Opportunity for All Summit Highlights Affirmative Action, White Allies, and more!

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Affirmative action has had a controversial history in California. Despite various attempts to overturn the ban enacted by Proposition 209, none have succeeded. This November, Californian’s will have the opportunity to overturn this harmful ban through Proposition 16, a measure that the Bay Area Council has endorsed. The Opportunity for All Summit presented by Kaiser Permanente included a great line up and inspiring conversations centered around this monumental moment in affirmative action history.

The first panel, “Affirmative Action in California,” included Assemblymember Shirley Weber, author of ACA 5 which went on to become Proposition 16, as well as Professor Lydia Chavez, author of the book “The Color Bind,” which tells the complex history of Proposition 209. Professor Chavez set the stage, explaining how a culture of fear and intentionally misleading language led to California’s ban on affirmative action in the 90’s while Assemblymember Weber provided the behind the scenes look at what it took to put Proposition 16 on the ballot. Both discussed the common misconceptions and what is at stake if Proposition 209 is not overturned.

Nicole Derse and Walter Wilson from the Yes on Prop 16 campaign team provided an update on the status of Proposition 16 including actionable steps for getting involved and a plan for the campaign moving forward.

The final panel, “Standing Up As a White Ally,” was moderated by John Garcia, Vice President, Government Relations of Kaiser Permanente and included Steven Aldrich, Chair of the Oakland Roots, Larry Baer, CEO of the SF Giants and Bay Area Council Executive Committee member, Jared Shawlee, COO of the San Jose Earthquakes, Jed York, CEO of SF 49ers and Co-Chair or the Council’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.  The panelists discussed the long history of activism in athletics, including the Giants own role in raising awareness of HIV during the height of the disease’s toll in San Francisco. The discussion also included the importance of systems change and standing up as an ally even when there is possibility of blow back. Jed York said it best “Words matter, but actions are what’s going to matter the most.” These Bay Area sports teams showed incredible leadership when they made a joint statement in support of Proposition 16 and continue to inspire.

For more information on this or the Council’s work on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion contact Policy Associate, Leslie Alfaro at lalfaro@bayareacouncil.org

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