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.
Women Hold Summit to Preserve Affirmative Action in Michigan
Feature Story by Tyler Lewis - 9/27/2006A recent summit of women's leaders and Michigan woman voters became a call to action for women in the fight to preserve affirmative action in the state.
One United Michigan/Michigan United (OUM/MU) convened the Michigan Women's Summit 2006: What's at Stake for Michigan Families on September 15, where women around the state heard from local & national speakers about the role affirmative action plays in ensuring equal access to education and employment opportunities for women and minorities. Regional workshops provided training and kicked off organizing and mobilizing efforts for the fall.
"The summit was a unique opportunity for women to gather and be inspired and educated about the need for affirmative action to help women and minorities achieve more equitable wages and have equal access to quality education and employment opportunities," said Mickey Edell, president of AAUW of Michigan
In November, Michigan voters will vote on Proposal 2, which would ban affirmative action and equal opportunity initiatives in state contracting, education, and employment. OUM/MU, a diverse and growing coalition of more than 200 mainstream Michigan organizations, has conducted a public education campaign to inform Michigan voters why Proposal 2 will roll back progress in the state.
"The passage of Proposal 2 asks us to turn our backs on the proud history of diversity in Michigan and in this country," said Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, who spoke at the summit. "There is no question that the elimination of affirmative action programs in our state would be a devastating blow for Michigan women."
The event was beamed via satellite from the Shriner's Auditorium in Southfield, Michigan to more than 600 women at summit sites in Grand Rapids, Lansing, Flint and Marquette. Speakers included: U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, D. Mich.; Republican State Senator Laura Toy; Vernice Davis Anthony, former director of community healthy for Gov. John Engler, R. Mich.; and columnist Desiree Cooper.
Civil rights icon, Dr. Dorothy I. Height, spoke via videotape about how Michigan is ground zero in the fight to preserve affirmative action.nationwide.
Affirmative action supporters say that Michigan women have much to gain by stopping Proposal 2. Statistics for Michigan women in most areas lag behind national averages.
Michigan women earn only 67 cents for every dollar men earn - 10 cents below the national average -- according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And despite gains in higher education, they earned only 45 percent of professional degrees and 41 percent of doctorate degrees in 2000, which falls below the national average in the same category.
A recent study by The Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan found "ample evidence" that passage of Proposal 2 "would result in a similar pattern of lost services and restricted opportunities."
Proposal 2, the so-called Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, is sponsored by former California businessman Ward Connerly. Connerly sponsored similar initiatives to ban affirmative action in California and Washington - states that have since seen dramatic declines in underrepresented minorities in state contracting and in admissions to the state university systems.