Civil Rights Groups Urge California Voters to Reinstate Affirmative Action in Higher Ed

Contact: Charmaine Riley, [email protected], 202.548.7166

WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and more than 70 civil rights and education organizations today wrote in support of California’s Proposition 16, which would reinstate affirmative action in public higher education and afford all Californians equal opportunity to fully participate in society. Prop. 16 would repeal Prop. 209, the 1996 ban on affirmative action, and provide an opportunity to rectify years of discrimination against women and people of color in higher education.

“Higher education still remains the surest path to social and economic mobility, which is why it is critically important for communities that have historically been excluded from these opportunities to be fully and affirmatively included. Without full inclusion in higher education opportunities, people of color are being locked out from fully participating in the economy,” the groups wrote.

They added, “Now, more than ever, it is important for California to lead the country in ensuring fair access to public higher education. Proposition 209, California’s ban on affirmative action, ended up being unfortunately replicated in eight other states. Prop. 16 is the chance to reverse that trend. While we are a nation of states, California’s influence on the rest of the country is difficult to overstate, and California must seize this opportunity to show how great the benefits can be when a state chooses to embrace its diversity and be inclusive of all its residents.”

The full letter and list of signatories are available here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit