In response to recent proposals put forth by California legislators, Ann Ravel, candidate for California State Senate, issued the following statement:
A mass civil rights movement has been rekindled across America.
Sparked both by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police and the way the COVID-19 crisis laid bare the deep institutional racism in our society, millions of Americans are taking to the street to peacefully demand justice and equality.
Now we can transform this outrage and mass movement into legislative action. Three major bills are being considered by the state legislature in Sacramento to do exactly that. One restores Affirmative Action protections that help lift up all Californians. The second set of bills would reform police practices, particularly use of force. Another brings a “Restorative Justice” approach to our state’s long history of laws and discriminatory practices by creating a committee to study an appropriate reparations strategy. I support each of these measures.
There are many other concrete actions also now being considered – including an effort to guarantee equal educational opportunities, starting with universal access to broadband technology. These efforts are important to give everyone in our state the opportunity to get ahead.
While there’s controversy around the “reparations” bill, when we look at it closely, the bill starts the process of studying compensation for what was stolen from our fellow Californians. We will not build a just future until we acknowledge and make right the past. This moment of anger, action and reflection should continue with a complete process of truth and reconciliation going forward. And I strongly support Assemblywoman Shirley Weber’s bill.
The second bill, also brought forward by Dr. Weber, is a proposal to restore the economic ladder of Affirmative Action. All of us prosper when every person has equal access to educational and economic opportunity. Now is the time to restore Affirmative Action for a just and prosperous economy.
As experts from across the political spectrum acknowledge, it is time to end tactics like “chokeholds,” rubber bullets for crowd control and other practices that all too often turn deadly or leave peaceful protestors maimed, as tragically has happened here in Silicon Valley.
As a young woman I participated in civil rights demonstrations. As a young lawyer I helped to successfully argue a pioneering affirmative action case, Johnson v. Transportation Agency, before the United States Supreme Court. As a mother and grandmother my heart is lifted by the sight of millions of our fellow Americans standing together for a better state and nation.
As a teenager at an American Friends Service Committee event, I sang along with Joan Baez to “The Times They Are A Changing” and “We Shall Overcome.” It was one of the many, many calls for justice that led me to pursue a path in public service as a consumer advocate, civil rights advocate and fighter to return power to the people by taking back our democracy from big donors and special interests.
The times they are a changing today. And as the song makes clear, we need to lend a hand.