prop 16 defeat

File photo of students hoping for a repeal of California's Proposition 209 hold signs as they protest outside of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Feb. 13, 2012 in San Francisco, California. This year, Proposition16, which called for allowing diversity to be a factor in public employment, education and contracting decision, was defeated in the Nov. 3 election in California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Asian American Coalition for Education in New Jersey and the Asian Americans Advancing Justice in California have both praised the defeat of Proposition 16 in the West Coast state in the Nov. 3 election.

Prop 16 called for allowing diversity to be a factor in public employment, education and contracting decisions.

If passed, it would have permitted government decision-making policies to consider race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in order to address diversity by repealing constitutional provision prohibiting such policies.

“AACE applauds Californian voters’ forceful rejection of racially discriminatory Proposition 16, and calls it a great and historic milestone in Asian Americans’ fight for equal education rights in America,” the coalition said in a news release.

Proposition 16 is a politically motivated attempt to restore racial discrimination and racial quotas in public education, public employment and government contracting by repealing California’s constitutional principal of equal treatment for all, AACE added.

Fast-tracked throughout the California Legislature in May and June of 2020, proponents of Proposition 16 obtained over $22 million in funding from various special interest groups and rallied support from an overwhelming number of liberal politicians, it said.

These politicians are eager to cover their failures in improving K-12 education for millions of Black and Hispanic children in California, it added.

Faced with such grave challenges, defenders of equal rights and meritocracy formed an effective and broad-based alliance under the name “Californians For Equal Rights.”

As a national organization fighting for Asian Americans’ (and, of course, Indian Americans’) equal education rights, AACE has consistently supported Californians’ fight against ACA 5/Proposition 16, the release said.

“Going forward, I’d like to warn liberal politicians in California and nationwide: focus your efforts on devising effective measures to improve K-12 education for black and Hispanic children, instead of introducing racially divisive and discriminatory laws time and again,” AACE president Yukong Zhao said. “The resounding rejection of Proposition 16 demonstrates again that we are on the right side of the history.”

“You have failed in California in 2014, as well as Washington State and New York City in 2019. Asian Americans will fight fiercely and defeat your racist policies wherever and whenever tried,” he said. 

Meanwhile, AAAJ in California noted: "Although Proposition 16 has failed to pass, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-California is more determined than ever to fight against the systemic racism and inequalities faced by Black, Latinx, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities.”

“The ban on affirmative action in California has been devastating for all communities of color, including for Asian American subgroups. The reality is that racism and sexism continue to warp and restrict educational and economic opportunities for people of color and women,” the AAAJ statement continued.

“We need to acknowledge that reality in order to fairly evaluate an applicant’s accomplishments and contributions, ensure equal access to publicly-funded opportunities and institutions, and effectively address underlying social inequalities,” it said. “Our race and gender are also inextricable parts of who we are, our life experience, and what we bring to the table. We will continue to fight for equal access and opportunity for all of our communities." 


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