On Support of California Assembly Constitutional Amendment No.5 (ACA-5)
The rights won by the oppressed people through the struggles are reversed in the name of propositions and court orders. After a long historical struggle and sacrifice, the racially oppressed people in the United States of America won the Civil Rights Act 1964. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act enabled the states to enforce ‘racial quota’, ‘preferential treatment’, ‘equal employment opportunity’ and other measures collectively known as ‘Affirmative Action’ to ensure diversity in educational institutes and employment. ‘Affirmative Action’ is similar to reservations in India as a remedy for the historical and institutionalized discrimination.
California implemented ‘racial quota’ to some extent till 1978. In 1978 the US Supreme court outlawed the fixed ‘racial quota’ system. After 1978, California state followed ‘preferential treatment’ and ‘equal employment opportunity’ that is considering race, sex, or ethnicity in the areas of public employment, public contracting, and public education. There is no fixed racial quota. Proposition 209 (Prop 209) which has been voted in 1996 outlawed even such considerations based on race, sex and ethnicity.
Prop 209 introduced section 31 in Article I in the Constitution of California which reads, “The State shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting”. We, the undersigned organizations, strongly felt that such provision is against the equality in the country where discrimination based on race, sex and ethnicity is institutionalized. ACA5 has given us an opportunity to replace the wrong with the right by repealing Prop 209. ACA5 was passed in the California Assembly on June 10th, 2020 and ordered to the California Senate.
Judge Allison Burroughs in the Students for Fair Admissions vs Harvard case said “… at Harvard and elsewhere that will move us, one day, to the point where we see that race is a fact, but not the defining fact and not the fact that tells us what is important, but we are not yet(bold ours). Until we are, race conscious admissions programs … will have an important place in society and help ensure that colleges and universities can offer a diverse atmosphere that fosters learning, improves scholarship, and encourages mutual respect and understanding”. We believe that the state whose aim is to uphold equality and democracy should use positive discrimination as a means to reach the stage that race doesn’t tell anything else but just mere fact.
At this backdrop, we urge all California State Senators who can hear clear and loud voices of the people in the street that ‘No Justice, No Peace’ in the demonstrations and the protests for racial justice to vote for ACA5. ACA5 is an important step towards such racial justice. Your ‘Ye’ is historical not just in the California state senate but in the future of racial justice throughout the United States of America.
Ambedkar King Study Circle (AKSC)
Coalition of Seattle of Indian-Americans
Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR)
India Civil Watch (ICW)
Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC)
Ambedkar Association of North America (AANA)
Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA)
San Jose Peace and Justice Center (SJPJC)
Date: Jun 23, 2020