Monday, October 21

Opponents of Prop. 54 mobilize to inform, sway student voters

Two events will be held today in an attempt to rally students
against Proposition 54 in a “No on Prop. 54 Day of
Action” coordinated by student and community leaders.

If passed next Tuesday, the ballot initiative would prevent the
state government from recording racial data except in some health
care and law enforcement situations.

Proponents of the proposition believe that it will help create a
colorblind society. Those fighting it say it will prevent the state
from identifying trends of racial discrimination.

The day of action will begin with a rally in Bruin Plaza, which
will include speaker Sherry Wright from the National Gay and
Lesbian Task Force, as well as community activists and speakers
from the health care profession.

From 4:30 to 6 p.m., there will be a panel discussion at the
School of Law open to the public to discuss Prop. 54. Attorneys and
professors will be present at the discussion.

Though no one supporting the proposition is scheduled to attend,
speakers plan to discuss the advantages in addition to the
disadvantages, said Silas Shawver, a second-year law student and
organizer of the panel.

The California Statewide Affirmative Action Coalition, which
organized the “Day of Action,” is made up of students
from the University of California and California State University
systems, community colleges and other community members.

The coalition arranged to have Oct. 1 as a statewide day to
oppose the proposition, and student leaders organized rallies and
speeches to be held on campuses across California.

The coalition at UCLA is made up of student groups including the
African Student Union, the Asian Pacific Coalition and the Latin
American Students Association.

Karen Salazar, an organizer for today’s rally and a
fourth-year UCLA student, believes that if Prop. 54 passes, its
most negative effect would be on health care.

Though the proposition does have some medical exemptions for
which race can be recorded, she said she does not think the
exemptions go far enough.

Shawver believed that education would be negatively affected

Without racial data monitoring the percentages of students to
enroll at UC schools, the tools necessary for the university to
find out which groups are underrepresented, and to target those
communities through outreach, will be taken away, Shawver said.

Many members of the Undergraduate Students Association Council
have expressed their disapproval of the proposition and will help
with the day’s events.

“(The measure) will send us back about 50 years,”
said Internal Vice President Allende Palma/Saracho.

Lucas Johnson, a third-year organismic biology, ecology and
evolution student, said though he knows very little about Prop. 54,
he welcomes the chance to learn more and plans to attend the

The response from students leading up to the day of action has
been positive, Salazar said, adding that she hopes more people
become informed.

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