The Opportunity for All Coalition today announced that U.S. Representative Ro Khanna (CA-17) has endorsed ACA 5, Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber’s (D – San Diego) bill that would allow voters to reinstate affirmative action and equal opportunity programs across California.
Representative Khanna said, “As a proud member of the AAPI community, I wholeheartedly endorse ACA 5 — because every single Californian stands to benefit from affirmative action and equal opportunity programs, programs that have never been more critical than they are today.”
He continued, “Make no mistake: Proposition 209 was authored by Wall-Street-backed interests who felt threatened by an increasingly diverse California, so they put a thumb on the scale for their own businesses. This hurt countless California communities — very much including my AAPI community. Our enrollment in the UC system has suffered; our ability to build strong businesses has been hamstrung; and our ability to secure good-paying jobs has been undercut. Anyone who says anything different is misrepresenting the facts — because AAPI Californians will benefit from ACA 5, period.”
He continued, “COVID-19 has revealed the deep inequality in our state — as African-Americans are twice as likely to die from the virus than whites, and Latinos are losing jobs at a shocking rate. The public health and economic impacts from this virus are felt first, and most, by California’s women and communities of color. ACA 5 will help on a wide range of fronts: by improving job opportunities, investing in businesses owned by women and people of color, improving healthcare access and health outcomes, and ensuring every student — no matter who they are — can reach their highest potential.”
“Lastly,” Rep. Khanna stated, “a generation has passed since Proposition 209 became law in 1996. ACA 5 will give millions of Californians their first opportunity to raise their voice and demand equal opportunity. I’m proud to support this bill, and I will do everything I can to ensure it passes the Legislature and becomes law with a win on Election Day.”
Representative Khanna joins a wide array of AAPI leaders, organizations, and advocates in support of ACA 5. They include: San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee, San Francisco Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, San Francisco Supervisor Gordon Mar, San Francisco Supervisor Ahsha Safaí, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, Chinese American Progressive Action, and Chinese for Affirmative Action.
“Representative Khanna is one of the most dynamic leaders in Congress, and one of the most forceful voices for progress and equality. We are enormously proud to have his support,” said Opportunity for All Coalition Co-Chairs Eva Paterson and Vincent Pan. “Our statewide coalition of AAPI advocates is constantly expanding because history, facts, and analysis do not lie. Proposition 209 hurt every Californian except the rich white men who wrote the bill. ACA 5 gives us an opportunity to restore equal opportunity for every California community — including AAPI Californians, who have been hit hard by COVID-19’s public health and economic impacts, and uniquely hard by the bigotry and violence surrounding the virus.”
They continued, “The fact is, ACA 5 is for all of us — Black and Latino folks, business owners, students, those in search of their first job, and those who are ready to change careers and dream bigger. Every woman and person of color who calls California home will benefit from this historic investment in equal opportunity.”
“We have an opportunity to make history for every California community as we envision a stronger California after COVID-19,” they said. “With Congressman Khanna, our dynamic AAPI supporters, and the rest of our diverse coalition, we will pass this legislation, and give Californians a chance to vote on affirmative action in November.”
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 was introduced by Assemblymembers Dr. Shirley Weber and Mike Gipson; it is co-authored by Assemblymembers Burke, Cooper, Gonzalez, Holden, Jones-Sawyer, Kamlager, McCarty, and Mark Stone, and Senators Bradford and Mitchell. ACA 5 is supported by the leading civil rights organizations, labor groups and business leaders across California including Equal Justice Society, the California Black Chamber of Commerce, Chinese for Affirmative Action, ACLU of California and scores of other community advocates.
For more information about the Opportunity for All Coalition behind ACA 5, visit https://opportunity4all.org.