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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 8, 2019
SOS Press Office
SACRAMENTO, CA – Twenty-Five years ago today, Californians went to the polls to vote on Proposition 187 (Prop 187)—a measure that would bar undocumented immigrants from receiving any public benefits such as health care, education, and social services. Prop 187 passed 58.92% to 41.08% but was subsequently stopped in court. The California State Archives, a division of the California Secretary of State’s office, has released a digital exhibit examining the campaign surrounding Prop 187 and the impact the measure had on California politics over the past quarter century.
“Proposition 187 changed everything for my family and for our community,” said Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State. “Like so many others, my parents immigrated to the United States and after years and years of living, working, and paying taxes here, they were finally moved to apply for citizenship — not just to protect themselves, but so they could register and vote. And I realized quickly, that as a citizen, I not only had the right, but an obligation to register and vote and organize others to do the same.”
“I believe it is an important time for us to reflect upon the legacy of Proposition 187 on California, because of this moment in national politics. Much of the rhetoric coming out of the White House surrounding immigration reminds me of the Proposition 187 campaign. If we want to look at where the nation is headed, we must examine the past 25 years in California,” Padilla added.
“Looking Back at Proposition 187 Twenty-Five Years Later” is the State Archives’ nineteenth online exhibit to be hosted by Google Arts & Culture. This exhibit describes the inception, campaign for, protests against, passage, and ultimate halting of Prop 187—one of California’s most contentious ballot initiatives ever. The exhibit details the cultural and political context of the Golden State at the time, and the key players in the battle over Prop 187, using documents, photographs, and video footage from the State Archives and multiple outside collections and sources.