Jesse Jackson leads march to protest Proposition 209
October 27, 1997
Web posted at: 11:23 p.m. EST (0423 GMT)
SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) -- Civil rights leader Jesse
Jackson led a march to the California state Capitol on Monday
to protest a state law barring affirmative-action programs
based on race or sex.
Thousands marched along the Capitol Mall and gathered on the
lawns of the Capitol building to hear speeches from opponents
of the law passed by California voters last year, known as
On the opposite side of the Capitol, about 100 people held a
rally in support of Proposition 209.
Jackson has campaigned energetically against Proposition
209, which bars preferential treatment based on race or
gender in public employment, education and contracting in
Jackson told the crowd no state had the right to undermine
federal civil rights protections.
"The Department of Justice, the Department of Education
and President Clinton must remind California and Gov. (Pete)
Wilson that ... no proposition which undermines federal civil
rights can prevail," he said.
Jackson also urged the marchers to put pressure on mayors
and city councils throughout California not to implement
A federal appeals court ruled earlier this year that
Proposition 209 was constitutional. Opponents have appealed
to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The multiracial crowd of marchers, including members of labor
groups and Native Americans, waved flags and held up banners
with such slogans as "Make the dream a reality. Keep marching
forward" and "See you at the barricades, Gov. Wilson."
California's Republican governor, a strong supporter of
Proposition 209, was away on vacation.
Police were out in force for the march, which was peaceful.
Ward Connerly, a leading supporter of Proposition 209,
called the march "futile."
"Jesse Jackson is asking Californians to turn back the clock
on our effort to create a more unified California. He is
fighting a losing battle," Connerly said.