TUSCON - On November 2, Arizona voters will vote on Proposition 107, a ballot initiative proposing to amend the state's constitution to eliminate equal opportunity programs in public higher education, employment, and contracting.
If Proposition 107 passes, programs that many Arizonans consider essential for ensuring that all Arizonans have equal access to opportunities in education and employment could be affected, including an Arizona State University initiative that helps Native Americans transition from life on the reservation to life at college, a counseling program for teen fathers in Phoenix, and the popular Upward Bound program, which helps low-income college students of color prepare for college.
Proposition 107 is the latest ballot initiative sponsored by California businessman and millionaire Ward Connerly, who has backed similar measures in other states since the mid-1990s. After failing in 2008 to qualify the initiative for the Arizona ballot due to insufficient support from the voters, Connerly circumvented the voters and had the state legislature place it on this year's ballot for him.
Protect Arizona's Freedom, a coalition supporting equal opportunity, made up of civil rights organizations, business and community leaders, and elected officials, is working in the state to inform voters of the harmful effects of Proposition 107 and of Connerly's history of usingfraudulent and misleading tactics in his efforts to qualify these initiatives for ballots in other states.
Connerly-sponsored initiatives banning equal opportunity have been passed by voters in Califorina, Washington, Michigan, and Nebraska. In November 2008, Colorado became the first state to vote down Connerly's anti-equal opportunity ballot initiative.