Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber (D–San Diego) and a broad coalition of colleagues and business leaders on March 10 announced ACA 5, which would initiate a ballot initiative to officially repeal Proposition 209, California’s ban on affirmative action.
Media coverage as of March 12 (updated):
– San Francisco Chronicle: “California’s affirmative action ban, Proposition 209, targeted for repeal”
– San Francisco Bay View: “Black Caucus introduces bill to overturn Prop 209”
– The Sacramento Observer: “Black Caucus Introduces Bill to Overturn Prop 209”
– Davis Vanguard: “Newly-Announced Bill Seeks to Repeal the Proposition Preventing Affirmative Action”
– Politico (subscription required): “Weber proposes repeal of Proposition 209″
Photos from the press conference:
– Album on Facebook
An antiquated law passed under Republican Governor Pete Wilson, Proposition 209 has prevented equal opportunity programs in public contracting, public employment and public education.
“This is a historic moment for California that has come not a moment too soon,” said Eva Paterson, President of the Equal Justice Society. “California is one of just eight states that bars public programs that level the playing field for women and people of color in public contracting, public employment and public education. It’s time for us to join the rest of the nation, deliver on our promise of equal opportunity for all, renounce discrimination in all forms, and repeal Proposition 209.”
At podium: Assemblymember Shirley Weber, author of ACA 5
As reported in The San Francisco Chronicle, the ban on equal opportunity programs has made it difficult for women- and minority-owned businesses to compete with big businesses despite having equal qualifications.
At podium: Small business owner Dr. Renee Fraser of Fraser Communications in Los Angeles
“Since becoming law in 1996, Proposition 209 has cost women- and minority-owned businesses $1.1 billion each year,” said Assemblymember Weber. “It has perpetuated a wage gap wherein women make 80 cents on every dollar made by men and has allowed discriminatory hiring and contracting processes to continue unhindered.”
At podium: Vincent Pan, Co-Executive Director of Chinese for Affirmative Action
“In contracting, small business owners don’t get the same fair shot because of Prop 209,” said Vincent Pan, Co-Executive Director of 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.”
Front left: Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, ACA 5 supporter
ACA 5 is authored by Assemblymember Shirley Weber and Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson, and co-authored by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr., Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager, and Senator Holly Mitchell. ACA 5 is supported by a broad multiracial coalition of civil rights organizations across California including the Equal Justice Society, the California Black Chamber of Commerce, Chinese for Affirmative Action, EdTrust West, and scores of community-based organizations.
More information about the Opportunity for All Coalition, the group of advocates supporting ACA 5, is available at http://www.repeal209.org.
Bayard Fong (left) of the Asian American Contractors Association and a college student supporter