Black Lives Matter.
This is How We Ensure they Do in California Higher Education.

This should go without saying, but it seems we must make it plain: Black Lives Matter.
Our hearts are heavy with the pain of seeing thousands of lives taken by police year after year and watching Black people attacked and killed by racist Americans in their own neighborhoods as they go for a run, enjoy birdwatching at the park, or simply exist as a Black person. The Campaign for College Opportunity joins the public outcry for justice and change with community leaders, demonstrators, and organizations in all fifty states and countries around the world.
We understand that true allyship is an active and continuous practice and that solidarity means very little without action. As we have done over the past 16 years, the Campaign will continue to push for anti-racist policies that dismantle long-standing oppressive structures in our society. As an organization dedicated to ensuring equity in college opportunity, that means tackling racism in higher education.
First, we will continue our push to ensure our state’s colleges and universities have leadership, faculty, academic senates, and governing bodies that are representative of their diverse student body. Following up on our efforts highlighting the lack of representation of Black, Latinx, Asian, and Native American leaders in California higher education in our 2018 publication, Left Out , today we are releasing a new brief, Left Out: California’s Higher Education Governing Boards Do Not Reflect the Racial and Gender Diversity of California and its Student Body . Governing bodies make critical decisions affecting students in everything from admissions, tuition, and the selection of campus presidents. When these bodies do not reflect the lived experiences of their students, they perpetuate discriminatory sentiments about who belongs in college and in leadership positions. Unfortunately, our brief finds that Black, Latinx, Asian American, and Native American Californians are not well represented in these bodies. We demand that Governor Newsom make future appointments in higher education that match his verbal commitment to representation and diversity.
Second, we will continue to advocate for and monitor the implementation of anti-racist policies in higher education, from reforming remedial education to improving transfer and expanding college access. Last month, we mobilized a broad civil rights and community coalition to support the University of California (UC) Board of Regents vote to end the use of the SAT and ACT in admissions because these tests discriminate based on race/ethnicity and income. The effectiveness of this decision lies in the integrity of implementation at the nine UC undergraduate campuses and effective communication with parents and students. 

Third, we will advocate to achieve true equity in access to higher education by supporting a voter repeal of   Proposition 209 , the 1996 ballot measure banning the use of affirmative action in hiring and undergraduate admissions. The Campaign has joined organizations across the state in supporting Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5 by Assemblymember Shirley Weber, which would place a measure on the November ballot and before California voters. ACA 5 would create the opportunity for universities and colleges to consider race/ethnicity in admissions, utilize hiring practices that improve the racial/ethnic diversity of faculty and college/university leaders, and set specific policies to close the racial/ethnic equity gaps that persist in education. Tell your legislator to vote yes on ACA 5 .
Fourth, Black and Latinx Americans are disproportionately targeted by our nation’s criminal justice system – and that impacts college opportunity for youth and adults of color wanting to complete their education. This fall, we will publish a report detailing the state of educational opportunities for current and formerly incarcerated Californians and offer recommendations to strengthen pathways to a college degree for the nearly 200,000 people impacted by the justice system. If you are working at a public college or university campus to support current and formerly incarcerated students, we want to hear from you .
Fifth, we will continue to urge our state leadership to uplift investments that will intentionally advance racial equity in higher education. You can read our budget priorities here . We urge your organization to join us in advocating for these equity-driven investments.  Sign on to our letter to the State Legislature .
Racism and white supremacy are built into every institution in this country, even in a state as diverse and “forward thinking” as California. It is no accident that Black and Latinx people are disproportionally targeted by the police and that they are overwhelmingly affected by our justice system; that they are discriminated against in the college admission process; and, that they are left out of decision-making boards in higher education.
To meet this moment, we all have a responsibility to take action to right our country’s historic wrongs and lead the dismantling of racist systems from where we stand. For us at the Campaign for College Opportunity, that means creating and supporting anti-racist higher education policies that expand access, improve affordability and ensure success for Black, Latinx, Asian, and Native American students.
While so many of us are hurting, we have been encouraged to see that the millions of people uniting across the world have already made an impact, as several city governments, companies, organizations, and Congress have begun to answer the call for change. We must build on this momentum. 

You can find anti-racist reading materials here .
Find anti-racist resources here

Learn more about calls to action from the NAACP here

For specific information on the State of Higher Education for Black Californians, read our 2019 Report here .
In solidarity and co-conspiratorship,
Michele Siqueiros and the Campaign for College O pportunity t eam