As we all anxiously anticipate results across our nation, we can celebrate record voter turnout across the country and in California. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, an economic recession, and a national reckoning on race, millions of Americans have cast their ballot and, as patriots and believers of democracy, we must ensure that every vote is counted.
While we wait a little longer for the results of the presidential election, we know a few things for sure: We need a President that will understand he is the leader of a diverse nation and work towards unifying us after an incredibly divisive time. We need a President that will work with our state and local leaders to control the Covid-19 pandemic so that our economy can begin its pathway to recovery. We need a President that will ensure the disparate impact the pandemic and recession has had on women and Black, Latinx, and Indigenous Americans is addressed.
We also look forward to working with the President and Congress to find a resolution to continuing challenges, including, and most importantly, support for California that would be provided through the HEROES Act already passed by the House of Representatives in order to avoid devastating cuts to our schools and colleges.
Turning our eyes back to California elections, we are still awaiting the final result on Proposition 15, the Schools and Communities First initiative. If passed, we know that the infusion of funding into our K-12 schools and community colleges is especially critical. Regardless of the outcome of the vote, we need our national leaders to pass the HEROES Act and we need our state budget to reflect the value we profess to have for education by investing more in our K-12 schools, public colleges and universities.
Our fight for racial and gender equity did not win at the ballot box yesterday, but we will never stop fighting to ensure greater opportunity for all. Racial/ethnic and gender discrimination is real and race-neutral policies have been insufficient to close racial/ethnic equity gaps in access to education. That is why my team and I fought hard to pass Proposition 16 so that we could use affirmative action to level the playing field. For twenty-four years, we have been operating within the confines of California’s ban on affirmative action to ensure Black, Latinx, Asian, and Native American communities find equal opportunity in state hiring, contracting, and university admissions, and today, we will continue to fight so all students have a chance to be prepared for college and go to college.
As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” I truly want to thank each of you for joining us in this fight. I am proud of what the Yes on Proposition 16 team did across California and what our broad, multi-racial, and diverse coalition did to stand on the right side of history.
The late civil rights icon John Lewis reminds us: