Law & Policy: Equal Opportunity

EJS has long been engaged in efforts to promote equal opportunity for women and people of color, both locally and across the country.  Dating back to Ward Connerly’s 1996 campaign to abolish affirmative action in California, EJS President Eva Paterson has been an outspoken proponent of affirmative action and the continued need for race and gender conscious policies.

In 2003, EJS helped lead the successful campaign to oppose Connerly’s “Racial Privacy” initiative, which would have eliminated the collection of data tracking race and ethnicity.  More recently, leading up to the November 2008 elections, EJS was part of a national coalition of organizations working to oppose anti-affirmative action initiatives in five states.  Through organizing, public education, and novel legal strategies, these collective efforts prevented the initiatives from passing in 4 out of 5 states.

Currently, EJS participates in various coalitions working to advance equal opportunity and protect race and gender conscious laws and policies.  Additionally, EJS plays a leadership role in facilitating the Impact 209 Coalition, and convening a national Race Conscious Framing Group.  See below for further information.

Impact 209: The California Coalition to Analyze the Impact of Proposition 209 (“Impact 209”) is a broad-based coalition of advocates, organizations, academics, scholars and students formed to initiate analysis on the statewide educational and economic harms resulting from the passage of Proposition 209 in 1996.  The goal of the Coalition is to cultivate a statewide infrastructure that: 1) develops a keen understanding of the ten-year impact of Prop 209; 2) positions itself to propose policy alternatives to mitigate the negative impacts of Prop 209; and 3) conducts strategic organizing, education, outreach and research towards an ultimate repeal of Prop 209.  EJS is a leading member of the Coalition’s Executive Committee.  Other coalition members include the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights, the ACLU of Northern CA, the Insight Center, the Greenlining Institute and the Thelton Henderson Center for Social Justice at Berkeley Law School.

National Race Conscious Framing Group: In partnership with the Fulfilling the Dream Fund, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and the Center for Social Inclusion, EJS facilitates a national “Race Conscious Framing Group” working to advance a national, proactive agenda around equal opportunity.  This group initially came together in the fall of 2008 to educate the public about the harms of prospective anti-affirmative action ballot initiatives, and to support the state-based campaigns to defeat them.  Since the 2008 elections, the group has continued working together to identify opportunities for information sharing, collaboration and proactive engagement to advance equal opportunity.  In 2010, the Race Conscious Framing Group hopes to identify options not just to preserve, but also to expand equal opportunity, and to support local and national efforts to implement race and gender conscious laws and policies.

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