2020 exposed the massive inequalities that plague our country. From the COVID-19 pandemic to police brutality, to unemployment rates disproportionately affecting women and communities of color, America is facing a reckoning over racial, gender, and economic injustice. And although we can’t control the way our federal government chooses to address this moment, California voters have a unique opportunity to ensure equal opportunity for all.
For more than 20 years, the state of California banned affirmative action programs in admission and hiring decisions at California’s colleges, universities and other public entities, which has been used to promote racial discrimination, while also undermining equal opportunities and access for women as well. Voting YES on Proposition 16 would repeal this backward law and put California on a fair and just path.
It’s simple: We can’t have economic justice without racial and gender equality. That’s why the California labor movement strongly supports Prop 16.
Amid the wave of activism over racial injustice and gender inequality, California knows exactly how race and gender discrimination stifles the opportunities afforded to marginalized communities.
Women and people of color are paid less, given fewer chances to access higher education, and are denied the same job opportunities as white men. Women in California still earn only 80 cents for every dollar a white man earns, and for women of color, the economic and educational gap is significantly wider. Wage discrimination hurts working families, and we can start to fix it by voting for Prop. 16.
We may take pride in having one of the best state university systems in the world, but it is not reflective of our diversity. The UC Board of Regents have revealed Latino and Black students are extremely underrepresented. And the CSU claimed the ban on affirmative action has had “a negative impact on access to higher education, as well as retention and degree completion for historically underserved students in California, particularly those from the African-American community.”
And don’t be fooled by the right-wing propaganda pushed by wealthy donors who only want to divide us. The ban on affirmative action has put up barriers to equal opportunity in California for almost 24 years, ensuring that women and people of color miss out on good jobs and a high-quality education.
Ultimately, California is living in the past when it comes to creating a diverse educational and workplace environment. In fact, it is one of the only states in the US that does not take gender, race, and ethnicity into account when making decisions about state contracts, hiring and education!
It’s time we bring California into the 21st century and create an equitable future that reflects our diversity and values. Reinstating affirmative action would level the playing field, create diverse institutions, and help close the gender, racial and ethnic achievement gap in California.
California voters have the opportunity to stand up to racism, sexism, and the hateful rhetoric spewed by Trump, by giving women and people of color a fair opportunity to get ahead in their education and careers.
Racial justice and gender equality are on the ballot. Make sure you vote Yes on Prop 16.
Learn more at https://voteyesonprop16.org/