Three reasons to vote for racial and gender equality.
In 1996, Proposition 209 took a wrecking ball to fairness and equality, also known as affirmative action, in California. This terrible, misguided law banned the consideration of race, gender, or ethnicity in public university admissions, hiring, and public contracting.
Without a concrete tool to remove barriers to systems that are biased against people of color and women, access to top universities, lucrative jobs, and state government contracts can be limited or thwarted altogether. Preferences by affluent and well-connected people favor people like themselves, generally representing an "old boy network" that perpetuates a lack of diversity and fairness.
By voting Yes on Proposition 16, we can start to change systems that foster racial and gender inequality.
Here's what you need to know about why you should support Proposition 16:
* Because of Proposition 209, enrollments of Black, Latinx, and Indigenous students at California public universities plunged. Proposition 16 would allow public institutions of higher learning to consider race and gender once again as one of several factors in a holistic admissions process. A diverse student body benefits everyone.
* Because of Proposition 209, businesses owned by people of color and women have lost out on more than $1 billion annually in public contracts. Proposition 16 would help people of color and women-owned businesses get access to the multi-billion state procurement system that they have been shut out of because of discrimination.
* Women in California earn less than 80 cents on every dollar compared to white men. It's 60 cents for Black women. Proposition 16 will help end wage discrimination and ensure that women – especially women of color – have access to promotions and leadership positions in public hiring.
Prop 16 is our chance to fight racial and gender discrimination. That's why we should all vote YES and be a part of the movement for equality.
Executive Director, ACLU of Northern California
P.S. – See all of our ACLU of Northern California endorsements <[link removed]>.