MCRI News and Commentary
Feb. 2, 2004

News Clips about the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative
February 2, 2004

MCRI-- Race initiative sparks pickets of 4 pharmacies (01-31-04)

Last known link:
http://www.thetimesherald.com/news/stories/20040130/localnews/319609.html

"Group's boycotts target Ehardt Race initiative sparks pickets of 4 pharmacies
By DAVID JESSE Times Herald"

          "A statewide group has targeted four Sanilac County pharmacies owned by state Rep. Stephen Ehardt for boycotts.

          "They're targeting Ehardt, R-Lexington, because he supports a ballot initiative to forbid considering race in public education, hiring and contracting.

          "The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action & Integration and Fight For Equality By Any Means Necessary spent Saturday posting fliers around Ehardt's pharmacies in Lexington, Croswell, Port Sanilac and Brown City.
Be sure to ALSO see:
01-26-04 MCRI News

          "They plan to come back Saturday afternoon to picket the pharmacies.

          " 'We feel that (the initiative) is a grave mistake and drags us back towards inequality,' said Luke Massie, the group's national co-chairman. 'It would be very divisive for the state.'

          "Ehardt, who is among about 20 lawmakers supporting the initiative, disagrees.

          " 'I'm confident I'm properly representing the views of the majority of my constituents,' he said.  'I'm the co-sponsor of legislation that says the most qualified candidate should get (the job).'

          "The coalition is leading boycotts and pickets throughout the state to try to sway politicians who have supported the proposal.

          "Hank David, 51, of Croswell supports Ehardt.

          " 'I'd vote for it (the initiative),' he said. 'I think he does a good job.'

          "Ward Connerly, chairman of the American Civil Rights Coalition in Sacramento, Calif., announced the effort in November to put the proposal before Michigan voters in November 2004.

          "Interest in the proposal comes after the U.S. Supreme Court in June upheld an affirmative-action program at the University of Michigan law school but struck down the undergraduate school's formula of awarding points for race."


Suit aims to block race ballot drive (01-27-04)

Last known link:
http://www.detnews.com/2004/politics/0401/27/c01-47213.htm

          "A lawsuit was filed Monday in an attempt to block a state petition drive that aims to outlaw affirmative action in government and in college admissions.

          "Attorneys Godfrey Dillard and Milton Henry, who prevailed before the U.S. Supreme Court in defending affirmative action policies at the University of Michigan [Editor's Note: They defended "forced diversity" and "subtle racial quotas", NOT affirmative action as defined in the original, unamended Civil Rights Act of 1964.   --Tim Fay], sued Monday in Wayne County Circuit Court to halt the petition drive, called the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative.

          "They argued that the measure attempts to circumvent the Supreme Court ruling, as state laws initiated in the 1960s did after integration was ordered following the historic Brown v. Board of Education ruling. [Editor's Note:  The MCRI does not seek to circumvent the 6/23/03 Supreme Court Ruling because that ruling did not mandate racial preferences by Michigan or any other state, and further, the Supreme Court pointedly did not say that their 6/23/03 ruling negated any existing or future state law or initiative which bans the use of racial quotas and preferences.  -- Tim Fay.]

          " 'This referendum is a direct attack on racial preferences, and racial preferences are not unconstitutional and do not per se violate the rights of whites,' Dillard said of the ballot proposal, which will go before Michigan voters Nov. 2 if the signatures of at least 317,757 registered voters are collected by July 6.

          " 'The Supreme Court said the state is allowed to pursue preferences to create a diverse society.' A preliminary hearing has been set for March 19 before Judge Sue Borman. Tim O’Brien, the campaign manager of the ballot initiative, said Monday that he had not seen the suit and declined to comment. State Rep. Leon Drolet, R-Clinton Township, called the lawsuit 'amazing.' "


Pay attention to the petitions circulating this election cycle (01-28-04)

Last known link:
http://www.detnews.com/2004/metro/0401/28/c01-48070.htm

          "Your signature on the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative’s proposal, for instance, could send a constitutional amendment banning affirmative action [Editor's Note:  actually, the amendment bans the use of racial quotas and racial preferences.  --Tim Fay.] in the college admissions process, among other things, to a full vote of the people in November.

          "Signing a petition supporting the Legal Birth Definition Act, however, could permit the Michigan Legislature to pass a veto-proof law against late-term abortion as early as this spring without the necessity of a statewide ballot.

          "While neither petition will cost voters anything out-of-pocket, both are extremely emotional issues that have been fought and re-fought, not only in courts of law, but also in courts of public opinion.

          "Herewith some background on each and how I feel about them:

          "The state constitutional amendment to ban preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in public employment, education or contracting needs 317,757 petition signatures from registered voters by July 6 to get on the November general election ballot.

          "Last year the U.S. Supreme Court, in a split decision, ruled that colleges cannot use racial quotas, or 'point' systems, to give minorities an edge over nonminorities in admissions to the University of Michigan. But the court also ruled that race could be used as a 'factor' in admissions to achieve diversity.

          "Once the high court has spoken there’s only one way to trump their ace and that’s with an anti-preference amendment to the state constitution. But to put the amendment to a vote in November, those 317,757 petition signatures are needed by July.

          "Despite a Detroit News poll that showed 64 percent of statewide voters are in favor of banning the use of affirmative action preferences, a coalition of business, government, education, civil rights and other groups is banding together to fight the initiative’s petition campaign. Once the weather warms up, you likely will see signature gatherers in most malls and supermarket parking lots.

          "Critics say that because the campaign organizer is Californian Ward Connerly, it’s not a local issue. But that’s baloney. Connerly’s just the lightning rod. I have not yet signed this petition, but I will. The Supreme Court has been wrong before."


