The Leadership Conference is working diligently to see that Tom Perez is confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Perez is an eminently qualified public servant and consensus builder who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and have the opportunity to succeed. He has served with integrity and distinction at the local, state and national level, compiling an outstanding record of achievement.
Campaign to Defeat Michigan's Proposed Affirmative Action Ban Kicked into High Gear
Feature Story by Michael Harmon - 11/6/2006With just a day before the hotly contested midterm elections on November 7th, the coalition to defeat Michigan's proposed ban on affirmative action has kicked its campaign into high gear with its final GOTV efforts. All of this comes after it was revealed by the Detroit News that Ward Connerly and Proposal 2 supporters were accepting support from the KKK.
Using a barrage of paid television and radio advertising, rallies and panels, and sweeping grassroots canvassing, One United Michigan continues to educate voters about the consequences of Proposal 2, which would eliminate affirmative action and equal opportunity initiatives in public contracting, education, and employment in the state.
Television ads have been running for the last couple of weeks. At the end of last week, Michigan women were interviewed as part of a woman's tour over twenty radio interviews by radio stations in key cities, including Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Holland, Hancock, Hillsdale, Iron Mountain, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Petoskey, Saginaw, Sturgis and Traverse City.
One United Michigan, a diverse coalition of more than 200 mainstream Michigan organizations representing women's groups, educators, business groups, racial and ethnic minority groups, and labor, recently received added support from some of Michigan's famous collegiate coaches including, Tom Izzo (head coach of Men's basketball for Michigan State University), Tommy Ammaker (head coach of Men's basketball for the University of Michigan), and Lloyd Carr (head coach of Men's football for the University of Michigan).
"Everyone knows I'm not political," said Tom Izzo, head coach for Michigan State University's basketball team. "But this year I'm going to tell you how I'm going to vote on one issue. If someone asks me about Proposal 2, I'm going to say 'It's bad for you.' I know what it takes to build a team, and that is diversity," he added.
"We need all kinds of players on our team, and we need all kinds of students on our campus if we are going to be successful in building the Michigan of tomorrow," added Izzo.
Law enforcement also spoke about the importance of affirmative action in their arena. Lansing Police Chief Mark Alley said it is vital that police departments look like the communities they serve. "Having racial and gender diversity in a department enhances community relations, enables departments to have better relations with the law abiding citizens in a community and gives officers a better chance at resolving problems and solving crimes effectively," he said.
"Thirty years ago there were few women in law enforcement. We have made progress, but there is still much work to do," said Kay Hoffman, Lansing Township chief of police and president of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police. "Until women had a say, domestic violence was ignored by our society. Having women in police departments ensures law enforcement serves women as well as men."
Racial and gender disparities in Michigan are clear. In Michigan, the median family income for white families is $56,320; for Hispanic families, it is $41,252; for African-American families it is $35,536, according to the 2000 Census. And Michigan women earn only 67 cents for every dollar men earn--10 cents below the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Proposal 2 is sponsored by former California businessman Ward Connerly. Connerly sponsored similar initiatives to ban affirmative action in California (Prop. 209) and Washington (Initiative-200) - states that have since seen dramatic declines in minority participation in state contracting and in admissions to the state university systems.