We did it!

A bill that would require public agencies that collect demographic data to update their forms so multiracial Californians can adequately report their ancestry is on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown.

AB532 by Democratic Assemblyman Kevin McCarty of Sacramento gained final approval on Wednesday with a 74-0 vote in the Assembly.

The legislation would give state agencies and their contractors until January 2022 to revise forms to give respondents the option of checking more than one race or ethnicity on applications, surveys and other documents.

McCarty says he counts himself among what he said were millions of Californians who would have listed more than one race or ethnicity on their college applications, if they’d had the chance.

Prop 209 Reconsidered

Affirmative action programs reconsidered under new California amendmen


California voters will reconsider affirmative action programs in higher education on the November ballot after a proposed amendment passed the Senate last month.

Approved by 54.6 percent of California voters in 1996, Proposition 209 is an amendment to California’s Constitution that prohibits affirmative action in government hiring, public school admissions and public contracting by prohibiting special treatment to individuals on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or nationality.

 The proposed amendment will allow race and ethnicity to be considered in higher education admissions.

“Research shows that since the passage of (Proposition) 209, historically underrepresented students have experienced dramatic declines in enrollment within the (University of California) system,” said ethnic studies professor Elvia Ramirez.

Sociology professor Manuel Barajas has been part of many groups at Sacramento State that advocate equity and diversity amongst faculty and students. To bring awareness to the higher education crisis in California,

Barajas gave a faculty presentation in 2011 titled “Challenging Borders to Higher Education in California.”

“Diversity is part of the state’s wealth,” Barajas said. “It offers an exciting innovative environment that reflects and integrates world experiences, and positions the state in a strategic and influential position.”

Sac State does not use diversity in admission decisions, said Director of Admissions and Outreach Emiliano Diaz.

To promote diversity on campus, the university partners with programs like Sacramento Pathways to Success that focus on public school outreach to create awareness of higher education opportunities.

Freshman child development major Lien Lui said college admission based on ethnicity might help some individuals, but it is not fair to those that meet the grade qualifications.

“I would have liked to get into Long Beach or San Jose State, but I didn’t have the grades and I think that is fine,” Lui said. “I don’t want them to accept me just because I am Asian.”

Although race and ethnicity do not play a role in student admissions, it does in access to higher education and the job market, sociology professor Paul Burke said.

According to a 2008 California educational trend study, 13 percent of Latinos have a bachelor or higher degree, compared to 20 percent African Americans, 53 percent Asian Americans and 30 percent European Americans.

Cultural anthropology freshman Jasmine Taylor said she is lucky to have gone to a private school that prepared her for college.

“Our public schools are horrible,” Taylor said. “It is mostly minorities. Those people, they really don’t have a chance.”

According to the 2012 California Budget Project, public school funding between 2007 and 2010 has been cut by $7 billion, causing reduced services to students including summer and after school programs and shortened school years.

Additionally, budget cuts have nudged students into crowded classrooms because of a 32,000 teacher workforce drop between 2007 to 2008 and 2010 to 2011.

Looking at education funding reductions in the past 10 years and the increase of college tuition fees, attaining higher education in California has become a challenge, primarily to minority groups who benefit from programs that are being cut.

The solution to California’s higher education crisis is complex, and although affirmative action programs will not completely resolve the crisis, it has been a proposed starting point according to numerous reports.

“(The amendment) long overdue, and I think it will pass,” Burke said. “California has changed a lot in 20 years. We are a more progressive state and we are more diverse demographically. I think the time is right.”


Source:n State Hornet

Affirmative Action Revisited

California Voters to Revisit Affirmative Action

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—The fight over affirmative action in California’s higher education system is coming back.

Under a proposed constitutional amendment that passed the Senate on Thursday, voters would reconsider affirmative action programs at the University of California and California State University systems on the November ballot. SCA5 would remove certain prohibitions in place since 1996, when voters approved Proposition 209.

That initiative made California the first state to ban the use of race and ethnicity in public university admissions as well as state hiring and contracting.

The amendment under consideration in the Legislature would delete provisions in Proposition 209 that prohibit the state from giving preferential treatment in public education to individuals and groups based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.

“A blanket prohibition on consideration of race was a mistake in 1996, and we are still suffering the consequences from that initiative today,” said Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Covina, who carried the measure. “You cannot address inequality by refusing to acknowledge it.”

The proposed amendment does not mandate an affirmative action program or set a quota, Hernandez said. It also applies only to education and not employment.

Hernandez joined other Democrats in arguing that recruitment of minorities has slipped at the UC and CSU systems because of the affirmative action ban.

