ACA 5 to reinstate affirmative action moves to Appropriations Committee

At the March 10 press conference to announce the filing of ACA 5 to return affirmative action to California are, at the podium, Vincent Pan, co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, and, standing with him, Sen. Steven Bradford, Board of Equalization Chair Malia Cohen and Sen. Holly Mitchell.

Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber’s bill reinstating affirmative action in California clears critical first hurdle

by Nick Day

Sacramento – The Opportunity for All Coalition supporting ACA 5, Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber’s bill to allow voters an opportunity to restore affirmative action and equal opportunity in California, applauds the bipartisan approval of the bill by the Assembly’s Public Employment and Retirement Committee. ACA 5 will now be referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Eva Paterson, co-chair of the Opportunity for All Coalition, celebrated the victory, saying: “This vote today is a historic step for California. It is critical that ACA 5, restoring equal opportunity for all our communities, is part of the discussion as we consider how we are going to keep Californians safe and stable through the COVID-19 crisis.” 

She continued, “This fight is far from over, however, as we have more legislative hurdles yet to go. Passage of ACA 5 gives voters an opportunity to build a stronger future for our state.” 

“. . . today’s victory is a testament to the power of our unified voice speaking as one . . .”

The committee’s approval means ACA 5 is one step closer to giving voters the opportunity to consider race and gender in public education, contracting and hiring decisions, by undoing the disastrous Proposition 209. This is especially critical as California considers how to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, which is severely impacting the health and economic futures of California’s women and people of color.

ACA 5 has been endorsed by over 250 organizations and leaders from across California, including ACLU of California, AFSCME Local 3299, Equal Justice Society, California Black Chamber of Commerce, California Federation of Teachers, California National Organization for Women, California-Hawaii State Conference NAACP, Chinese for Affirmative Action, Equal Justice Society, The Education Trust – West and the University of California Student Association. 

It is also endorsed by California State Board of Equalization Member Malia Cohen, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs and many more. Additionally, a public petition received over 2,700 signatures from Californians. There were no letters submitted in opposition to ACA 5. 

“Our coalition is made up of community leaders, equity advocates and elected officials from across California, and today’s victory is a testament to the power of our unified voice speaking as one,” said Vincent Pan, co-chair of the Opportunity for All Coalition. “Californians from a wide range of communities – African-Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans, women, business leaders, students, educators and more – know that restoring affirmative action and equal opportunity programs is critical for building a stronger California as we fight the impacts of COVID-19.” 

ACA 5 is a historic opportunity for California to join 42 U.S. states in utilizing affirmative action and equal opportunity programs to positively impact the health, well-being, education and economic mobility of women and communities of color. 

ACA 5 is co-authored by Assemblymembers Burke, Cooper, Gonzalez, Holden, Jones-Sawyer, Kamlager, McCarty and Mark Stone and Sens. Bradford and Mitchell. ACA 5 is supported by the leading civil rights organizations, labor groups, business leaders and community advocates across California. 

For more information about the Opportunity for All Coalition behind ACA 5, visit https://opportunity4all.org.

Journalist Nick Day can be reached at nick@50p1.com.