March 21, 2003

Commentary

Principles of Inclusion for a Prosperous 21st Century California

By: John Vasconcellos and Sarah Reyes

Introducing Our Principles of Inclusion

The challenges of racial diversity of equity, inclusion, education and opportunity are most often presented as legal and/or moral imperatives. Now these challenges are taking on a whole new economic dimension, vital to the well-being of every Californian.

In the year 2000 California became a no-majority demographic state. By the year 2010, three-fourths of California retirees will be Anglo while two-thirds of our workforce will be persons of color.

Clearly, our old-age security and future economic prosperity will depend upon our having an educated workforce fully equipped to compete in the global economy. It is unmistakably in our self-interest to respond to this reality by assuring equity and educational opportunity for all Californians, regardless of color.

Yet, the fact remains that our health, public safety, education, economic, and other social systems shortchange disturbingly large proportions of Californians of color.

We cannot afford to ignore our unrealized Californians any longer!

Government, working alone, cannot overcome racial and ethnic disparities. It will take each and every one of us working together to correct this problem and assure the brightness of our future.

This amounts to no small challenge. Yet history has shown us that when our ”moral” and economic “self interests” converge, we are capable of truly radical, truly heroic efforts, and results.

The difficult part is determining how we accomplish this. To assist us in figuring out the “how,” our state legislature recently engaged in a yearlong bipartisan dialogue, the result of which was our adoption of a resolution declaring a vision of a California without racism. Senate Concurrent Resolution 103 declares “Principles of Inclusion for the 21st Century” and enumerates goals for an inclusive California by, for the first time ever, spelling out the conditions of equality, equity, and inclusion.

Let our effort amount to no more than a Capitol exercise, we are calling upon all Californians to engage in a similar dialogue. We encourage you to take our “Principles of Inclusion” into your homes and families, to school, work, neighborhood associations, social clubs, faith communities, Rotary Clubs, and senior centers. Use our “Principles of Inclusion” as a basis for beginning your own conversations about California’s future, our diversity, and how we can maximize inclusion. We encourage you to implement your own local strategic plans to respond to our new realities and old challenges.

Together, we can make California a beacon of hope and a symbol of racial and ethnic inclusion in its highest capacity for people around the world.

Our Joint Committee on Preparing California for the 21st Century is here as a resource for you. In turn, we hope to learn from you about how we can succeed ever more effectively in our mission of preparing California for the 21st century. Please review our “Principles of Inclusion” located on our web site at http://www.sen.ca.gov/21stCentury/. If you want to learn more, you may also contact Jamie Taylor, Consultant of our Joint Committee on Preparing California for the 21st Century, at Jamie.Taylor@sen.ca.gov or 916/322-6693.

We thank you, and we wish you, and all of us, well in this historic endeavor!

John Vasconcellos, Senate Co-Chair and Sarah Reyes, is Assembly Co-Chair on Preparing California for the 21st Century

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