On November 3rd 2020 vote yes on California Prop 16 because it will allow more diversity in public employment, education, and contracting decisions due to racial and gender bias. This year the covid-19 pandemic and economic crisis has revealed the ugly truth about race and racism in this country. Today people are quite agitated and annoyed at elected officials and institutions using race as an issue to keep people divided.

Historically it was peoples protests and the African American Civil Rights Movement that led to the signing of Executive Order 11246 (Affirmative Action Law) in 1961 by John F. Kennedy that ensured that all applicants are employed, and employees are treated fairly during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin. But in 1996 the victory of Prop 209 overturned the use of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin for education, employment, and public contracting. This proposition was created due to the backlash against the growing population of people of color. Unfortunately twenty four years later in 2020 California is one of nine states that that still bans affirmative action in education and in the workforce. But states with affirmative action give more public contracts to people of color small businesses.

Racism and racist attitudes still exist in 2020 as evident in the opposition to Yes on Prop 16, as well as, police brutality and violence against African Americans. Opponents deny and refute the existence of racism and discrimination as it relates to our country and society. These narrow and short-sighted attitudes will only keep people apart and divided. But recent demonstrations for social equity and justice are strengthening and opponents know social change is coming.

In higher education Latinos make up over half of our state’s public school students but just 25 percent of University of California undergraduate students. The Asian American admission rate at UC Berkeley is currently at 21% down from 30%. And women in California earn less than 80 cents for every dollar white men make – and for women of color and single moms it’s even worse.

Passing Proposition 16 is a seed to begin dismantling structural racism and sexism in our society. We can only hope in the future that all people can be treated equitably and fairly rather than becoming marginalized or disenfranchised people.

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