Joint Solidarity Statement :
YES on CALIFORNIA PROP-16 from Ambedkarites and Progressive Indian-American Organizations
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. The Title VII of the Civil Rights Act enabled the states to enforce preferential treatment, equal employment opportunity and other measures collectively known as Affirmative Action to ensure diversity in educational institutes and employment. The Affirmative Action is similar, though NOT same, 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-quota system in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978) case. 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. The Proposition 209 which has been voted in 1996 outlawed even such considerations based on race, sex and ethnicity.
The 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 the discriminations are based on race, sex and ethnicity is institutionalized. Prop-16 has given us an opportunity to replace the wrong with the right by repealing Prop 209.
India faced a very crisis in 1951 when the so-called upper-caste people challenged that the reservation (affirmative action) violates the fundamental constitutional rights in a lawsuit i.e. State of Madras vs Champakam Dorairajan. India passed the first amendment in 1951 to uphold social justice which reads, “In order that any special provision that the State may make for the educational, economic or social advancement of any backward class of citizens may not be challenged on the ground of being discriminatory“.
At this backdrop, we urge and request the Indian-American community and the rest of American public to VOTE ‘YES’ on PROP-16 as it is an important step towards social justice.
Jointly Issued by
Ambedkar King Study Circle (AKSC)
Boston Coalition (BC)
Boston Study Group (BSG)
Coalition of Seattle of Indian-Americans (CSIA)
Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR)
Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC)
Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus (Sadhana)
Boston South Asian Coalition (BSAC)
Coalition Against Fascism in India (CAFI)