An article in The Seattle Times detailed the events of Washington state lawmakers last Sunday in which they approved a measure to overturn a 20-year-old ban on affirmative action. “I-1000 repeals Initiative 200, a measure approved by Washington voters 20 years ago. I-200 blocked the government from giving preferential treatment to, or discriminating against, people and groups on the basis of sex, ethnicity, color, race or national origin,” reads the article.
The change is proving to be highly controversial. A group opposing the new initiative quickly filed a referendum to put it to a public vote. Heated debates arising between opposing sides of the issue could continue through to November elections if the group succeeds in getting it on the ballot, which will require them to collect approximately 130,000 registered voter signatures by July 27th.
During the debate preceding the vote on Sunday, Sen. Bob Hasegawa, an Antioch University Seattle alum of the BA program, argued in favor of I-1000. “We can’t close our eyes to say there’s no racism, or there’s no institutionalized racism or institutionalized barriers because there are,” said Hasegawa. “And the statistics show up in the criminal justice system, the education system, from top to bottom.”