I wrote several days ago that the American Civil Rights Coalition headed by Ward Connerly - a national leader striving for a "color blind society" - would be making an important announcement regarding ballot initiatives in several states next year. Yesterday in Kansas City, I attended and spoke at the press conference announcing the formation of the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative. It was the second stop on the five state tour of Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arizona, and South Dakota. The ballot measure will seek to ban government-sponsored race and gender preferences in public employment, public education and public contracting. Here is the actual proposed language:
“The state shall not discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting."
Recent ballot initiative victories in Michigan, Washington, and California, have shown that that these measures passed with strong grassroots support. The internet has become a logical extension of the power of grassroots organizing; with its advantages of quick and cost effective communication. No doubt, the opponents of the measure will use scare tactics and blatant mistruths to distort the purpose of the initiative, but fortuntiately, the blogosphere will be able to counter them.
Missouri Civil Rights Initiative's Tim Asher, former director of admissions as North Central Missouri College said such a measure has never been more necessary. “Efforts to assure equal opportunity in Missouri are admirable,” notes Asher, whose contract at the state school was not renewed after he raised questions about the college’s preferential admissions policies, “but discriminating against some in favor of others is not the answer. That only perpetuates unfairness and ill feeling. We are individuals and should not be reduced to stereotypes – especially by our government.”
Also attending the press conference was Honorary Missouri Civil Rights Initiative Chairman John Uhlmann, longtime activist and volunteer Linda Bond, and Jennifer Gratz, whose discrimination lawsuit sparked the Michigan ballot initiative.