| For Immediate Release
October 7, 2004
Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA) Endorses Proposition 71
Stateís Oldest and Most Prominent African-American Womenís Political Advocacy Group Enlists in Effort to Fund Stem Cell Research
(Oakland, CA) —Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA) has endorsed a YES vote on Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative on the November 2 statewide ballot. BWOPA joins a broad coalition that includes patient advocacy, medical, business and political advocacy organizations, such as the California NAACP who endorsed the measure earlier this week.
Prop. 71 will support stem cell research at California hospitals, medical schools and universities, to develop life-saving therapies and cures for diseases that could save the lives of millions of California children and adults. The measure also has potential to greatly lower the state’s health care costs and provide a boost to regional economies and the state at large.
“Stem cell research holds the promise to treat and cure a multitude of diseases that strike millions of Americans,” said Dezie Woods-Jones, State President of BWOPA, and former Vice-Mayor and City Councilmember of Oakland. “Many of these diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, sickle cell anemia, cancer, and HIV/AIDS strike African-American women with alarming frequency. Proposition 71 will finally offer the means to help find these cures.”
The mission of Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA) is to activate, motivate, promote, support, and educate African-American women about the political process, encourage involvement, and to affirm their commitment to, and solving of, those problems affecting the African-American community. Founded in 1968, BWOPA’s state office is based in Oakland, with local chapters throughout the state.
Medical experts believe that stem cell research has the promise to treat an array of diseases and conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, ALS, sickle cell anemia, and spinal cord injuries. These conditions affect 128 million Americans, including a child or adult in nearly half of all California families.
Woods-Jones noted, “Prop 71 could benefit Californians with breakthrough treatments, while also protecting women and ensuring that the research is accountable and subject to strict ethical controls. With provisions to institute an oversight committee and install nationally recognized ethical guidelines, Prop 71 is the right way to fund stem cell research. The time for Prop 71 is right now, and California is the place.”
BWOPA joins a broad and diverse coalition of grassroots supporters endorsing Prop 71. These include groups and leaders committed to political, African-American, and women’s advocacy, such as California NCAAP and California NOW.
The coalition also lists over 20 Nobel Prize-winning scientists and medical experts, state and local elected officials, faith-based organizations, families involved in patient advocacy and efforts to cure diseases, and leading organizations and individuals who advocate for the African American community, including National Medical Association, Diabetic Amputation Prevention Foundation (and its President Dr. Bill Releford), Alzheimer’s Association California Council, California Medical Association, American Nurses Association of California, American Diabetes Association, Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California, ALS Therapy Development Foundation, Parkinson’s Action Network, California Congress of Seniors, the National Coalition for Cancer Research, Dr. Keith Black of Cedars-Sinai Health System, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congresswoman Diane Watson, Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald, Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke, Speaker Emeritus of the California Assembly Herb Wesson, Assemblymember Mervyn Dymally, and Los Angeles City Councilmembers Martin Ludlow, Bernard Parks and Jan Perry.
California’s top business groups and leaders have also announced their support of Prop 71. Endorsers include the California Black Chamber of Commerce, Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce, Operation Hope (and its President John Bryant), California Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and San Diego Chamber of Commerce. State Controller Steve Westly, State Treasurer Phil Angelides, and Reagan advisor and economic expert George Shultz have also voiced their support of the measure, citing its fiscal soundness and potential to boost California’s economy. A complete list of endorsing organizations and individuals can be found on the campaign’s website, http://www.yeson71.com/.
Proposition 71 was developed by a coalition of California families and medical experts determined to close the stem cell research funding gap. Currently, our state has no effective mechanism to fund stem cell research and political roadblocks have severely limited federal funding for some of the most promising types of stem cell research.
More information on Prop can be obtained at www.YesOn71.com.