Civil Rights Leaders Declare Victory Against Ward Connerly’s Anti-Affirmative Action Ballot Initiative Campaign

Media 06.16,04

“Today’s announcement by Ward Connerly and his supporters that they are postponing their campaign to enact an anti-affirmative action ballot initiative in Michigan is an important victory,” said Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition.

“The decision to postpone Ward Connerly’s misguided petition drive is another sign that he recognizes Michigan is an uphill fight when it comes to his effort to subvert public support for equal opportunity for women and minorities. The bipartisan, statewide effort to end Connerly’s campaign means that Michigan’s citizens will continue to benefit from affirmative action policies that increase access to equal opportunity in higher education and employment in the state. Delaying Connerly’s campaign for two years provides our allies, Citizens for a United Michigan, with a terrific opportunity to continue to further unite Michigan in opposition against Connerly’s divisive effort to roll back programs that promote equal opportunity through affirmative action policies,” continued Henderson.

While today’s decision by Connerly applies to the 2004 campaign, his forces in the state have said that they intend to push for another petition drive to qualify a similar initiative in 2006. To counter their efforts, the civil rights community must and will continue its firm opposition to Connerly’s campaign to roll back affirmative action in the state.

Connerly’s efforts are opposed by Citizens for a United Michigan, a broad, bipartisan coalition of organizations and individuals, including Detroit Renaissance, ADC Michigan, ACCESS, NAACP, Michigan Catholic Conference, ACLU, Michigan Federation of Teachers, American Association of University Women, National Council of Jewish Women, YWCA, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, and many others. Although called the “Michigan Civil Rights Initiative,” the effort is aimed to ban affirmative action programs in public hiring, contracting, and admissions to public colleges and universities. For more information on the initiative and Ward Connerly, visit