Prop. 54 Defeated in California!


Contact: Nathan Richter at or Laurie Boeder

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Phone Number: (202) 467-4999

Health Research and Civil Rights Winners

People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas today said the 64-39 margin of defeat for Proposition 54 in California was a remarkable victory for the progressive coalition in California and a decisive defeat for Ward Connerly’s longstanding campaign to ban all government consideration of race and ethnicity.

“Prop 54 got more ‘no’ votes than Arnold Schwarzenegger got in support. The Prop 54 vote wasn’t a landslide, it was an avalanche,” said Neas. “California shouted down this attempt to erode civil rights, eviscerate health research, block hate crime enforcement and undermine school accountability. ”

Neas credited the overwhelming vote to the efforts of a progressive coalition that included People For the American Way, the American Civil Liberties Union, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, Action Grassroots Empowerment Neighborhoods Development Alternative, Akonadi Foundation, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Californians For Justice, California Federation of Teachers, California Teachers Association, Dr. Carmen Nevarrez, Equal Justice Society, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, Kaiser Permanente, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Rainbow/PUSH, Service Employees International Union, California State Council, and many others.

“We reached Californians with a simple, resonant message that cut through the chaotic atmosphere surrounding the recall and the Schwarzenegger campaign. Prop 54 was bad for Californians,” said Marcos Baron, director of People For the American Way’s California office. “It would have hampered efforts to take public health messages to populations most at risk from dangers like lead poisoning, teen smoking and suicide. It would have held back research into the prevention of diseases like breast cancer, sickle cell anemia and heart disease.”

“Prop 54 would have prevented research into racial profiling, and made it nearly impossible to track hate crimes, all on the false promise of ‘privacy,’ said Neas. “Prop 54 was an information ban, not a guarantee of greater privacy, and our coalition brought that message home to California voters.”