Following in the historic footsteps of their parents’ generation, college students from more than 54 campuses nationwide and in California arrived June 1, 1996 for Freedom Summer ‘96 -- a massive grassroots voter education and registration campaign to defeat the deceptive California "Civil Rights" Initiative (CCRI).
This first wave of students will be followed July 1 by a second wave and August 15 by a third. The press conference follows a five-day intensive training of the students, before deployment statewide.
Editor’s Note:Freedom Summer ‘96 is a joint project of the Feminist Majority and the NO on CCRI Campaign. Interviews with Ms. Smeal and Freedom Summer ‘96 organizers and participants are available upon request.
24-year old Colgate graduate and Freedom Summer ‘96 Campaign Coordinator Justine Andronicci explained "The students will spend the summer alerting voters -- especially women -- to CCRI’s sneak attack on California’s equal rights amendment. We intend to expose the deceipt of the California "Civil Rights" Initiative: when California voters learn it’s not about civil rights, but destroys sex discrimination laws and affirmative action programs for women and people of color, they’ll vote against it."
"We are thrilled so many young women have decided to commit their summers to the fight to save women’s rights and civil rights," said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. "Women will not be cut out of California’s constitution or the debate over affirmative action."
With over seven hundred college students signed-up to participate throughout the summer, Freedom Summer ‘96 is the largest young feminist mobilization for women’s rights in the history of the United States. Students will be trained in everything from grass roots organizing to voter registration to campaign basics to leadership techniques. Following the five-day training, student teams will be deployed in high priority areas throughout the state. Students will be joined throughout the training by 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer participants.
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