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Court Approves Vote on Affirmative Action

September 18, 2007

Denver, CO – The Colorado Supreme Court has approved the inclusion of a measure to ban affirmative action on the state's 2008 ballot, even though a broad coalition of groups is challenging the bill as unconstitutional. Rosemary Harris with the organization Colorado Unity says the use of phrases like "color blind" and "civil rights" in the campaign is ironic.

"What they've done is taken the message and the spirit of the civil rights movement and co-opted it as something that the icons of the civil rights movement never intended it to represent."

Harris says affirmative action plays an important role in helping achieve equal opportunity in Colorado's universities, governments and business communities.

"It makes those entities in our state richer, fuller, more inclusive and then helps them achieve equality in a state that has been trying for thirty years. There are many ways to do that, but affirmative action is one that has been proven to work."

Supporters of the controversial Colorado Civil Rights Initiative say it would be a step toward "true equality." It is part of a wider, national campaign led by California millionaire and anti-affirmative action activist Ward Connerly. A similar campaign in Michigan ran into legal trouble after allegations that its staff misrepresented the proposal when soliciting petition signatures.

Eric Mack/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - CO