California Chamber of Commerce Endorses Prop 16

The Yes on Proposition 16 campaign announced today that the California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) endorsed Proposition 16,  the ballot measure to end California’s ban on affirmative action programs.

The announcement follows endorsements from over 25 business organizations, including the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, California Black Chamber of Commerce, California Asian Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) California.

In a statement to its members, CalChamber said, “The CalChamber Board of Directors based its decision to support Proposition 16 on the need to improve diversity and opportunity in California’s public workforce and educational institutions.”

CalChamber is the largest broad-based business advocacy organization in the state. Its membership represents one-quarter of the private sector jobs in California and includes firms of all sizes, as well as companies from every industry within the state. CalChamber has over 14,000 members, who collectively employ one quarter of the private sector workforce in California. Three-quarters of CalChamber’s member businesses have 100 or fewer employees. 

In endorsing Prop 16, CalChamber joins other major business groups endorsing Proposition 16.

“In California we believe in giving everyone — Black, White, Latino, Asian American or Pacific Islander, woman or man — an equal shot at fair wages, good jobs and quality schools,” said California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce President & CEO Julian Canete. “California needs Proposition 16. Equal opportunity programs like affirmative action will ensure that Latinos have equal access to job promotions, especially leadership positions in business — which will both fight the layoffs Latinos disproportionately face and fight wage discrimination.”

In a joint statement from both California Black Chambers of Commerce, the Presidents and CEOs, Jay King and Edwin A. Lombard III , said, “The COVID crisis is a reminder that colorblind programs rarely reach Black communities. Black people are five times more likely to be hospitalized or to die from COVID-19 than white people, Black unemployment is at an all-time high, and nearly half of Black small businesses were wiped out by the end of April. We can’t ignore the fact that race matters. Prop 16 will help dismantle systemic racism by restoring affirmative action for Black Americans and people of color in housing, business, and education that were stripped away in 1996 by Proposition 209. As the state’s largest advocate for African American businesses  we are proud to join the fight to pass Prop 16.”

“Studies show that in states that ban affirmative action, Asian Americans win the fewest contracts when it comes to local, state, and federal minority government-contracting programs,” said CalAsian President and CEO Pat Fong Kushida. “Voting YES on Prop 16 is our chance to change that. Prop 16 gives us the tools to fight racial and gender discrimination without quotas so that we can all thrive together.”

“Women contribute trillions of dollars to the US economy and California ranks number one nationally in the number of woman-owned firms, the number of employees and revenues generated annually.  But in 2020, California women are still paid 80 cents for every dollar a white man makes, and women of color are paid significantly less,” said NAWBO-CA President Vikita Poindexter. “Creating opportunities for all Californians, particularly women of color,  through Prop 16 is critical to creating  greater economic prosperity for Californians in every community in our state.”

Additional California business advocacy organizations that have endorsed Prop 16 include:  Asian Business Association, Bay Area Council, BizFed, Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce, Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles Business Council, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce,  Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Minority Contractors- Southern California, Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, Oakland Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce, Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce, Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, Sacramento Asian Chamber of Commerce, Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce, San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, Silicon Valley Leadership Group,  San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce, Crenshaw Chamber of Commerce, Greater LA African American Chamber of Commerce, Black Chamber of Commerce Inland Empire, National Black Contractors Association, and The Silicon Valley Organization.