Proposition 16 ends the ban on affirmative action. It would allow public entities to develop and use affirmative action programs but would not require them. The measure could lead to increased diversity in school admissions, hiring and public contracting.

Affirmative action was banned in California when the voters passed Proposition 209 in 1996. The consequences of the ban have been extremely negative for gender equality, and have increased racial disparities. Proposition 209 has negatively impacted the educational outcomes and decreased the wages for Black, Latinx and Asian American Californians. At the same time it hurt women owned businesses, causing women entrepreneurs to lose an estimated $1 billion dollars annually.

While California grows more diverse, its diversity has not been met with equitable changes. Deep rooted, institutional racism and discrimination continue to be a barrier for many Angelenos, especially those that live in poverty. 

Proposition 16 is a step in the right direction in creating a more equitable Los Angeles and leveling playing field. The proposition advances United Way of Greater Los Angeles’s mission to create pathways out of poverty and helps fix some systemic inequities that keep families in cycles of intergenerational poverty. 

Proposition 16 also will not directly add costs to our state and local budgets, as it does not require any changes to policies or programs. It may present an opportunity to increase public revenue.

The resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the COVID-19 pandemic have brought to light inequalities faced by women, Black people and all people of color. Proposition 16 gives Californians the opportunity to address racial inequalities that bubble below the surface in our neighborhoods. 

United Way of Greater Los Angeles is proud to endorse California Proposition 16.

Still have questions? Want to know more about why we support this and other ballot measure? Join us at noon on October 30th for a free webinar to discuss the various ballot measures endorsed by United Way of Greater Los Angeles. More infomation is available here