California Voters Overwhelmingly Reject Ward Connerly's Ban on Race Data Collection

October 15, 2003 12:00 am

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SAN FRANCISCO – The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California today hailed the news that California voters overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 54–Ward Connerly’s latest race initiative by a margin of 64 percent to 36 percent. The constitutional amendment, if passed, would have banned most agencies from collecting data on race, ethnicity and national origin, with disastrous consequences for health, education public safety and civil rights.

“”California voters have said no to Ward Connerly’s wishful thinking by recognizing that we are not a colorblind society,”” said Dorothy Ehrlich, Executive Director of the ACLU of Northern California. “”Proposition 54 was a misguided attempt to pretend that race no longer matters. If passed, it would have had a profound impact on the states ability to monitor the racial and social structure of our society.”

Proposition 54 was opposed by a wide-range of health organizations, educators, law enforcement and civil rights groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Cancer Society, ACLU, American Public Health Association, California League of Women Voters, California Teachers Association, Kaiser Permanente, SEIU, and the University of California Board of Regents.

“”This victory demonstrates the power and promise of coalition-building in California’s diverse social landscape,”” said Maya Harris, Director of the Racial Justice Project at the ACLU of Northern California. “”Nearly five million voters beat back this initiative because they saw themselves reflected in the broad mix of doctors, nurses, teachers, law enforcement, civil rights advocates, and working men and women who came together to oppose Prop 54.””

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