question. The California State Legislature should strongly support ACA 5 and let the people decide in November.

Column: California should revive affirmative action and launch a slavery reparations task force
Los Angeles Times (June 10, 2020)

The electorate has changed in California, and given events of the past two weeks, it’s quite possible that voters are willing to revisit the idea that some groups of people have been disadvantaged for so long that they may need extra support to get to college, to get a job, to get a government contract.

Affirmative action on the agenda
Politico (June 10, 2020)

Even if the constitutional amendment clears the Legislature, voters would still need to approve it — undoing the 1996 California electorate’s decision to halt affirmative action in passing Proposition 209. Much has changed in California politics in the quarter-century since that vote, and the momentum behind racial justice could make for a very different debate.

Commentary: Why California should repeal Prop. 209 and allow state institutions to consider race
San Diego Union-Tribune (June 10, 2020)

By Assemblymember Shirley Weber: “Proposition 209 has hindered public policy, thwarted opportunity and maintained economic disparity long enough. It’s time to give voters a chance to right this wrong. ACA 5 is about equal opportunity for all and investment in our communities. Together, we can stand up for our values and help stop gender and racial discrimination in California.”

Police training, affirmative action and reparations on the agenda
Calmatters (June 8, 2020)

Newsom backed some legislation, including a bill to make carotid holds illegal; a bill to reinstate affirmative action in state colleges, universities and agencies; and a bill to establish a reparations committee.

Voices of Change
KTVU2 (June 7, 2020)

Mona Tawatao, Legal Director at the Equal Justice Society, touched on a wide range of issues including ACA 5 and how supporting the bill is one concrete way that people can support communities of color and women.

State Legislature must let Californians vote on whether to restore affirmative action
Sacramento Bee (June 6, 2020)

Varsha Sarveshwar, President of the University of California Student Association: “As an advocate for University of California students, I call on the Legislature to pass this measure as soon as possible. When they do, it will go on to the November ballot for Californians to make our voices for opportunity heard.”

Affirmative action and reparations. California’s black lawmakers say it’s time to do more
Sacramento Bee (June 5, 2020)

“It’s been 24 years since Proposition 209 was on the ballot,” civil rights activist Eva Paterson told the editorial board. “There’s a whole new generation of people who should definitely have their say about whether race consciousness should be allowed in California.”

Newsom calls for new protest policing standards in California, ban on carotid holds
San Francisco Chronicle (June 5, 2020)

Newsom also expressed support for ACA5, a constitutional amendment put forth by Weber to overturn Proposition 209, the 1996 voter-approved initiative that outlawed consideration of race and sex in public education, employment and contracting. The governor said he has “long supported righting that wrong.”

Commentary: California needs to create a just and equitable recovery
CalMatters (June 4, 2020)

First, we need to ensure that equity is at the foundation of our recovery efforts. Temporary solutions are not enough; giving people immediate relief is crucial, but it is equally necessary to have a long-term vision of a more equitable economy. Our leaders must be courageous in making the ambitious, structural changes that will transform our economy: now is the time for big ideas such as establishing a statewide Office of Racial Equity, repealing Proposition 209 to give equal opportunity in public employment, contracting and education, and expanding Medi-Cal access to all elders, regardless of immigration status.

What Would ‘Systemic Change’ Look Like? California’s Black Lawmakers Have Some Ideas
Capitol Public Radio News (June 3, 2020)

Proponents say in the years since, diversity in public universities has dropped and minorities have received fewer economic opportunities. “This would restore equity and opportunity for black businesses and students across California, as well as women and other minorities,” McCarty said. “Twenty-five years later, it’s time for the voters to weigh in again.”

Weber: There’s a ‘Pandemic of Hate’ Against Black Americans
Voice of San Diego (June 3, 2020)

Among the bills that the caucus is pushing is ACA 5, which would place a measure on the November ballot to overturn the state’s ban on affirmative action. That effort, as Sara Libby noted in the Sacramento Report last week, was championed in the 1990s by former San Diego mayor Pete Wilson.

Bills on slavery reparations, affirmative action advance in California Assembly
San Francisco Chronicle (June 3, 2020)

One proposal would ask voters whether they want to reinstate affirmative action in colleges and state agencies. Another would create a task force to recommend plans to grant reparations to African Americans to counteract enduring inequities stemming from slavery. Members of the California Legislative Black Caucus urged their colleagues to support both bills during an emotional news conference Tuesday.

Is now the time to bring back affirmative action in California?
CalMatters (June 3, 2020)

For some moderates and even some conservatives in Sacramento, the fact that the measure will present the question to voters rather than providing an answer unilaterally has been a vital distinction. In the Public Employment and Retirement committee earlier this month, Republican Assemblyman Randy Voepel, not known as a moderate, voted to pass it out of committee. Prop. 209, he noted, had been passed by voters one “biblical generation” ago.

