Here’s the latest email on the Civil Rights Initiative –
Plans for Anti-Preferences Campaign Announced
The Arizona Civil Rights Initiative is forging ahead with plans for a November, 2008 ballot measure banning government-sponsored race and gender preferences in the state. The Arizona Civil Rights Initiative will be part of a ‘Super Tuesday for Equal Rights’ campaign that will offer citizens of several states the chance to end such practices in public employment, public education, and public contracting. Similar measures have already passed in three other states, all by overwhelming margins.
Clint Bolick, co-founder and former litigator for the Institute of Justice and currently Director of the Goldwater Institute for Constitutional Litigation, said it’s time for Arizona to stop increasing the number of people who are given preferences because of their race. “The courts have repeatedly struck down laws promoting racial preferences for violating the Constitution,” said Bolick, who has successfully litigated on behalf of many minority clients hampered by unconstitutional government regulations. “We need to move beyond the ideological partisanship that has extended racial preferences into the 21st century. Racial preferences don’t work, and harm the very people claimed to benefit from them.” Bolick has agreed to be the Arizona legal advisor.
Andrew Thomas, Maricopa County Attorney, will serve as the honorary chair of the effort. Thomas said, “I am pleased to join in this effort to bring about a colorblind society and equality under law. This vision of civil rights is grounded in our Constitution and informed by our experience as a nation.”
Also attending the press conference will be Ward Connerly, chairman of the Sacramento-based American Civil Rights Institute and longtime crusader for a colorblind America, who has been invited by the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative to help with the campaign. “Getting our nation to the point of applying a single standard to all Americans is one of the most crucial issues of our time,” says Connerly, who helped lead the earlier successful anti-preferences campaigns in California, Washington state and, most recently, Michigan.
“If events of the past couple of weeks have taught us anything at all, it is that race will continue to divide our nation as long as we insist on treating people differently based on ethnicity and gender. Both Don Imus, in his appalling comments on the Rutgers women’s basketball team, and those who rushed to judgment in the Duke lacrosse case made the same mistake: they looked at individuals and saw only skin color.”
Connerly continued, “We have to get past that kind of thinking – and we must start by getting our government out of the business of privileging some citizens over others. Real lives are radically affected, and great social and economic is done when decisions are made about individuals based on the color of their skin or the origin of their ancestors.”
The operative clause of the proposed ballot initiative reads as follows: “The state shall not discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting.”
Director of State & Local Initiatives
American Civil Rights Coalition