Voters in The Golden State will soon decide whether to allow affirmative action in public hiring, contracting, and college admissions.
Betty Chu, honorary co-chair of Californians for Equal Rights, says her organization wants people to reject state-sanctioned discrimination by rejecting Proposition 16.
"Prop 16 is a statewide initiative put on by the Democratic supermajority control in California to invalidate the constitutional rights that each Californian has under Prop 209, which was passed in 1996," Chu tells OneNewsNow. "Prop 209 prohibited racial and sex discrimination in public education, in public employment, and public contracting. Now, Prop 16 is to bring back what some people call affirmative action or the quota system."
Chu believes this is "the most dangerous proposition on the California ballot" in November.
"It brings back the government right to discriminate or to give preferences based upon race, sex, national origin."
Katherine Squire, a student at UC Berkely, tells the Associated Press that she supports Proposition 16.
"I'm a minority and a woman, and so I'm already at a disadvantage, and I feel like if Prop 16 were to pass, then that would give people in my position that extra help to really get a place in this world," says Squire. "There are always certain obstacles associated with different races and ethnicities, and I think that's probably the current problem in our admissions process right now, is that colleges don't really see those obstacles."
Not all students agree with Squire.
"If Prop 16 were to be passed, then it would be so much harder for us Asians to get admitted into the colleges," says high school senior Justin Wang. "We would have to work so much harder to get the same results."
Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) tells the Associated Press the state has been hampered from addressing "some of the inequities that are there."
Everybody is not equal in terms of opportunity and preparation," she says.
Kali Fontanilla, an educator who opposes Prop 16, believes legislators and citizens would do better to focus on "the root of the problem, which is our K-12 education."
"Focus on that rather than trying to do this top-down, lower the standards for certain colors, certain sexes," Fontanilla tells Associated Press.