Affirmative action is a set of public laws and policies designed to help eliminate past and present discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It was enacted to eliminate discriminatory hiring practices and to promote equal employment opportunities. Affirmative action was designed to make a positive step into American Business life. Steps were taken to increase the representation of women and minorities in the area of employment, education, and businesses from which they have been historically excluded. Major companies have to abide by the Affirmative Action laws. They are required to fulfill a specific quota. However, discrimination still exist in today's workplace and that is where most of the Affirmative Action laws are not obeyed. Looking back over the past ten years several powerful corporations have been sued for racial discrimination in the workforce., for example; Denny's, Coca-Cola and Texaco to name a few.

A lot of people including some Africa Americans believe that we would be better off without government assistance and /or special programs. They feel that special treatment keeps people from reaching their full potential and that Affirmative Action creates more racial conflict than benefits. I disagree. Affirmative Action has been and always will be crucial to the African American race and people of color. Affirmative Action would not be needed if we started with a level playing field and equal access to opportunities in education, employment, housing, and contracting. For example, if African Americans were initially allowed to be educated, they would have gained social-economic parity, but this was not the case. Today, racial economic disparity still exists. Today, the playing field is still not level. We as African Americans still have a long way to go. Without these laws, we will gradually drift back into slavery and fall deeper into poverty with little or no help from the federal government.

Today, Affirmative Action is being threatened by the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative Committee (MCRI) who is working toward a proposal for the 2006 ballot that will make changes to the Michigan constitution to exclude public employers, public contractors, and public education from discrimination or granting special treatment based on race, ethnicity, gender, or national origin. Various groups like the NAACP and BAMN have protested this initiative because they believe people who signed the petition to get the proposal on the 2006 November ballot were tricked into believing that it would protect Affirmative Action programs. BAMN is a coalition to defend Affirmative Action, Integration, immigrants, and to fight for equality By Any Means Necessary. MCRI is calling it a civil rights initiative, when its real purpose is to change or eliminate various programs under the Affirmation Action laws and programs that the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and the 1960’s secured.

Unfortunately, (MCRI) has succeeded in obtaining more that 500,000 signatures from Michigan residents to place on this years ballot a proposal to amend Michigan constitution to ban public institutions from using affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on race, gender, or national origin for public employers, education and contracting purposes. Public institutions affected include state government, local government, public colleges, universities, community colleges and local school districts.

At the NAACP’s Fight for Freedom Fund dinner” Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick welcomed the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative ballot by saying “ We will affirm to the world that affirmative action will be here today, it will be here tomorrow, and there will be affirmative action in the state forever”. This ballot proposal must not pass. We must inform our young people and other ethnic groups to oppose changes to the Affirmative Action laws and take a stance to see that our efforts are not ignored. A “NO” vote on the MCRI's ballot proposal will ensure that the goals made possible by Affirmative Action will not be eroded. Please join an exclusive team of concerned citizens to address this issue.

Please contact waltonmack@sbcglobal.net or call 231-745-4110