The United States is founded on the principles of opportunity, freedom and equality for all regardless of race, creed or color. No matter our background or status in life, all of us are equal before the law.
At the birth of our great nation, our Founders declared to the world that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
It was a bold statement as true now as it was then. Abraham Lincoln died for that truth. The brave men and woman of the Civil Rights movement struggled and often bled to redeem the promise of that declaration.
So how can it be that today, decades after Martin Luther King spoke so movingly of a future in which his children were judged by the character instead of their color – how can it be that we are still beating back government attempts to treat Americans unequally because of their color and ancestry? Because that is the dark path road down which AB 1726 takes California. It would force our state college systems and our state health agencies to collect more data on Americans of Asian-Pacific Islander descent in order to sift and stratify them into evermore esoteric racial categories. The goal of the bill’s supporters: use the data to decide which racial sub-groups do and do not need more “help” from government. In other words, AB 1726 aims to provide the data for government in California to treat citizens differently according to the skin color and heritage.
Ignoring Proposition 209
The people of California voted overwhelmingly in 1996 for the California Civil Rights Initiative: Proposition 209. It was their conviction that state government – our government — shall neither discriminate against nor give preference to anyone because of their race, color or sex.
Prop. 209 amended the state constitution to prohibit state government institutions from considering race, sex or ethnicity, specifically in the areas of public employment, public contracting or public education.
Since its passage, enrollment for minority students has gone up 150 percent increase, and graduation rates have doubled for those same students.
The end of racial preferences increased opportunities and improved the lives of all residents across the state.
Backtracking the Civil Rights Movement
So why do the liberals in state government keep trying to turn back the clock? Why are they so determined to move this state backwards? Why do they continue disregarding the will of the people? Why are they so adamant that our government treat us as members of this racial group or that ethnic group, instead of as individuals. I ask myself those questions whenever I see bills like AB 1726.
It seems they have chosen to forget or ignore that our country was founded on the principle that all of us have the equal opportunity to achieve the American Dream a better future by hard work and the desire to strive.
I am honored to join you in telling the politicians in Sacramento that the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. is alive and well, and we will fight to protect it.
As he proclaimed in front of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
If we are to keep faith with that spirit, then AB 1726 must be defeated and the right of our students to be evaluated on their hard work and individual merit must be preserved.
I am a strong advocate for the equality of all Californians; and, AB 1726 will only serve to backtrack our fight for true equal opportunity and take us back to a time where were a judged and ranked by the color of our skin.
Americans are sick and tired of our government sorting, classifying, pigeonholing, punishing, rewarding and judging us by one of the few things in life over which we have no control: our race, color or sex!
For these reasons we should all stand in opposition to AB 1726.
Travis Allen represents the 72nd Assembly District, which comprises the communities of Westminster, Fountain Valley, much of Huntington Beach, Garden Grove, Rossmoor, Los Alamitos, Midway Cty and parts of Santa Ana.