For Immediate Release

December 1, 1995

Women's Campaign to Defeat "CCRI" Launched

Campaign Exposes “No Women Need Apply Clause

Los Angeles — More than 70 national and state women’s and civil rights organizations joined an array of prominent women in business, law, medicine, labor, education, sports and entertainment to launch the “Women Won’t Go Back” Campaign to defeat the so-called California Civil Rights Initiative. Campaign Co-Chairs Lorraine Sheinberg, Peg Yorkin, Chair of the Feminist Majority, and Prema Mathai-Davis, National Executive Director of the YWCA of the USA, announced today the formation of a statewide and national campaign to save affirmative action, and expose an extreme and hidden section of the CCRI which will expressly permit discrimination against women and girls.

“We are sounding the alarm today; the CCRI will not only gut affirmative action for women and minorities in California, but will also destroy the very foundation of California women’s rights law,” declared Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority: “This Campaign is significant not only to California, but to the nation. The architects of the CCRI have introduced similar language in 14 states and Congress. We must stop the CCRI in California before it sweeps the nation.”

“The California Civil Rights Initiative means second class citizenship for women and girls,” declared Prema Mathai-Davis, National Executive Director of the YWCA of the USA. “For the first time in its 138 year history, the YWCA, whose mission is to eliminate racism and sexism, has taken a position on a ballot initiative because this is an emergency to save women’s rights and civil rights. The YWCA urges California voters not to sign the CCRI petitions.”

Leading constitutional law scholars Erwin Chmerinsky, USC School of Law, and Laurie Levinson, Loyola Law School, discussed the impact of CCRI: “CCRI will have a devastating impact on programs to remedy discrimination against women and minorities. Gains of the past few years will be erased and additional progress will be unlikely,” explained Professor Erwin Chemerinsky. “I call ‘clause (c)’ the ‘No Women Need Apply’ clause. CCRI expressly allows discrimination against women and girls in areas where it has never been legally permitted. It will eviscerate the California constitution’s current protection against gender discrimination, making it more difficult for women to obtain legal protection,” added Professor Laurie Levenson.

“Working women everywhere in California will be hurt if CCRI passes,” said Dolores Huerta, First Vice President of United Farm Workers, and spokesperson for the Coalition of Labor Union Women. “California voters must understand that women’s jobs and paychecks are on the line in this election.”

General Contractor Martha Diaz Aszkenazy observed, “With Wilson’s roll-back of affirmative action, women construction owners are already seeing cut-backs in bidding opportunities. If CCRI passes, the 6% of contracts that women businesses currently get, will shrink to nothing. That’s why like many other Republican women, not only will I be voting against CCRI, but I will be working against CCRI.”

“This Campaign adds the voice of women to the campaigns already mobilized in the African-American, Asian-Pacific American, and Latino communities,” explained Connie Rice, Western Regional Counsel to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. “Together, we will stop the roll back of women’s rights and civil rights.”

Andrea Van de Kamp, joined by young girls carrying signs reading “Give Girls a Chance” and “Girls are Strong Too,” warned California voters, “Don’t close the doors of opportunity on our daughters’ futures. We’ve come too far. We won’t go back.”

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