08.10.2020

Central Valley Leaders Supporting Prop 16 Virtual Press Conference

Central Valley Leaders Supporting Prop 16 Virtual Press Conference

by Contributing Writer, Cheryl Howard

Valley leaders convened on August 6 for a virtual press conference in their support of Prop 16.  The November ballots will yield this new proposition.  Conference Moderator, Sarah Palacios, Yes on Prop 16 Deputy Political Director, facilitated the discussion with the prominent leaders.  In attendance for the conference were, Assemblyman Juaquin Arambula; Kaya Herron, Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce; Lange Luntao, Stockton Unified School District Board of Trustees; and Michael Tubbs, City of Stockton Mayor.  Prop 16 was drawn up as a repeal to Proposition 209, an initiative passed in 1996 that banned affirmative action.  These two initiatives have wrought much controversy.  The language of each initiative is almost identical, but many will argue that there is an unseen deception in the application of Prop 209. 

People of color pursue higher education and are highly qualified and upon graduation are able to compete for substantial positions in the job market.  However, Prop 209 in context supports the wealthy currently in those positions and to the wealthy is seen as a (insignificant) threat to their economic hold placed on the future competitors.  Prop 209 has seemingly placed those qualified in a holding pattern subject to a symbolic padlock on doors of opportunity.

We posed the question “What interest, do you believe, that entities or persons in opposition to the repeal have in halting Prop 16?”  While the panel couldn’t speak directly to the opposition's interests or motives, a representative from the campaign responded “Too often, the wealthiest few fuel divisions based on what we look like or where we come from while they benefit from shutting the rest of us out from workplaces and university faculties.”  Prop 209 is deceptive in content and hides behind its claim to be a civil rights initiative.

Prop 16 is meant to right the wrongs done by Prop 209. Kaya Herron spoke expressly about the negative impact this measure has wrought.  “Prop 209 certainly negatively impacted people of color throughout the state of California, but specifically Black people.  When you look at public sector employment, which is stable and critically important in closing the Black-White wealth gap, since Prop 209 passed, we have seen a decrease in hiring and retention of Black employees.  The same can be said for education in both the number of Black teachers and administrators.  There are not enough Black people in these positions and that is because equal access to opportunities were eliminated under Prop 209.  For California to move forward and close these gaps, we must provide opportunities for all by passing Prop. 16 in November.” stated Herron.  Notwithstanding in the wake of Prop 209, the constitutional amendment Prop 16 that is intended to repeal it, will undue the stagnation it has caused for nearly two decades.

Learn more about why Vote Yes on Prop 16 at: https://voteyeson

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Cheryl Denice HowardCheryl Denice Howard is a freelance writer and in her short career has successfully written three stageplays, was editor and creator of three community newsletters, and while in college had more than 30 articles published. Her favorite genre of writing is Opinion. She won an award for opinion writing, and it was well deserved. She is currently working on her first screenplay while pursuing a Bachelor degree in Journalism with a Minor in Creative Writing.