An Open Letter to the UC San Diego Black Student Union
To All Students Fighting Racist Attacks and Racist Exclusion in UC and Standing in Defense of Public Education, BAMN congratulates the Black Student Union (BSU) and all of the black, Latino/a, Native American and other students who have waged the brave and inspiring struggle against the overt racism and hostility at UC San Diego.
We know from our own experience that each student had to reach deep inside to overcome the fears and threats and to summon the courage needed to stand up for minority students’ rights. We know as well how proud you are at having fought and won. Your fight has inspired students at the other campuses of the UC and at campuses across the nation.
Students in South Africa, Mexico and in other countries demonstrated on March 4 in solidarity with our efforts here to save public education and to oppose the increased disparities in opportunity and access based on institutional racism.Because you fought, Ward Connerly has now declared that he will be “reviewing” the settlement that you reached with the administration.
As always, Connerly says nothing about the nooses, the hoods or the climate of racism—his only concern is to end the slightest step towards restoring fairness, equality and affirmative action.
Connerly is a racist bully. But like all bullies, he can be defeated. BAMN beat him in 2001, when we built student demonstrations so powerful throughout the UC system that even he was forced as a UC Regent to vote against the ban on affirmative action in the UC system that he had campaigned relentlessly to win.
We beat him in 2003, when we organized over 50,000 young people from all across the nation to march on Washington, D.C. when the U.S. Supreme Court heard the landmark University of Michigan Grutter v. Bollinger case. We represented the student defendants in that case who stood side by side with the University of Michigan defending affirmative action, and together we won.
In 2008, when Ward Connerly announced he intended to make the November election day his “Super Tuesday” by getting anti- affirmative referendums passed in five states, we mobilized like crazy. Using BAMN’s tactics of direct action and policy of exposing Connerly’s tactic of using racially-targeted voter fraud to get his ballot referendums placed before the electorate, the new civil rights movement defeated him in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arizona, and Colorado, turning his “Super Tuesday” into his “Super Lose Day.”
In California over the past five years, we defeated Connerly’s attempts to use Prop 209 to end the Los Angeles and Berkeley School Districts’ highly successful K-12 school desegregation programs. Last month, we filed suit in California to strike down California’s Proposition 209 in the federal courts.If Ward Connerly threatens one syllable of the agreement you reached with UC-San Diego, we would be proud to provide whatever legal and political support you need to defeat him.
Connerly’s Proposition 209 remains as the crucial obstacle to our shared fight to stop the resegregation of the UC system, to increase underrepresented minority student enrollment and to restore UC’s historical commitment to educate the next generation of leaders for California and the nation. In a state that is now a majority-minority state, it is simply unacceptable to have only a tiny number of black and Latina/o students attending the UC’s.
Every successful measure we win to increase black, Latina/o, Native American enrollment, Ward Connerly denounces and threatens to file suit against. Ending this relentless attack against equality and the democratic principles of public education requires decisively defeating Ward Connerly.
Towards this end, we invite the BSU and every other progressive UC student organization, including the student governments, to join with us as plaintiffs in the lawsuit we just filed. We demand that Proposition 209 be declared unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause.
Finally, we have noted, as you have noted, that UC itself has recognized that the low number of minority students has caused the increase in racist hostility on the UC campuses and that Proposition 209 is the key barrier to increasing the number of black, Latino/a and Native American students.At the UC Regents meeting at UC San Francisco Mission Bay campus, on March 23-25 (March 23, 11:00-1:30, Commission on the Future will be raising Institutional Financial Aid Resolution for AB540 Students; March 24 and 25, 8:00AM Public Comment), we and other organizations will be demanding that the Regents put their own words into action.
We will demand that the Regents take the following three crucial steps:
use all lawful means to increase underrepresented minority enrollment immediately,
pass the Bernal-Block motion to provide UC institutional financial aid to undocumented AB 540 students, and
follow California Attorney General Jerry Brown’s lead by stating as their position in the federal court that Proposition 209 is unconstitutional and discriminatory; stand on their own 2001 unanimous resolution opposing the ban on affirmative action; and tell the plain truth that, after experimenting with all conceivable admissions policies, including instituting socioeconomic affirmative action measures, into their admissions system, Prop 209 still creates an unfathomable barrier to UC’s ability to admit thousands of fully-qualified black, Latino/a and Native American students.
Taking these simple measures would provide a system-wide body blow to the racists and bigots who are trying to drive us off our own campuses. Getting UC’s support for overturning Prop 209 and creating a UC Dream Scholarship would provide our new student movement with huge victories in our struggle to defend public education.
We can win if we can unite together all those who want to fight for equality. Join with us in the lawsuit against Proposition 209 and in demanding action by the Regents.Contact us at or (313) 468-3398 or [email protected] so that we can join together to advance our new movement’s aim to make Dr. King’s dream a reality in California and in the nation!
National Chair, Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN)