Editor’s note: This is in response to Yvonne Ward’s commentary published in the Aug. 17-23 edition of the Northwest Asian Weekly.
By James S. Chung
2019 ABAW President
The Asian Bar Association of Washington seeks to foster the exchange of ideas and information among and between its members, other members of the legal organization, and to provide a vehicle and forum for the expression of opinions and positions upon current social, political, economic, legal, or other matters or events of concern to its members.
By way of background, affirmative action is a set of laws, regulations, and policies that provide equal opportunities for historically disadvantaged and underrepresented populations. With the passage of I‐200 in 1998, Washington became the second state in the country to eliminate affirmative action, thereby prohibiting the use of race, sex, or national origin as factors in awarding state contracts, hiring employees, and admitting students.
I‐1000 seeks to reverse the course of I‐200. On its face, I‐1000 again, allows public institutions to consider race, sex, national origin, and also disability, sexual orientation, and veteran status as factors in awarding state contracts, hiring employees, and admitting students—without the use of quotas or preferential treatment.
Although the state legislature passed I‐1000 in April 2019, opponents of I‐1000 gathered enough signatures to bring the measure to a popular vote, known as Referendum Measure Number 88.
An “APPROVED” vote on Referendum 88 will approve Initiative 1000, while a “REJECTED” vote will reject Initiative 1000.
The Asian Bar Association of Washington recognizes the positive impacts of the use of race, sex, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, and veteran status as factors in awarding state contracts, hiring employees, and admitting students under I‐1000. I‐1000 is a step towards ensuring Washington state public institutions to recognize the benefits of a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace and/or campus, thus, the Asian Bar Association of Washington hereby supports an APPROVED vote on Referendum 88.