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.
'Citizens for a United Michigan' Gears Up to Fight Proposed Connerly Initiative
Feature Story by Ritu Kelotra - 12/9/2003A broad coalition – including Michigan's largest corporations and groups such as United Auto Workers, the Michigan Catholic Conference, the NAACP, and Detroit Renaissance – have begun to coordinate efforts to stop University of California Regent Ward Connerly from attempting to ban affirmative action programs in the state. The proposed ban, which could be before voters as a November 2004 ballot initiative, would apply to all colleges, school districts, and state and local governments.
Connerly's proposal comes just six months after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of affirmative action programs in higher education, ruling that racial diversity was a compelling state interest. The landmark decision was reached in Grutter v. Bollinger, which upheld the University of Michigan Law School's admissions policy.
Under the title "Citizens for a United Michigan," the diverse coalition of businesses, labor, and community groups plans to educate the public about the negative consequences of Connerly's proposed ban.
"We want to educate the public why they should not sign petitions," said Gen. Michael Rice, spokesperson for Citizens for a United Michigan. "And if it becomes a ballot proposal, we'll educate the public why they should not vote for this."
Other groups aligned with Citizens for a United Michigan in their efforts to block an anti-affirmative action initiative include the Michigan Education Association, the Michigan PTA, the American Association of University Women, and students from the University of Michigan and across the state.
A businessman based in California, Connerly needs more than 300,000 valid signatures by July 6, 2004, in order to have the issue approved for the November ballot. The Michigan Board of State Canvassers is expected to consider the petition language this week.