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Commentary Detail

Missouri Civil Rights Initiative Cut Off at the Pass
Commentary by: Terry Jones
Aired May 28, 2008

The anti-affirmative action petition battle ended earlier this month. The final score: social justice in Missouri one, Ward Connerly and outside intervention zero.

The proposed constitutional amendment would have banned state and local governments from correcting the past injustices created by discriminatory policies and practices. It would have deprived Missourians from setting right in the future what had been done wrong in the past.

The petitioners packaged their proposal in misleading language they called it the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative and claimed it would end discrimination. But what it proposed would have set back civil rights and perpetuated the effects of discrimination.

The social justice cause has many to thank for this victory. The WeCanMo coalition encompassing labor unions, faith-based congregations, and citizen advocacy organizations was at the forefront. Their decline-to-sign efforts were crucial.

Behind the scenes, business groups helped fund legal challenges that slowed the anti-affirmative action effort in its initial stages. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan was forthright in labeling the measure for what it really is instead of what its proponents claim it to be.

But most of all the credit goes to the hundreds of thousands of Missouri citizens who saw the deceptive proposal for what is an enormous step backwards for our state.

By not signing the petition, they kept the cause of justice moving forward in Missouri.

(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)

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Terry Jones

Terry Jones


Terry Jones is Professor of Political Science at the University of Missouri - St. Louis.

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