Opportunity For All Coalition Celebrates Key Endorsements From Three of California’s Prominent African American Women Leaders

SACRAMENTO — The Opportunity For All Coalition today announced three key endorsements of ACA 5, Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber’s (D – San Diego) bill to let voters reinstate affirmative action programs in California. Congresswoman Karen Bass of Los Angeles, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker have announced their support for ACA 5, joining a robust coalition of elected leaders, community leaders, and equity advocates from across California.

Both Mayor Breed and Representative Bass are history-making, transformational figures. Mayor Breed, who grew up in public housing in San Francisco’s Fillmore neighborhood, rose to become President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and in 2018 was elected as the first female African American Mayor of San Francisco. 

Representative Karen Bass served in the California State Assembly before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. While in the California State Assembly, Rep. Bass became the first African American woman elected to Speaker of a state legislative body — not just in California, but in the history of the United States. She is the current Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and is the first federal elected official to endorse ACA 5. 

Opportunity for All Coalition Co-Chairs Eva Paterson and Vincent Pan celebrated Breed and Bass’ support for ACA 5, saying, “We are incredibly honored to receive the support of Congresswoman Bass and Mayor Breed, two influential elected African American women in the State of California.” They continued, “These leaders are on the forefront of the fight against the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 — and they know that in this moment of uncertainty, we can chart a course not just to restore the California we had before the virus, but to build a stronger California than ever before. They know that to do that, we must deliver equal opportunity for California’s women and communities of color — and the only way to truly do that is by passing ACA 5.” 

Congresswoman Bass enthusiastically endorsed ACA 5, saying, “This bill is a dream come true. Twenty-four years ago we went door to door, neighborhood to neighborhood, precinct to precinct, urging voters to turn out against the deception propagated by advocates of Proposition 209. They called 209 a civil rights initiative. That was a lie. The second it passed, Black enrollment in the UC system plunged and our numbers in these institutions still have yet to recover.” She continued, “Now, thanks to the advocacy of leaders like Assemblymembers Dr. Shirley Weber and Mike Gipson, our state has the opportunity to right this terrible wrong. The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

“I’m fighting every day to keep San Franciscans safe and healthy, and to build a stronger and more resilient City as we emerge from this pandemic,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed. “That’s why I’m proud to support ACA 5, a historic chance for Californians to restore the equal opportunity programs that lift up all Californians — but especially African-Americans, Latinos, and Asian-Americans who have been hit hardest by the pandemic.” 

Congresswoman Bass, Mayor Breed, and City Attorney Parker join a high-profile list of endorsers. They include: San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee, California State Board of Equalization Member Malia Cohen, San Francisco Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, San Francisco Supervisor Gordon Mar, San Francisco Supervisor Ahsha Safaí, Alicia Garza, Black to the Future Action Fund; Angela Glover Blackwell; Dale Minami, Minami Tamaki LLP; Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley Law School; Eva Paterson, President and Co-Founder of Equal Justice Society; Guillermo Mayer; Author Jeff Chang; BART Board President Lateefah Simon; Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs; former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor and former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg; and Vincent Pan, Co-Executive Director of Chinese for Affirmative Action.

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.


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