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WHEREAS, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Grutter v. Bollinger that Affirmative Action is necessary for realizing democracy in a nation that is growing increasingly diverse and multicultural; and
WHEREAS, California businessman Wardell Connelly has arrived in Michigan and launched a misleading and deceptive campaign to amend Michigan's Constitution to outlaw Affirmative Action and nullify the Court's decision; and
WHEREAS, this false and divisive campaign has and will continue to stir and exploit gender bias and racial resentment; and
WHEREAS, this deceptive campaign, led by the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI), is certain to have broad and far reaching, unintended consequences and will irreparably harm the ability of all Michigan residents to enjoy a fair chance in education and employment, and will cripple the efforts to create gender and racial diversity in key areas including health care, education, and law enforcement; and
WHEREAS, the MCRI's efforts exactly mirror the efforts led by the American Civil Rights Initiative to defeat Affirmative Action in California with Proposition 209 and Washington State with Initiative 200; which turned back the clock on the gains in civil rights, establishing the rights of women, people of color, and all Americans to enjoy the rights and privileges articulated in the thirteenth, Fourteenth and Nineteenth Amendments; and
WHEREAS, the Michigan State Conference of the NAACP has forged an alliance with One United Michigan to defend and preserve Affirmative Action in Michigan. The coalition encompasses over 200 organizations and corporations, including: UAW, AARP of Michigan, Detroit Renaissance, Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity, Michigan ACLU, Michigan Education Association, Detroit Regional Chamber, National Women's Political Caucus, Michigan Catholic Conference, and Leadership Conference on Civil Rights; and
WHEREAS, the Association of Michigan Universities, through delegation from the Youth and College Division of the Michigan State Conference of the NAACP, has agreed to openly promote Affirmative Action policies and outreach programs throughout its membership which includes all 15 of Michigan's public institutions of higher education; and
WHEREAS, the Michigan State Conference with its 27 adult branches and 14 youth and college chapters, support the legal challenge of the 500,000 plus signatures submitted by the MCRI to the Michigan Board of Canvassers in a suit filed by the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary, also known as BAMN; and
WHEREAS, some of these affidavits were signed by NAACP members, including Ruthie Stevenson, president of the Macomb County, Michigan NAACP Branch, who signed an affidavit stating that a signature gatherer for MCRI approached her to sign a petition with the fraudulent claim that the president of the Macomb County Branch supported the petition when in fact President Stevenson was strongly opposed to this anti-affirmative action proposal; and
WHEREAS, the Michigan Board of Canvassers has scheduled a hearing to take place on July 19th, to determine the validity of the petitions submitted by the MCRI and may place this issue on Michigan's 2006 Electoral Ballot; and
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP affirms its support for the work of the Michigan State Conference, and its units to reject any and all attempts to amend the Michigan Constitution to end Affirmative Action; and
THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP supports the efforts of civil rights groups and progressive organizations in Michigan to mobilize supporters to attend the July 19th hearing and urges representatives of the Michigan State Conference and all affected Michigan units and their members to present testimony at said hearing and sign affidavits if they signed a petition for MCRI obtained through fraudulent and deceptive means; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP will work to identify resources in Michigan and all state conferences to defend Affirmative Action and to defeat such deceitful and fraudulent proposals like MCRI wherever and whenever they occur in our nation.