With Wednesday’s announcement from the Secretary of State that Referendum 88 has been certified to appear on November’s general election ballot, Approve R-88 — Opportunities For All, a coalition of business, labor and community organizations that support Initiative 1000, vows to bring Washingtonians together in support of I-1000 and “ensure fairness and opportunity for all our citizens.”
This past year, the people of Washington state came together to support I-1000, gathering a record number of signatures (nearly 400,000) to petition the State Legislature to end Washington’s ban on affirmative action programs that provide equal opportunity in education, employment and contracting. I-1000 set out to ensure fair opportunities for women, veterans, people with disabilities, and all people of color. And in April, the Legislature voted to approve I-1000. Now voters will be asked to affirm I-1000 by approving Ref. 88 in November.
Approve R-88 — Opportunities For All is building a strong, robust, and diverse campaign to bring Washingtonians together around the values of inclusion, equity, and opportunity. Led by representatives of Washington’s business community and labor movement, it includes grassroots community partners and distinguished elected officials like Approve 88’s honorary chairs, former Governors Dan Evans, Gary Locke and Christine Gregoire.
“I believe I-1000 celebrates our state’s diversity and is the right action to ensure fairness and opportunity for all our citizens,” Locke said. “Contrary to some beliefs, I-1000 does not repeal prohibitions on quotas, set-asides, or preferences. I-1000 merely makes it clear that recruitment and outreach are permissible and provides opportunities for veterans, women, and minorities for consideration by universities and colleges for admission and for contracting with governments.”
Washington State Labor Council President Larry Brown and Secretary-Treasurer April Sims (joint statement): “We can’t have shared success without shared opportunity. When certain people in our community are denied chances to succeed in our schools and workplaces because of who they are, those lost opportunities and wages hold us all back. We need to say ‘no’ to discrimination and demand better wages and jobs for everyone. We need to support I-1000 by approving Ref. 88 so that everyone in our state has better wages, jobs, and affordable, quality higher education.”
Marilyn Strickland, President & CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce: “Approving Referendum 88 means expanding economic opportunity for qualified people and small businesses. It’s not a zero-sum game—it’s about growing the pie. We must affirm I-1000 because everybody should have the opportunity to be part of our prosperous economy – regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, veteran status or disability.”
Irene Plenefisch, Government Affairs Director, Microsoft: “Our workplaces and our communities are strongest when they include the most diverse range of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. We support I-1000 because it helps create an inclusive society, ensuring that everyone has full and fair access to opportunity.”
Barb Wilson, Director of Government Affairs, Vulcan Inc.: “Vulcan Inc. stands behind Initiative 1000’s commitment to inclusion. We believe in equal opportunity, without preferential treatment, for people of color, women, veterans, and people with disabilities. We’re proud to support a more equitable Washington.”
Sadiqa Sakin, President of the Seattle King County NAACP: “We need to approve Referendum 88 to preserve the people’s victory on Initiative 1000. This is about extending fair opportunities to a quality education and employment to everyone. We must uphold our state’s basic values by eliminating discrimination and ensuring fairness for all.”
Michele Storms, Executive Director of the ACLU of Washington: “Ending discrimination has been central to the ACLU’s mission since our inception almost a century ago. The state’s economy and its communities benefit when all members of society have access to employment and education opportunities without discrimination. We are proud to support I-1000 and are confident voters will uphold Washington’s values of fairness and equity this November.”