Instead of helping our struggling communities here and now, two State Senators from Los Angeles recently introduced Senate Resolution 51 in an effort to dredge up the past by reminding Latinos that 20 years ago Proposition 187 was passed by California voters.
Proposition 187, was much more than just a measure to block undocumented children from attending school. It was a political tactic used to tap into a voter sentiment that would help drive people to the polls and it created a chilling fear throughout our community.
Shortly after its passage, the federal courts determined that Prop 187 was unconstitutional and unenforceable.
But that was 20 years ago and a lot has changed since then.
This year, Republicans nominated a candidate for governor that is the son of immigrants. There are more Latinos elected in both local and state office than ever before, you can find Latinos in every profession of life, and just this year, Latinos became the ethnic majority in California.
Democrats have changed, too. Twenty years ago our communities could count on Democrats to support poor and struggling families. These days, while Latino Democrats hold leadership positions in the state legislature, that leadership hasn’t translated into meaningful gains for our Latino community.
This year, we have Latino legislators advocating for a tax on paper bags and a 20 to 70 cents increase on each gallon of gasoline. To compound that problem, California schools are ranked 46th in the nation and we have the highest child poverty rate. While Latinos make up a majority of the state population, 50% of them are graduating from High School in 4-years and only 11% graduate from college.
There is a lot of work that needs to be done in California, but instead of taking the steps to fix the problems, it is easy to see why these Democrats started to dig up and resurrect the ghost of Prop 187 – it’s so much easier to cast blame than to accept responsibility.
This latest tactic is nothing more than a political stunt. If the anniversary of Prop 187 really meant anything to these elected officials, where was the 15, 10 or 5 year anniversary resolutions? Why now and why during this election year?
In addition, how different are the tactics being employed now from those of 20-years ago? These legislators are using Prop 187 to tap into a voter sentiment to help drive people to the polls, while dividing our communities rather than working to improve their lives.