Project RACE was founded by Susan Graham and Chris Ashe as a non-profit 501 (c) (3) Georgia corporation in 1991. We are a national organization with headquarters in California. Both Susan and Chris had multiracial children and were experiencing the same problems with forms that did not allow an option of choosing more then one race or a multiracial classification.
Multiracial people should have the option of listing their entire heritage on forms. The word “multiracial” is important so that children have an identity, a correct terminology for who they are. Without proper racial and ethnic classifications, multiracial people are “invisible” in the health care system. Even though our efforts resulted in the ability to check more than one race on the census and other government forms, we are still referred to as “people who check two or more races.”
In June of 1993, Project RACE representatives testified before the Congressional Subcommittee on Census and Population. As a result, we represented the multiracial community at a meeting of federal government agencies at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington.
We accomplished much, including progressive legislation for a multiracial classification that has been passed in Ohio, Illinois, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan and Maryland. We have persuaded districts (such as Fairfax County, Virginia) and states (North Carolina and Florida) around the country to utilize the classification. The ACT Scholastic Test added the multiracial classification in 1995.
Project RACE executive director, Susan Graham and her son Ryan testified before the House Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology on July 25, 1997. Susan testified again later in 1997.
The Office of Management and Budget rejected the terminology of “multiracial,” but allowed the checking of more than one box on governmental agency forms and census forms. Therefore, multiracial people are called “people who check two or more races” by our United States government.
This has caused much confusion with government agencies. The United States Department of Education issued an 80-page book in 2009 called “Managing an Identity Crisis: Forum Guide to Implementing New Federal Race and Ethnicity Categories.” It is 80 pages of confusing government-speak that contradicts itself throughout.
Project RACE immediately began advocating for wording in the race instructions on school forms to include the wording:
If your child is multiracial, you may select two or more races.
The Superintendent of Public Instruction for California schools has accepted and endorsed this wording. We continue to be vocal advocates for positive changes for multiracial people in government, employment, and healthcare. We have members in all 50 states and many international members. We have a 20-year history of successful advocacy. As the fastest growing population in the United States, our advocacy on behalf of multiracial people is still as important today as it was 20 years ago.