The Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER) has filed a lawsuit against the city of San Francisco and several other government entities over guaranteed income programs that discriminate based on race, according to a press release issued by the group on Thursday.
The lawsuit challenges the City and County of San Francisco, the San Francisco Unified School District, the University of California San Francisco, and the California Health and Human Services Agency over four government programs that provide routine basic income payments to individuals based on their race. CFER argues that such preferential treatment on the basis of race violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and California’s state constitution.
“In 2020, 9.65 million Californian voters resoundingly rejected racial preferences by voting down Prop. 16. But the progressive status quo seems to be unconcerned with observing the law and following public will,” said Wenyuan Wu, a spokesman for CFER.
The four guaranteed-income programs the CFER is challenging include:
- The Abundant Birth Project (APB), which provides unconditional cash supplements (up to $1,000) to Black and Pacific Islander mothers as a strategy to reduce preterm birth and improve economic outcomes for our communities.
- The Guaranteed Income for Trans People (GIFT), which provides low-income transgender San Franciscans with $1,200 each month, up to 18 months, with priority given to Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC) applicants.
- The Guaranteed Income Pilot for Artists (GIPA), which provides 190 artists of particular races and gender expressions monthly payments of $1,000 for up to 18 months.
- The Black Economic Equity Movement (BEEM), which selects 300 Black young adults ages 18 to 24 to receive $500 per month for one year.
According to CFER, the four targeted programs include California’s Abundant Birth Project, which offers unconditional cash payments of up to $1,000 to black and Pacific Islander mothers to reduce pre-term births. San Francisco’s Guaranteed Income for Trans People provides up to $1,200 per month for 18 months and prioritizes black, indigenous people, and people of color. The lawsuit also challenges the Guaranteed Income Pilot for artists, which CFER claims gives preference based on race and gender expression, and the Black Economic Equity Movement, which offers $500 per month for a year to black individuals aged 18-24.
“The California Constitution unambiguously prohibits public agencies from treating individuals differently on the basis of race,” stated Frank Xu, president of CFER, in a press release. “But these entities ignore the law and offer race-preferential programs under the disguise of equity. We are proud to participate in this historic legal challenge to safeguard equal treatment as the lead plaintiff.”
CFER is being represented by the American Civil Rights Project, which is advocating on behalf of CFER and the individual taxpayers who have joined the lawsuit.