FACT: Affirmative action promotes equal opportunity for women and people of color.

Women and people of color are paid less, given fewer chances to access higher education, and are denied job opportunities. Affirmative action works to level the playing field by allowing policymakers to consider race and gender–without quotas–when making decisions about contracts, hiring and education.

FACT: California is out of step with the nation on ensuring equal opportunity — but we can change that.

In states that allow affirmative action, women and people of color compete on equal footing for government contracts. But California is one of just 9 states that bans affirmative action. Proposition 16 will put California in alignment with the rest of the country and level the playing field so we all have opportunities to succeed.

FACT: Colleges and universities CANNOT and WILL NOT use racial quotas to fill their classes and achieve diversity.

Passing Proposition 16 cannot and will not lead to quotas. The Supreme Court ruled in UC Regents v. Bakke that racial quotas are unconstitutional, and quotas have not been used in college admissions since 1978. Proposition 16 will be subject to strict oversight and will be monitored by California’s Department of Justice to ensure it expands opportunity without allowing quotas or discrimination.

FACT: Studies show that income is a faulty basis for policy aimed at ensuring equity.

Even when income levels are equal, Black and Latino families face unique challenges that limit their access to high-quality schools and good-paying jobs. While a Black family and a white family may have the same household income, for example, each has wildly different experiences and circumstances that can affect educational and professional opportunities much more than income.

FACT: Passing Prop 16 will empower California’s Asian American students, business owners, women, and families.

Studies show Asian American students and businesses are better off in states that have equal opportunity policies like affirmative action. Contrary to popular belief, Asian American and Pacific Islander admissions to the University of California fell after the ban on affirmative action went into effect. Meanwhile, universities that practice affirmative action outside of California have seen greater gains in Asian American enrollment.

Passing Prop 16 would also unlock billions of dollars in economic opportunities for Asian American small business owners. Research shows Asian American businesses earn more public contracting dollars in cities where affirmative action is legal, such as Chicago and Atlanta, compared to cities where affirmative action is banned, like San Francisco. That’s why Prop 16 is endorsed by the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, State Treasurer Fiona Ma, State Controller Betty Yee, and dozens of other Asian American community leaders and associations.

FACT: California is missing out on a nation-wide boom among women business owners.

Studies show women-owned businesses create more jobs and have higher revenue growth than average. Fortunately for our economy, in the last five years, the U.S. has seen a dramatic increase in the number of women-owned businesses. But California is missing out on the prosperity that women-owned businesses create. We know women often hire other women as employees and subcontractors creating more opportunities for all Californians, but women-owned businesses only receive 29 cents for every dollar they should from government contracting.

FACT: A few wealthy donors are trying to use race to divide us. If we commit to rejecting their tactics and pushing for a truly equitable future, we can make history by coming together.

For too long, a wealthy few in this country have tried to divide us on race and gender so they can rig the rules to their benefit — and it’s those wealthy few who are opposed to Proposition 16 now. By banning affirmative action years ago, these wealthy few have successfully put a roadblock to equal opportunity in California, keeping the best opportunities for themselves and people who share their backgrounds.

By rejecting division and coming together to demand affirmative action and a level playing field for all Californians, we can make history, and finally deliver on the promise of equal opportunity for all.

FACT: Passing Prop 16 is California’s strong and effective response to the racist policies and rhetoric of the Trump White House.

What matters to Californians is standing up to racism, sexism, and those who use race and gender to divide us. Passing Proposition 16 is our way of saying we don’t have to put up with the hateful rhetoric of Donald Trump and his allies that shows no concern when Black people are shot in our streets, denigrates women and their rights, demonizes Latino immigrants, and incites hate crimes against Asian Americans. This November, we can do something about it. One powerful step is passing Proposition 16 and restoring affirmative action so we can stand up to Trump and everything he stands for by starting to dismantle structural racism and sexism.


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Paid for by Yes on 16, Opportunity for All Coalition, sponsored by civil rights organizations Committee major funding from M. Quinn Delaney, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and the Hospitals, Open Society Policy Center

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