Inclusion imperative

Senator John Vasconcellos and Assemblywoman Sarah Reyes are co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Preparing California for the 21st Century

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

By the year 2010, three-fourths of California retirees will be Anglo, and two-thirds of our workforce will be persons of color.

Clearly, our old-age security and future economic prosperity will depend upon us having an educated workforce fully equipped to compete in the global economy.

We cannot afford to ignore any unrealized Californian any longer!

Government, working alone, cannot overcome racial and ethnic disparities. It will take each and every one of us working together to correct the 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.

Recently, our state Legislature adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 103. It declares a set of “Principles of Inclusion for a Prosperous 21st-Century California” and enumerates goals for an inclusive California by, for the first time ever, spelling out the conditions of equality, equity and inclusion.

Lest our effort become only 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, social clubs, faith communities and senior centers.

Use our principles as a basis for beginning your own conversations about California’s future and about 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. Please review our principles of inclusion on our Web site at You also may contact our Joint Committee on Preparing California for the 21st Century at (916) 322-6693.

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