Orange County Rally Aims to Keep State Ban on Racial Preferences

Orange County Rally Aims to Keep State Ban on Racial Preferences

Several dozen Orange County residents rally against an attempt to amend California's 27-year-old ban on affirmative action and racial preferences in public policies, outside Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris's office to protest in Irvine, Calif., on April 13, 2024. (Mei Lee/The Epoch Times)

Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

4/25/2024

Updated: 4/25/2024

Orange County residents rallied this month against an attempt to amend the state’s 27-year-old ban on affirmative action and racial preferences in public policies.
Several dozen residents gathered April 13 outside Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris’s office in Irvine to protest.
Ms. Petrie-Norris is a vocal supporter of Assembly Constitutional Amendment 7 (ACA 7), which would alter Proposition 209, a 1996 measure that banned racial discrimination and racial preferences in public education, employment, contracting, and more.
ACA 7 “focuses on enabling evidence-based, culturally specific programs to reduce disparities among specific groups, including marginalized genders and sexual orientations,” according to a press release by Assemblyman Corey Jackson, who introduced the measure.
In the press release, Mr. Jackson called the bill a “bold step toward leveling the playing field and, most importantly, it seeks to dismantle the barriers that have denied marginalized communities the opportunity to have their unique needs recognized and addressed.”
It would allow Gov. Gavin Newsom to issue state funds to public entities to use for “culturally specific programs” to “increase life expectancy, improve educational outcomes, and lift specific ethnic groups and marginalized genders out of poverty,” according to Mr. Jackson’s office.
It comes after the measure Proposition 16, which would have repealed Proposition 209, was defeated by voters in November 2020.
Steve Miller, the former Orange County chair of the nonprofit Californians for Equal Rights, led the opposition against Proposition 16.
At the April 13 rally, he spoke in opposition to ACA 7.
Mr. Miller argued that Prop. 209 upheld the “core American value of equality—that all people should be treated equally by our government, and it should not discriminate between us based on our race or ethnicity.”
“Californians enshrined this core value in our state Constitution at the end of the last century,” he said at the rally. “But four years ago our state Legislature, including our own representative Cottie Petrie-Norris, voted to strip that right entirely from our constitution in a measure they added to the 2020 ballot at the last minute, and at the height of a pandemic.”
Several dozen Orange County residents rally against an attempt to amend California's 27-year-old ban on affirmative action and racial preferences in public policies, outside Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris's office to protest in Irvine, Calif., on April 13, 2024. (Mei Lee/The Epoch Times)

Several dozen Orange County residents rally against an attempt to amend California's 27-year-old ban on affirmative action and racial preferences in public policies, outside Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris's office to protest in Irvine, Calif., on April 13, 2024. (Mei Lee/The Epoch Times)

Now, Mr. Miller said, legislators are attempting to undermine Prop. 209 instead of repealing it.
“Instead of outright repeal, this constitutional amendment would create an almost limitless ‘exception’ to our right to be treated equally,” he said. “Their constitutional amendment is filled with words that sound nice and distract from the core value they are eviscerating.”
Mike, a university student and immigrant from China who attended the rally, said he and his family moved to America for equal opportunities.
“I came here because my family believed that we would have freedom and equal opportunities,” Mike, who gave only his first name, told The Epoch Times. “But ACA 7 ... separates people based on their race and prevents the hardworking students who immigrated here from achieving their dreams and goals.”
ACA 7 is currently pending a hearing in the state Senate Rules Committee.
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Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

Author

Micaela Ricaforte covers education in Southern California for The Epoch Times. In addition to writing, she is passionate about music, books, and coffee.

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