Phil Gordon
By Phil Gordon, Daniel R. Ortega and Dr. Warren H. Stewart, Sr.

As Honorary Co-Chairs of Protect Arizona’s Freedom, we proudly support equal opportunity for all Arizonans. We oppose Proposition 107, an anti-equal opportunity ballot initiative which seeks to amend Arizona’s Constitution and is brought to us by California businessman and lobbyist Ward Connerly. Proposition 107 is bad for Arizona communities and it’s bad for Arizona’s economy.

Protect Arizona’s Freedom is a coalition of Arizona businesses, faith leaders, community organizations, students and education leaders formed to defeat this destructive and deceptively-written initiative when it was first brought to Arizona and four other states in 2008.

Warren Stewart
For many years Connerly has made millions of dollars running his initiative to amend the Constitutions of several states. In state after state, the Connerly campaign has faced allegations of shady and deceptive practices in forcing his initiative on state ballots. The same happened in Arizona in 2008 when a massive volunteer effort, involving thousands of Arizonans, uncovered fraudulent and illegal signature-gathering tactics. The initiative was ultimately removed from the Arizona ballot. It also failed to qualify for the ballot in Missouri and Oklahoma in 2008, and Colorado defeated the initiative that same year.

Daniel Ortega
In 2010 though, Connerly was successful in having the Arizona Legislature do for him what he couldn’t do for himself in 2008 – put an initiative on the ballot to amend Arizona’s Constitution and end equal opportunity programs in our state.

Proposition 107 would make it unconstitutional for the state (and local governments, schools, and universities) to offer any type of equal opportunity initiatives for underrepresented communities, including women, men, and people of color in Arizona, in the areas of public employment, higher education, and contracting. Far from protecting civil rights, what Connerly deceptively calls his “Arizona Civil Rights Initiative,” Proposition 107 will take away rights and freedoms.

If Proposition 107 were in the Constitution, important programs that benefit our local communities, and help underrepresented communities, including men, women and communities of color, would be prohibited.

Based on what has happened in other states which have passed the Connerly initiative, below are some examples of programs that could be eliminated in Arizona – programs which are important to Arizona’s economic future:

• The City of Phoenix Teen Parents Program. This program helps teen mothers learn life skills so they can get off welfare and provide for their children.
• Programs to encourage women to pursue academic majors and careers in science and engineering.
• Domestic Violence Prevention programs.
• The YWCA Bright Futures Program. Bright Futures is a leadership development, recognition and scholarship program for young women in Pima County. Bright Futures participants are either high school seniors who have demonstrated determination in overcoming an obstacle or Pima Community College students.
• The Summer Bridge Program which helps Native American students prepare for the academic challenges they face in college in science, math, engineering and technology.
• The Native American Achievement Program, designed to increase the graduation rates of Native American students, and the Upward Bound Program, which helps Native Americans.

Diversity in the science, technology and engineering pipeline are critical for Arizona’s economic future. Proposition 107 will hurt our state’s ability to educate and produce a diverse, talented workforce that looks like the global economy in which Arizona businesses strive to compete and expand.

We’re all in this together. Join us against this out-of-state effort to divide us at a time when we should come together.
Gordon, Ortega and Stewart, Sr., are the Honorary Co-Chairs, Protect Arizona’s Freedom – No on 107 Campaign.
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