Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) was founded in 1969 to address historic and persistent institutional racism that systematically excluded Chinese Americans from major sectors of the labor market, denied us equal access to vital public resources and services, and obstructed full participation in civic affairs and government at local, state and national levels. 

For over fifty years, CAA has used affirmative action as a critical policy tool to advance fairness and equality for Chinese Americans in these and other areas.  

CAA has worked closely with other Asian American organizations and like-minded African American, Latinx, Native American, women, and LGBT groups to promote equality of opportunity for all those who have been historically excluded. 

We are proud of what we have accomplished and of our track record that spans U.S. Supreme Court cases victories for the rights of limited-English proficient students, to the establishment of the permanent City College of San Francisco Chinatown campus.  

We are also painfully aware that we still have a long way to go, especially with the Trump administration doing everything in its power to scapegoat immigrants and communities of color.  

Today, we are here to enthusiastically support opportunity for all and the repeal of Proposition 209.  

When we repeal proposition 209, and reinstate affirmative action, all communities including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders will have a better shot at achieving our dreams and leading our state forward.  

Repealing Prop 209 will specifically help end discrimination in public contracting, public employment, and public education.  

In contracting, small business owners simply don’t get the same fair shot at jobs because of Prop 209.  In cities where affirmative action is legal, like Chicago or Atlanta, Asian American-owned businesses win more in public contracts than in San Francisco or Los Angeles, where equal opportunity is banned because of Prop 209.

In employment, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders like other community members deserve to be and to have first responders from their communities, teachers and principals who know their needs firsthand, and public health workers with cultural and linguistic competency.

In education, the reality is that the rate of admission of Asian American students into UCLA and UC Berkeley decreased since 1996 after Prop 209 took effect.  Universities and colleges that practice affirmative action have seen greater gains in Asian American enrollment than schools that don’t.

California is one of only eight states that doesn’t allow affirmative action.  Despite what opponents of equal opportunity have told us, the ban on affirmative action puts all of our communities and the entire state of California at a disadvantage. 

Ultimately, repealing Prop 209 is about a California that creates opportunity for all.  It does so by acknowledging that our different communities face different challenges, but that we can be united in making sure no one is left behind.

– Vincent Pan, CAA Co-Executive Director