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.
Michigan Anti-Affirmative Action Ballot Language Approved
Feature Story by Tyler Lewis - 1/25/2006Supporters of affirmative action in Michigan are stepping up their public education efforts about the effect of an anti-affirmative action initiative that will be presented to Michigan voters this November. Language for the so-called Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) was approved by the state's board of canvassers on January 20.
The initiative, sponsored by California businessman Ward Connerly, who led successful anti-affirmative action ballot initiatives in California (1996) and Washington (1998), would amend the state constitution to ban "affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment" to groups or individuals on the basis of race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin.
It would apply to state and local governments, public colleges and universities, school districts, and community colleges.
"We will continue our campaign to ensure that the people of Michigan know that this proposal will roll back progress Michigan has made in opening the doors of opportunity to women and minorities," said Trisha Stein, campaign manager for One United Michigan (OUM), a diverse and growing coalition of more than 100 mainstream Michigan organizations representing women's groups, educators, business groups, religious organizations, racial and ethnic minority groups, and labor, opposing Connerly's initiative.
"We oppose this deceptive initiative," said Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the nation's oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition. "We are disappointed that Connerly's word games are reflected in the ballot language. However, we are confident that Michigan voters, upon learning the intent of MCRI, will come out in droves to oppose the initiative."
Henderson said that the initiative will "chip away" at the Supreme Court's 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, which upheld the consideration of race as one of many factors in higher education admissions.
Michigan United (MU), the education arm of OUM, has increased its public education efforts to educate Michigan residents on the benefits of affirmative action and equal opportunity programs, and the potential consequences of Connerly's initiative in Michigan.
The potential consequences of MCRI for Michigan women were a main topic at an OUM/MU community forum on January 19 at Bethel Baptist Church in Albion, Michigan. Jean Doss, a coordinator for MU told the Battle Creek Enquirer, "When I speak to women about affirmative action, they don't realize how much it affects them," said .
On December 20, the Michigan Court of Appeals ordered the Board of State Canvassers to place the initiative on the ballot after the board had deadlocked in its consideration of the petition signatures on July 19, and again on December 14.