In 1995, minority students accounted for 38 percent of high school graduates and 21 percent of those entering as University of California freshmen, Hernandez said. By 2004, they made up 45 percent of high school graduates but just 18 percent of incoming UC freshmen, he said, adding the gap is growing.

Republican lawmakers opposed the amendment and blamed the drop-off on poor performance by K-12 schools.

“This bill, the unintended consequence is that it actually allows our public schools to use race and gender and others to discriminate against students,” said Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar. “Is that really where we want to go?”

The measure passed on a party-line, 27-9 vote and now goes to the Assembly, which also is dominated by Democrats.

“Prop. 209 creates a barrier for people of color to access higher education,” said Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego. “With these prohibitions we have seen a stark reduction in access to higher education by people of color.”

Racial admission data tell a more specific story: While blacks and Latinos remain underrepresented, especially in the UC system, Asians dominate admissions at the UC’s most prestigious campuses and are enrolled in numbers far greater than their proportion of California’s population.

Whites also are underrepresented in the UC system, according to state population and university figures.

UC’s 2013 freshman class was 36 percent Asian, 28.1 percent white, 27.6 percent Latino and 4.2 percent black, according to UC data. The representation of Asians was more than double their share of California’s total population. At some campuses, including UC San Diego and UC Irvine, Asians account for more than 45 percent of admitted freshmen this year.

California also has undergone a tremendous shift since voters passed Proposition 209 nearly two decades ago. Latinos overtook whites this year as California’s dominant group, and there is no majority racial or ethnic population in the state.

The state has seen a sharp drop in the proportion of blacks and Latinos at the system’s most competitive campuses, particularly UC Berkeley and UCLA, in the years since votes approved Proposition 209.

University of California leaders supported lifting the ban when they filed a friend of the court brief in 2012 while the U.S. Supreme Court was considering a challenge to the University of Texas’ consideration of race in undergraduate admissions.

Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, vetoed a similar bill by Hernandez in 2011, saying that while he agreed with the bill’s goal, the courts should decide the limits of Proposition 209. The Legislature can put a constitutional amendment before voters without the governor’s support.

After California outlawed affirmative action, voters in Arizona, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Washington state and Nebraska approved similar bans with similar results.

“We need to ensure that the students reflect our changing population,” said Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens.

Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, said the state should instead limit admissions of university students from other nations to create more room for California children.

“It doesn’t create more space in our colleges and universities,” Anderson said of SCA5. “It just rearranges the chairs on the Titanic.”

Source:  Associated Press

The New Multiracial Face and The Multiracial Advocacy


The new multiracial face of California

The Latino population in CaliforniaThe Latino population has dramatically changed the face of California in the last 40 years. (Shutterstock)

A comic at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles not long ago tried making a joke about how California should erect signs similar to those at McDonald’s about how many billions of burgers they’ve served.

“California,” he said, “12.1 Hispanics – and still counting. And counting! And counting!”

It was a backhanded compliment about the Latino population in California, particularly that of immigrants, and how it has dramatically changed the face of California in the last 40 years.

“We’re running 15 to 20 years ahead of the nation,” says demographer Dowell Myers, a professor at the University of Southern California. “California has a large population of second-generation children who are now coming of age. The rest of the country doesn’t have that.”

But the rest of the country does reflect what is happening in California

The U.S. Hispanic population has grown from 14.6 million people in 1980 to nearly 52 million, according to the Census Bureau

“In many respects, California looks like the future of the United States demographically,” says Mark Hugo Lopez, associate director for the Pew Hispanic Center. “Between 2000 and 2010, the nation’s Hispanic population grew by 43 percent. Alone, it counted for half of the nation’s population growth.”

Latinos in CaliforniaThe Hispanic share of the overall California population is projected to increase to about 41 percent by 2020,(AP)

Early in 2014, in fact, the Hispanic population will become the plurality in California for the first time since the Golden State joined the union in 1850.

That radical demographic change is expected to impact politics and public policy in the state and possibly beyond, considering California’s history of influencing trend-setting legislation and cultural shifts in the country.

Who would have thought this in 1970 when Latinos made up only 15.5 percent of California’s population, while whites comprised 74.7 percent?

But by 1990, Hispanics accounted for a fourth of Californians, by 2000 they were almost a third and by 2010 they made up 37.6 percent of the state.

In a new report, California’s Department of Finance says that by 2064 the state will have 25 million Latinos and 15.6 million whites – a far cry different than just 15 years ago when whites outnumbered Hispanics in California by five million.

It is not just immigration, though, that has produced the boom but the high birth rates among Latinos already living in California.

Factor in that while the Latino population was increasing, the report found, the white population decreased through lower birth rates and people moving out of the state.