Mass Email from the liberal, pro-quota advocacy group "BAMN" which stands for "Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action by Any Means Necessary" (01-28-04)

[Editor's Note:  BAMN does NOT support race-blind affirmative action as defined in the original, unamended Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Rather, BAMN seeks to retain racial quotas, racial preferences, and discrimination against the 'correct', i.e., non-minority, races by any means necessary.   They are a mono-focused, pro-quota group of uninformed college students who think that benefits and privileges in America MUST be assigned to preferred racial groups.   -- Tim Fay.]

FROM:  BAMN <letters@bamn.com>

Dear [recipient]:

          "Thank you for your support of BAMN's efforts to defend affirmative action. As a Michigan resident, you have an important role to play in defeating the right-wing's attempts to ban affirmative action through a state-wide ballot initiative. If we stop Connerly and his racist right-wing backers in Michigan, we stop them nationwide.

          "We have a multi-pronged approach to defeating this ballot initiative. First and foremost, we must stop MCRI (Michigan Civil Rights Initiative - the falsely named right-wing coalition that is sponsoring the anti-affirmative action referendum) from obtaining the signatures they need to get the issue on the ballot.

          "To this end, we have filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction against their petition. We have won the support of the Michigan NAACP and Michigan Democratic Party and their Coalition for a United Michigan, and they are going to join us in the lawsuit. The lawsuit outlines many flaws in MCRI's petition, however, having the correct technical arguments is not enough -- it will require a mass mobilization at the hearings for the lawsuit to create the public pressure needed to persuade the judge to rule in our favor. Please check the BAMN website regularly for upcoming court dates, and do everything in your power to attend the hearing and the picket that will precede it. If you are unable to attend yourself, think about others you know who might be able to attend and encourage them to do so.

          "Secondly, we are launching a campaign named 'Operation King's Dream' in which we will be targeting the 19 state legislators that are backing the anti-affirmative action initiative. Many of these state reps own Michigan businesses, and we are asking civil rights advocates like yourself, who live near these businesses to take a couple of hours every Saturday (or whenever it would be convenient) to picket these businesses, hand out leaflets asking local residents to boycott the businesses and not to sign the referendum petition. You can also ask local businesses that support affirmative action to place the leaflets in their windows, and go door to door in your neighborhood, giving your neighbors the flyer and asking for their support. We have already begun this campaign in Southeast Michigan, and so far we have had a great response. The webpage with all the information about the state rep nearest you, the address of their business and the leaflet you can use for the picket will! be up and running on the BAMN website in the next few days. Through this campaign we can make it clear that supporting racism doesn't pay, and dry up the funds MCRI will need to pay signature gatherers to collect the 400,000+ signatures they will need to get on the ballot. The goal is also to stigmatize this initiative as the racist piece of legislation that it is, so no one can tell themselves that they are for the initiative, but against racism and sexism.

          "In addition, we need to know where and when MCRI is gathering signatures. Please call our hotline at 313-438-3748 if you observe MCRI signature gatherers soliciting people to sign the petition. We will send out teams, where possible, to shadow the signature gatherers, explaining to the public why this is a racist and sexist referendum and why they shouldn't sign the petition. We invite you to do this as well.

          "Lastly, we need your help to identify other people throughout Michigan who would be willing to participate in Operation King's Dream that might live in the districts of some of the out-state reps. Any contacts you can provide will be helpful.

          "Feel free to call us for help with any of these tasks. If you have questions about answering arguments that arise, we are more than happy to talk the issues through with you. Just call our hotline at 313-438-3847, or write us at letters@bamn.com and we will respond.

          "Thank you again for your active support. Together, we will keep Michigan and the whole nation on the path to equality, integration and progress.

Sincerely,
Donna Stern
BAMN Coordinator


Group files lawsuit to block race ballot drive (01-27-04)

Last known link:
http://www.freep.com/news/statewire/sw91836_20040127.htm

          "DETROIT (AP) -- Attorneys have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block a state petition drive that would allow voters to decide on the future of affirmative action in universities and other public agencies.

          "Godfrey Dillard and Milton Henry, who defended the University of Michigan's affirmative action policies before the U.S. Supreme Court, sued Monday in Wayne County Circuit Court to halt the petition drive, called the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative.

          "They argued that the measure attempts to circumvent the Supreme Court ruling, as state laws initiated in the 1960s did after integration was ordered following the historic Brown v. Board of Education ruling, The Detroit News reported in a Tuesday story.

          " 'This referendum is a direct attack on racial preferences, and racial preferences are not unconstitutional and do not per se violate the rights of whites,' Dillard said of the ballot proposal.

          "A preliminary hearing has been set for March 19 before Judge Sue Borman.

          "Tim O'Brien, the campaign manager of the ballot initiative, said Monday that he had not seen the suit and declined to comment.

          "State Rep. Leon Drolet, R-Clinton Township, called the lawsuit 'amazing.'

          " 'This initiative, every word of it, is built around equal protection under the law. Their Orwellian doublespeak is laughable,' said Drolet, a key advocate of the petition drive.

          "The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative began collecting signatures Jan. 12. The question will go before Michigan voters Nov. 2 if the signatures of at least 317,757 registered voters are collected by July 6.

          "The group, with the help of California businessman and affirmative action foe Ward Connerly, targeted Michigan for the ballot measure.

          "The effort followed the U.S. Supreme Court's June 5-4 decision that the University of Michigan Law School could consider race to create a diverse population. The court struck down the university's undergraduate policy as too formulaic, and university officials revised the policy last fall to include a more comprehensive review of each application.

          "The University of Michigan is not a party to the legal challenge."


News clips courtesy of AADAP.ORG

Recommended Additional Reading:

Definition:  Affirmative Action

Definition:  Diversity


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