California moves 1 step closer to repealing affirmative action ban

State News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGET) — The effort to restore affirmative action in California cleared a key hurdle Wednesday in the state Senate.

But not all minority groups are pleased with the possibility.

California is one step closer to repealing its affirmative action ban from 1996.

“The notion that we believed 25 years ago that by denying our differences we would be elevating everybody has proven to be completely the opposite,” State Sen. Hannah Beth-Jackson said.

Restoring affirmative action in California would mean government agencies and academic institutions can hire workers or admit students based on race, ethnicity, sex or national origin.

The Senate Labor, Employment and Retirement Committee voted 4-1 Wednesday to send the bill to its next committee before a final floor vote.

The measure, name ACA 5, ultimately brings the issue to voters to determine whether California should reinstate affirmative action after it was banned 24 years ago.

More than 100 opponents called into Wednesday’s hearing, many from the Asian Pacific Islander community.

“The nation is in the midst of a pandemic and social upheaval,” Crytal Lu, president of the Silicon Valley Chinese Association Foundation said. “In the coming weeks, many mistakes will be made, mistakes that will be regretted further down the road, don’t let this be one of them. Keep discrimination illegal and vote no on ACA 5.”

But the bill has been at the top of the legislative black caucus’ priority list. Support for the measure grows as the national conversation on racial justice continues.

“This notion of a colorblind society I find offensive, because it denies who I am, my rich cultural heritage and background that I’m quite proud of,” State Sen. Holly Mitchell said. “It’s not about colorblind, it’s about respecting differences.”

If the legislature passes the bill by June 25, it will be on the ballot in November.

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