The Hispanic share of the overall California population is projected to increase to about 41 percent by 2020, when whites will make up less than 37 percent.

By 2060, Hispanics could account for 48 percent of the state’s population, with whites falling below 30 percent.

In 2010, Latinos were already a majority in nine of California’s 58 counties. By 2060, that could grow to 17 counties.

And yet in 1980, the state’s Latino population stood at under 20 percent.

At that time, some skeptics rolled their eyes at Jerry Brown, then in his first incarnation as governor, when he told a state Latino political convention:

“It’s your turn in the sun – and I want to be part of it!”

Asked recently if he recalled that and what he would say today, Brown didn’t hesitate to use his quick wit.

“It’s our turn in the sun,” he said. “And, boy, are we ever getting nice and tan here in California!”

Source: VOXXI


California Filipino History Bill



California writing Filipino Americans into the history books



The Filipino and American flags fly together.

LOS ANGELES — California Governor Jerry Brown last week signed legislation that would incorporate the inclusion of Filipino American history in textbooks statewide.

Brown signed AB 123, a bill introduced by Filipino American Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) earlier this year, which would require the State Board of Education to include the role of Filipino Americans in the farm worker movement as part of the state’s curriculum.

“I am proud that Governor Brown recognizes the contributions of Filipinos to the history of our state and country by signing AB 123 and including them in the history and social sciences curriculum taught in California schools,” Bonta said in a statement.

Bonta referenced Filipino Americans Philip Vera Cruz and Larry Itliong, who were among the “Delano Manongs” — first-generation immigrants, who helped found the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee before merging with Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers.

Cruz, Itliong and the Delano Manongs’ contributions to the farm worker movement that sparked massive social change in the 1960s and 1970s are largely forgotten in mainstream history books and national media, Bonta said.

But historians say it was Itliong who spearheaded the 1960s farm worker movement, coordinating strikes for better wage and living conditions for his colleagues before Chavez joined the board. Now, he stands to gain some measure of recogition for that role

“It’s about time,” said Johnny Itliong, Larry Itliong’s son. “I’ve waited most of my life for people to give my father credit for his work. This is a dream come true.”

Johnny Itliong, who is in the process of writing a book about his father, said it’s important for Filipino kids to learn about their history.Most Filipino Americans don’t really learn about the contributions of Filipinos in the farm worker movement until they get into college.

“By signing AB 123, Governor Brown has made an unprecedented move to give students a more complete account of California’s farm labor movement and ensure that these important leaders, such as Philip Vera Cruz and Larry Itliong, are remembered by future generations of Californians,” Bonta said.

Under the legislation, middle and high school students from grades 7 to 12, will learn about the roles of Filipino Americans and other immigrants in the farm worker movement.

Dolores Huerta, a social justice and labor rights activist, advocated for the bill’s pasage.

“The students of California need to learn that the sacrifices made by both the Filipino and Latino workers benefitted all Californians. AB 123 will ensure that the history is taught accurately,” Huerta said in a statement.

Itliong said this legislation is only part of Filipinos getting the recognition they deserve. He hopes this will become a nationwide initiative and be included in all textbooks.


Source: PRI/New America Media/Reporter Joseph Pimentel


The “M” Word

The San  Francisco Chronicle had a front page article about Kamala Harris, the California Attorney General April 29, 2010 The title of the article is “Kamala Harris mixing idealism, political savvy.” 

One of the things we realized in 1993 was that we had to have our terminology intact. The Census Bureau and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said we had to narrow the category down to one word. In other words, they could not put “multiracial, biracial, mulatto, or mixed” on a form. Different people prefer different terms for themselves and for others. We polled the Project RACE membership and the overwhelming preferred word was “multiracial.” 

“Multiracial” is a dignified, respectful term that can be used by people of any and many combinations of races. We adopted the term. But then when OMB said at least they would do “check all that apply” we knew we would have to start spreading the word about terminology. The Census Bureau still refers to multiracial people as “People of more than one race,” or the “Two or more race population.” Over the years, we have managed to get “multiracial” into popular usage and one way we do that is to teach journalists to use the word that is preferable to most of the multiracial community. Some journalists still can’t bring themselves to use the “M” word. This is what appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday:

     Kamala Devi Harris was born in Oakland to UC Berkeley graduate students. Her mother,   Gopalan Shyamala, was an Indian immigrant who became aprominent breast cancer researcher. Her father, Donald Harris, was a Jamaican immigrant who later taught economics at Stanford. They divorced when she was 5, and she was raised by her mother.”

We don’t know how Attorney General Harris self-identifies, but it would be great to see it stated that she is multiracial.