California Assembly Votes in Favor of Constitutional Amendment Allowing Race-Based Programs

In the heart of California, where the shadows of history loom large, a momentous decision has been made. The California Assembly has cast its die, passing a constitutional amendment that may reshape the very fabric of the state. Authored by Assemblyman Corey Jackson, Assembly Constitutional Amendment 7 (ACA 7) has ignited a fierce debate, one that reverberates with the echoes of past injustices and aspirations for a more equitable future.

In the crucible of the state’s legislative chambers, ACA 7 was born, a harbinger of potential change that could transcend generations. This monumental amendment, which found favor in the Assembly this month, now stands at the precipice of the Senate’s scrutiny. Its fate hinges on securing a two-thirds majority, mirroring its earlier triumph in the Assembly. ( Should it surmount this critical juncture, the decision will ultimately rest in the hands of Californian voters, who, come 2024, will determine its destiny.

At its core, ACA 7 bears a profound mission, one articulated by Assemblyman Jackson himself. It seeks to address the deep-rooted systemic inequalities that have plagued the state. These disparities, inscribed within the very fabric of California’s laws, policies, and institutions, have cast long shadows over the lives of its residents. They manifest in the realms of business contracting, education, housing, wealth, employment, and healthcare, haunting the hopes and dreams of many.

In the aftermath of ACA 7’s passage on September 12, Assemblyman Jackson offered a clarion call for change. His words resonated with a solemn commitment to improving the lives of those disproportionately impacted by the specter of systemic racism and discrimination. ( Under the canopy of this amendment, the governor would be vested with the power to allocate funding for research-based programs meticulously tailored to uplift marginalized communities. These programs carry a weighty promise: to extend life expectancy, enhance educational outcomes, and, in the shadow of poverty, offer a glimmer of hope.

Yet, the path charted by ACA 7 is no smooth course; it’s a daring challenge to the status quo, a direct confrontation with California’s Constitution. Propelled into existence by the voter-approved Proposition 209 in 1996, this constitution stands as a sentinel, guarding against any form of state favoritism based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin. Proposition 209, once hailed as a symbol of equality, now stands accused of stifling progress and perpetuating disparities.

Assemblyman Jackson’s impassioned argument is that the time for change has come. The social landscape has shifted, the calls for equity have grown louder, and the need for the state to take proactive steps in dismantling systemic inequalities has become undeniable. Propelled by this conviction, ACA 7 emerges as a beacon of hope.

This, however, is not the first tango with the ghost of Proposition 209. In 2020, Proposition 16 sought to usher in affirmative action, but the will of California’s voters swayed against it, marking a 57 percent to 43 percent rejection. The scars of that battle remain fresh, a testament to the complexity and gravity of this issue.

Supporters of ACA 7, a diverse coalition that includes the California Teachers Association representing over 310,000 educators statewide, harbor a fervent belief. They see this amendment as a tool vital for closing the chasm of opportunity and for expanding access to health and education services. ( For them, ACA 7 is more than words on paper; it’s a promise of a fairer, more just California.

As the pages of history turn, the question lingers – can California break free from the shackles of the past, boldly crafting a future where all its residents can share in the promise of opportunity? ( The echoes of this debate reach far beyond the state’s borders, for the struggle for equity knows no geographic boundaries. In the heart of this political crucible, California stands poised, teetering between its storied past and the aspirations of a more inclusive tomorrow.

James Julian

James is a former journalist and a current author, independent writer, entrepreneur, and investor.

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