Mfume Pledges Fight Against Proposition 54 Ballot Initiative

Kweisi Mfume, President and CEO, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), on August 19th stepped up the organization's fight against the California ballot initiative, Proposition 54, which would stop the state from identifying its residents by race, ethnicity, color or national origin. Mfume will speak in San Francisco during a mass meeting against the initiative at noon on Saturday, August 23, 2003 at the Third Baptist Church, 1399 McAllister Street. Proposition 54 is on the ballot for the Tuesday, October 7, 2003 special election.

Mfume said: "This latest attempt by anti-civil rights activist Ward Connerly to ban racial identification is ill-conceived and irresponsible because it would essentially sterilize the data on birth and death certificates, school enrollment forms and other records used in demographic and medical research. If Prop 54 is passed it would hurt attempts to diversify the workplace and damage the ability of the state to address disparities by race or ethnicity. Current efforts to track racial profiling, hate crimes and discrimination would also be severely limited." He continued: "This initiative is disingenuous. It touts the noble goal of building a colorblind society, but Prop 54's approach is myopic and shortsighted. When all is said and done it would hurt, not help racial and ethnic minorities."

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