California’s black lawmakers push for bills to address inequality
Los Angeles Times (June 2, 2020)

Opponents of the original ban on affirmative action in California point to data on gender and ethnic disparity in civil service, lower representations of African Americans and Latinos in public universities and similar inequities in state contracts. If passed by the Legislature, ACA 5 would ask voters to repeal the law.

Commentary – Why affirmative action is necessary – from Harvard to California
Calmatters (June 1, 2020)

Sally Chen: “Now more than ever, we need policies that recognize and affirm who we are as AAPI people in order to remedy ongoing and new disparities. Restoring affirmative action in higher education is the bare minimum of what California should do to ensure opportunity for all. We also need to invest in small businesses and eliminate discrimination in government hiring. ACA 5 does just that too.”

Sacramento Report: Behind the Push to Undo California’s Affirmative Action Ban
Voice of San Diego (May 29, 2020)

California is one of the only states in the nation that doesn’t allow the consideration of race or gender when making decisions about hiring employees, awarding contracts or admitting students to its public universities.

WATCH: ‘Race & Coronavirus: A Bay Area Conversation’ virtual town hall about COVID-19 impact on African American community
ABC 7 (May 4, 2020)

Opportunity for All Coalition Co-Chair Eva Paterson was a panelist on a special ABC 7 town hall “Race and Coronavirus: A Bay Area Conversation” broadcast on April 30 discussing the impact of COVID-19 on the African American community.

To Boot Out Prop 209:Black Lawmakers Make Case for Affirmative Action in California
Black Voice News (May 4, 2020)

By Ebone Monet: On May 1, the Opportunity for All Coalition held a virtual seminar. More than 100 people logged on to take part in a discussion about the ethnic disparities of the COVID-19 crisis. Coalition member and the Chair of the California State Board of Equalization, Malia Cohen, said data revealing that communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus crisis highlights inequities in society and the need for affirmative action.

Is Proposition 209 in the Way of Newsom’s Effort to Close the African American Student Achievement Gap?
Post News Group (March 18, 2020)

By Joe W. Bowers Jr.: If Prop 209 is an impediment to approving funds to close the achievement gap for African American students, then Newsom has a chance to work with the Legislature on passing ACA 5, the California Act for Economic Prosperity, to repeal Proposition 209 and convincing California voters to approve it.

California Assembly Members Introduce Amendments to Repeal Affirmative Action
Diverse Education (March 16, 2020)

By Shailaja Neelakantan: “The amendment, ACA 5, primarily authored by assembly members Shirley Weber and Mike Gipson, would allow for race and gender to be considered in hiring and college admissions.”

Affirmative action could return under new state constitutional amendment proposal
California Globe (March 17, 2020)

By Evan Symon: “Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5, authored by Assemblywoman Dr. Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) and Assemblyman Mike Gipson (D-Carson), would overturn Proposition 209, a 1996 law removing affirmative action in California that was voted in 55% to 45%.”

Editorial: California should reconsider affirmative action ban
San Francisco Chronicle (March 16, 2020)

Editorial Board: “But Proposition 209 was not about advancing civil rights. It was about prohibiting the consideration of race and gender in public education, employment and contracting.”

CA Assembly members propose amendment to allow affirmative action
The Daily Californian (03/15/2020)

By Alexandra Feldman: “A state constitutional amendment that would repeal Proposition 209, California’s ban on affirmative action, was proposed in a state Assembly meeting March 9.”

Black Caucus introduces bill to repeal Prop 209
SacObserver (March 11, 2020)

Staff Report: “The California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) announced March 10 that it has introduced legislation to repeal proposition 209.”

Is Proposition 209 in the way of Newsom’s effort to close the African American Student Achievement gap?
Black Voice News (March 11, 2020)

Joe Bowers Jr.: “Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D – San Diego) twice proposed legislation, AB 2635 and AB 575, which would have directed LCFF funding to Black students. Both times, concerns about violating Proposition 209 were raised and the bills failed.”

Drug cartel, pandemic, coronavirus, Prop. 209, Weinstein: Wed news
USA Today (March 11, 2020)

Ariene Martinez: “Lawmakers and civil rights groups say they will try to repeal Prop. 209, which in 1996 banned the consideration of race and gender in admissions criteria, hiring and procurement decisions.”

California’s affirmative action ban, Proposition 209, targeted for repeal
San Francisco Chronicle (March 10, 2020)

Anne Cervantes, an architect in San Francisco, said she has struggled her whole career with a “glass ceiling” in her industry for women and Latinos. Without race-conscious programs, she said, it’s hard for her firm to compete against bigger companies with more connections.