Meeting with Mr. John Carlson

Mr. Carlson led a successful campaign that passed Initiative 200, Washington Civil Rights Initiative, in 1998. Outspent by 5 to 1, I-200 won 59% of votes. It won in 38 of the state’s 39 counties and almost carried King County as well. 

20 years later, in 2018, Washington state legislators quietly introduced bill SB 6406 wanted to repeal I-200.  Last Wednesday morning, we managed to sat down with Mr. Carlson at a Belltown coffee shop to get his thoughts on SB 6406.

Our conversation started with I-200.  “It’s about principle, the most deserving should get the job, the most deserving should get into college. Bringing back a race-based admissions system would be divisive and wrong,” said Mr. Carlson. “Right now, almost 1 out of 4 students at University of Washington are Asian Americans. If I-200 is overthrown, Asian families will likely be the ones most hurt.”

We then told Mr. Carlson that Asian American community was ignored by WA legislators hence not able to testify against the bill at the public hearing. “The other side had the bill prepared and had lined up people to testify. I was the only one who testified against the bill, and that was because I was alerted by a concerned legislator. When politicians try to sneak bills through, they know they are doing something they should not be doing.” said Mr. Carlson. 

We pulled up the computer and discussed SB 6406 and several other bills (SB 6508, HB 2927). The word “Equity” was all over the places. “Equity is not equality. Equity means identity politics.” said Mr. Carlson. “We should be judged as individuals, not as representatives of a particular race, gender or nationality.”

We managed to put a brake on the bill’s passing in February, with grassroots efforts. Some legislators received over 900 emails opposing the bill in less than 48 hours. Our fight for Equal Opportunity for All has just begun. We thank Mr. Carlson for his thoughts and time.

We welcome people that believe our belief to join us to fight for Equal Opportunity for All.  Join Us!

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