Addressing a sometimes hostile crowd, American Civil Rights Coalition Chairman Ward Connerly announced the launch of a campaign to bring a voter initiative to Michigan to end preferences based on race.
“I am pleased to join others to announce that we, the people hereby assembled, will begin a campaign to place on the November 2004 ballot what will be commonly known as the Michigan Civil Rights Act,” Connerly said today on the Diag.
The event was hosted by The Michigan Review, who introduced Connerly as “a true leader in the fight for civil rights in America.”
During his speech, Connerly said the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the University’s admissions policies is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Connerly said his group plans to start local organization of the campaign, including recruiting volunteer and paid staff, developing a fundraising campaign and recruiting local support. He said the signature gathering process will begin on September 1, and will be concluded by early next year.
He also said his group would attempt to launch the initiative in other states.
“Our crusade will not end with the state of Michigan,” Connerly said.
Connerly’s speech was followed by remarks from several supporters, including Jennifer Gratz and Barbara Grutter, plaintiffs in the recent lawsuits against the University.
Protesters, including members of The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and Integration and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary, held signs and sang chants to express their opposition to Connerly’s views.
Two BAMN members were led away from the event by Department of Public Safety officials after having been warned twice to cease their chanting during the speeches.