Middle school, high school and college students filled the court Monday, February 13, to demand that Latina/o, black and Native American students have an equal right to attend the University of California.
“Proposition 209 has created a New Jim Crow regime in California,
in which the state denies equal access to its best public universities to minority students through the modern version of poll taxes and literacy tests — University of California’s discriminatory admissions policies including the SAT exam,” said Shanta Driver, attorney and national chair of the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN).
“Closing the doors of opportunity to California’s Latina/o and black communities while attacking public higher education is a social explosion waiting to happen,” said George Washington, BAMN attorney.
“We will make sure the judges know that the new student movement at UC-Berkeley and in Oakland is fighting by any means necessary to double underrepresented minority students entering this fall,” said Matt Williams, UC-Berkeley senior and BAMN organizer. “Neither the law nor UC’s discriminatory admissions policies will stop us from making public higher education a right for all Californians.”
BAMN scored a legal victory in July 2011, winning the overturn of Michigan’s Proposal 2,
a law identical to Proposition 209, in the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court for violating the Equal Protection Clause. On February 7, 2012, the Ninth Circuit overturned California’s gay marriage ban Proposition 8, demonstrating the necessity of overturning unjust laws.
The lawsuit was filed February 2009 by the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) on behalf of 55 Latina/o, black, and other underrepresented minority students applying to UC-Berkeley, UCLA and other UC schools. The lower court dismissed the claim. Students and activists demanded a reversal of this dismissal on Monday.
The hearing to review the Sixth Circuit’s ruling upholding BAMN’s lawsuit against the ban on affirmative action in Michigan will be heard on March 7th at 1pm in Cincinnati.
Watch the Post-Hearing Press Conference with BAMN Attorney and Chairperson Shanta Driver: