By Joe Thomas, from the Protect Arizona's Freedom campaign:
Question 1. How would passage of Prop. 107 affect minorities in Arizona?
Proposition 107 is Californian Ward Connerly's latest attempt to eliminate equal opportunity programs in Arizona. The Arizona Legislature took steps to put it on the ballot even after Connerly failed to qualify in 2008 due to insufficient support from Arizonans.
Proposition 107 would go so far as to change Arizona's Constitution. It would make it unconstitutional for state (and local governments, schools and universities) to offer any type of equal opportunity programs to underrepresented communities, including women, men and people of color in Arizona, in the areas of public employment, higher education and contracting.
Based on what we've seen in other states which have passed the Connerly initiative, programs potentially facing the chopping block in Arizona are programs to encourage women to pursue academic majors and careers in engineering, domestic violence prevention programs serving women, the YWCA Bright Futures program for young women in Pima County, programs to help Native American students prepare for the academic challenges they face in science, math and engineering and programs to assist young people of color with basic needs to attend school, as well as their families with information about domestic violence, education, nutrition and finance.
Chambers of Commerce across the state have voted to oppose Proposition 107 because of its impact on our state's ability to educate and produce a diverse, talented work force.
We're in a global economy. Businesses understand that diversity and a work force that looks like the world in which they interact is essential and that Arizona must increase diversity in the science, technology and engineering pipeline to meet this demand.
When communities succeed, we all succeed.
Question 2. What is your evidence that preferences in Arizona are still needed?
There are no hiring preferences in Arizona and no one is currently being hurt by the preferences Prop 107 purports to eliminate.
Arizona state employers are already prohibited from considering a person's race or gender in their hiring practices.
A person already cannot be admitted or denied admission to any of Arizona's community colleges or universities based on race or gender.
The programs that would be eliminated help to prepare and equip traditionally disadvantaged groups to compete in our world that does not have hiring preferences. It's about equal opportunity, not preferential treatment.