Coalition of Bar Associations of Color

1997 Annual Meeting

Resolution Regarding Affirmative Action

WHEREAS, affirmative action efforts were initiated in 1964 to make amends for centuries of behaviors, policies and practices which excluded people of color and women from higher education and jobs and were intended to level the playing field to ensure fair access to higher education and employment;

WHEREAS, affirmative action has opened work place doors for those groups who historically have been excluded from many sectors of the economy;

WHEREAS, affirmative action is a vital component of anti-discrimination laws, works to increase opportunities for all Americans, enlarges the pool of qualified applicants, and does not require the selection of unqualified applicants;

WHEREAS, affirmative action is an effective tool reducing discrimination and benefits our economy by ensuring that the talents of all individuals are fully utilized;

WHEREAS, affirmative action remedies and policies are neither quotas nor mandates to hire unqualified persons;

WHEREAS, America is not yet a "Color-Blind" society;

WHEREAS, the playing field has not yet been leveled for a sizable number of Americans, especially women and people of color;

WHEREAS, increasing backlash against affirmative action threatens to impede civil rights progress toward a more just society;

WHEREAS, a majority of students of color currently attend segregated and high poverty public schools and that the level of segregation in the public schools has increased over the last eight years to levels that existed before the Supreme Court's first busing decision in 1971;

WHEREAS, a recent study by the Glass Ceiling Commission found that white males continue to hold 97% of senior management positions in Fortune 1000 industrial and Fortune 500 service industries;

WHEREAS, people of color and women continue to face higher unemployment, lower educational attainment, disproportionate concentration in low-paying jobs and economically declining industries, more layoffs and lower rates of business ownership;

WHEREAS, the current anti-affirmative action mobilization sweeping the Nation, including the recent passage of Proposition 209, the so-called "California Civil Rights Initiative," represents a major assault on the ability of people of color and women to secure equal access to advanced education and employment;

WHEREAS, anti-affirmative action bills and ballot initiatives have been introduced in states throughout the Nation, including but not limited to Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, and Washington;

WHEREAS, a number of similar proposals are being considered at the federal level;

RESOLVED, that the Coalition of Bar Associations of Color ("CBAC") declares its commitment to the principle of full inclusion of all members of the U.S. diverse population into the work place;

RESOLVED, that CBAC declares its commitment to the principle of unfettered, equal access to educational institutions, which is the means by which people of color can achieve the American dream;

RESOLVED, that CBAC opposes all anti-affirmative action bills and ballot initiatives being introduced and proposed in other states and in the U.S. Congress;

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the individual members of CBAC work together in order to educate their respective members and the community at large about the facts and myths about affirmative action and the value of full inclusion and multi-cultural respect and to advocate for changes necessary to realize the full participation of people of color and women throughout U.S. society.

Adopted May 9, 1997

Signed by:


    Native American Bar Association (NABA)

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