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(Proposition 54)

When Californians go to the polls on October 7 to decide whether to remove Gov. Gray Davis from office, they will also vote on a measure that if approved, would prevent the state, including public colleges, from collecting and using information on race and ethnicity.

Known as CRECNO (Classification by Race, Ethnicity, Color or National Origin) and backed by Ward Connerly, the University of California regent who successfully promoted referendums in California and Washington to ban affirmative action, the measure was originally scheduled to appear on the primary election ballot in March 2004.

But under state law, the measure must be on the next statewide ballot, which is now slated for October 7. The special recall election was certified for the ballot recently. The shift left supporters and opponents of the referendum only11 weeks to mount their campaigns.

They Say: ATP Graduates

CABWHP interviewed four graduates of the Advocate Training Program - Karen Anthony, Adesuwa Ogiamien, Gina Raymond- Embry and Lois Newell about their experience.

CABWHP: What made you want to be a part of the Advocate Training Program?

Karen: I was interested in learning more about policy issues.

Gina: Well, it.s funny how life evolves and unfolds like you need it to. I had been looking previously for opportunities to work with people who are committed to the issues in under served communities. So when I received the information on the Advocate Training Program it was ideal. I thought, .Wow this is interesting.  . Since I have been studying psychology and have been involved in the social sciences, I thought .how does one become involved in public policy issues?. This was the ideal opportunity for me to gain additional knowledge to enable me to apply my social studies background in a way that was going to influence public policy.

CABWHP: Has the training helped you? If yes how?

K: I learned how to advocate.

Adesuwa: The training has definitely helped me... By exposing me to legislative processes that exist in California and what you can do if you were interested or passionate about pursuing bills and legislation that affect the health of Black women and the delivery of healthcare for Black women. The different trainings and the different speakers who came in showed us what the legislative process was and what to do if we wanted to get a bill passed. G: The way it helped me most is by validating my observation, that there are other people out there that are interested and committed and concerned about the same things that concern me. Another way that it has been helpful is that it has successfully connected me and has provided me with a support group and additional resources. I know how to go about writing a press release now. I can actually sit down and generate goals and know how to go about achieving them. Lois: Yes, I know how to reach policy makers. to gather and read background information and learn how to approach policymakers.

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