The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 20, 2004 - 9A
Politicians, students speak out i
support of race-conscious admissions
Continued from Page 1A
When discussing their message,
most of those at the meeting focused
on broadening the misconception
that affirmative action only benefits
blacks. Incorporating white women
- who speakers said were originally,
and arguably still are, the program's
greatest beneficiaries - was of pri-
mary concern to many of the state's
Deborah Dingell, John Dingell's
wife, emphasized the importance of
informing Michigan residents that the
amendment will have implications
for women in sports and business.
State Rep. Ruth Ann Jamnick (D-
Ypsilanti) also stressed that residents
need to "remember white women"
and agreed with one participant's
suggestion that Gov. Jennifer
Granholm should make her position
on the initiative more public.
Reaching out to residents was also a
concern at yesterday's meeting. The
challenge of expanding resistance to
the rest of the state figured most promi-
nently, though most of those present
operate out of southeast Michigan.
"We have to build a coalition -
which will not be hard in this area -
in the whole state," Ann Arbor Mayor
John Hieftje said.
Deborah Dingell, who is also vice
president of corporate relations for
General Motors, stressed reconnect-
Continued from Page 3A
ballot initiative, because I'm worried
that people will mistakenly believe that
because they won the vote it's time to
According to Edley, despite popular
belief, discrimination is still a serious
problem in America. "There are certain-
ly continuing disparities in wages for
people with identical credentials and
experience, as well as disparities in hir-
ing. There is no shortage of evidence
that there is discrimination in employ-
ment, credit and housing. These prob-
lems are still very real," Edley said.
However, he warned that eliminating
discrimination will be challenging.
"First, we must re-dedicate ourselves to
completing the racial agenda because
old discrimination is all too alive and
well, and this must change. Secondly,
our political leaders must be dedicated
to the pursuit of a society where there is
ing with the business community.
After the court decision last sum-
mer, opponents of the University's
policies berated those corporations
who issued amicus briefs supporting
affirmative action, Dingell said.
But affirmative action supporters
barely thanked them, and so now
businesses are more wary to offer
formal support - including funding
- to groups opposing Connerly,
"(The MCRI) will have a very mis-
chievous effect on education, possi-
bly on hiring. Very possibly it will
have a severe, adverse impact on
other things about which we know
not at this time," John Dingell said.
Also feeling this need educate and
persuade the public, BAMN rallied
yesterday to reaffirm its opposition to
Connerly's initiative and galvanize its
support in Ann Arbor.
"We're also at a moment at which
each and every one of you that's here
today can have a much bigger
impact on what's going on in the
future of this society than you now
realize," said national BAMN coor-
dinator Luke Massie to a crowd on
Massie addressed the persistent
inequalities in Michigan and the
nation, citing income disparities
between women and men and the dif-
ferences in school facilities between
predominantly black and mostly
Among the crowd of supporters
"(The MCRI) will have
a very mischievous
effect on education,
possibly on hiring."
- John Dingell
was Robby Saldana, a freshman at
City High School in Grand Rapids.
Coming from a predominantly white
high school whose students he char-
acterized as "gifted," Saldana says his
surroundings have impelled him to
aggressively support affirmative
"We're starting to organize an
affirmative action forum at our
school, because our school is a
majority white school and from what
I've seen, white students really don't
understand what affirmative action
is," he said.
Other students at the rally had sim-
ilar motives. LSA sophomore Monica
Smith said her support stems partial-
ly from her experience as a student at
Cass Technical High School in
"I've seen all around me really
underprivileged black people, and
then, when I go out on trips with my
family, I see how other people live.
People I see in Detroit don't even
know that they're segregated," she said.
U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Dearborn) discusses the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative during a meeting of members of the Ann
Arbor community yesterday at the Michigan Union.
BAMN, which has been an outspo-
ken opponent of Connerly and the
MCRI since the initiative was
announced in August, already has for-
mal methods of opposition in place.
LSA senior and BAMN organizer
Kate Stenvig said that the group, in
addition to boycotting Coors Brewing
Company - allegedly one of Conner-
ly's supporters - will also boycott the
businesses of all 19 state representa-
tives who support MCRI.
The most prominent business
owner who supports the initiative,
state Rep. Jack Brandenburg (R-Har-
rison Twp.), owns Blue Water Indus-
trial Supply. BAMN has already
begun to boycott his business.
"There is no shortage of evidence that there is
discrimination in employment, credit and housing."
- Christopher Edley
Co-director, Civil Rights Project at Harvard University
Continued from Page 3A
one word - yes. She went on to
stress the importance of identifying
and uprooting institutionally mediat-
"We need to address institutionalized
racism, and the other levels may take
care of themselves," Jones said.
In response to the event, LSA
Sophomore Seema Shah said, "I
thought it was really interesting and
that everyone should follow the steps
Shah added that racism greatly influ-
ences everyone's lives, so it is impor-
tant that the issue stay in the public
Lesley Hall, a graduate student in
the School of Public Health, said
she was also inspired by Jones'
"I thought she was really great. It
touched on a lot of the things that peo-
ple are afraid to face the truth on -
like how deferential difference like
institutionalized racism is there and it
is real - people are in denial of it,"
As a health manager, Hall said it is
her role to constantly ask herself
whether or not racism exists in certain
situations, and to correct any inequality
In closing, Edley encouraged students
to get involved in civil rights. "Whatever
career you may choose for yourself,
whether it be a doctor, lawyer or teacher,
let me propose an additional task - be
a dedicated fighter for civil rights. You
will make a greater person for yourself,
a better nation for your country and a
better world to live in."
Edley said that his work with civil
rights makes his career as a lawyer not
only intellectually interesting, but spiri-
tually nourishing as well.
Brown changed the face of education
forever. "I think it still would have come
about anyways, but I'm a minority too,
so there's a chance that I might not even
be here and people wouldn't know as
much about me and Indian culture," said
Engineering senior Rahul Sathe. With-
out Brown, life at the University could
be very different, he said.
Throughout the semester there will be
several more civil rights events. Univer-
sity Librarian William Gosling said the
University wants students to be aware of
discrimination. "This is our 17th year for
doing these programs because you have
to keep repeating the message. This is an
annual opportunity, in a large forum of
students, faculty and people of the com-
munity, to bring people together and
reinforce the message," he said.
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