People of Color Led Movement Propels Governor Gavin Newsom to Victory in Recall Election


Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Associate Director for Media Relations, 415-846-7758

Katie Smith, Advancement Project California, Director of Communications, 323-997-2194

Milena Paez, NextGen Policy, Director of Communications, 916-470-8921

Brandie Campbell, Public Health Advocates, Director of Communications, 844-962-5900 x275

Marsha Mitchell, Director of Communications, Community Coalition, 323-371-4389

Mike Roth, SEIU California, 916-444-7170

— Today, Gavin Newsom won over 60 percent of the vote in his recall election to remain the Governor of California, defeating over 45 challengers who sought to replace him. His resounding victory, fueled mainly by California’s voters of color, comes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to lay bare the deep racial inequities currently exacerbated throughout this state and country.

“Our people of color led movement helped stave off this historic recall effort and propel Gov. Newsom to victory,” said John Kim, Executive Director of Advancement Project California. “Now, we must ensure that the Governor and his Administration make equity a priority by creating an Office of Racial Equity to address California’s history of policies and practices that have prevented communities of color from equal opportunity.”

The people of color led coalition represented here backs the creation of an Office of Racial Equity. SB 17, introduced in the California Senate by Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), would create this statewide Office of Racial Equity to identify and eliminate racism in state policy and address inequality in-state programs. It would also identify when California falls short on achieving economic, social, and racial justice and provide data to hold officials accountable. SB 17 would represent a crucial first step toward addressing racial inequities built up through generations of discriminatory policy choices.

According to data from Advancement Project California’s RACE COUNTS initiative, low-income Californians and people of color are less likely to have access to early childhood education programs, have health insurance, own a home, vote, and feel safe in their neighborhood. According to state data, Latino, African American, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Californians have suffered disproportionately high rates of COVID-19 deaths. The structural racism that puts people of color at a disadvantage came from deliberate policy choices, and it will take deliberate policy choices to fix it.  

“With the distraction of this recall behind us, California must get back to the business of building a more just and more equitable Golden State,” said Alvaro Sanchez, Vice President of Policy at The Greenlining Institute. “Today’s gross racial inequities didn’t happen by accident. They resulted from deliberate policy choices and systemic racism. Only new, better choices can fix them. We can start by creating a state Office of Racial Equity whose job is to embed equity in everything the state of California does.”

Over 100 organizations across the state support SB 17 and look forward to working with the Governor and the Administration to come out of this pandemic on a path where every Californian can realize the true promise of the Golden State.

“State government has a responsibility to acknowledge and address the systemic impacts of institutional racism on the people who call California home,” said Arnold Sowell Jr., Executive Director of NextGen California. “The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people of color at alarmingly higher rates and has also harshly brought to light the decades of structural inequity embedded in various policies and programs within our system of government. SB 17 proposes an important and meaningful solution to address these inequities — creating an Office of Racial Equity — and put our state farther down the road towards a more just and equitable California for all.”


NextGen Policy fights for progressive policies to address environmental, social, racial, and economic inequities in California through justice-centered legislative advocacy, grassroots partnerships, and democratic civic engagement.

Public Health Advocates brings a public health lens to today’s most pressing problems, helping communities to pass laws, reform systems, and establish norms that foster justice, equity, and health.

Advancement Project California is a multi-racial, multi-generational racial justice organization with expertise in research, advocacy, and policy. We work with partners and communities to expand educational opportunities for California’s children; create healthy and safe neighborhoods; ensure communities of color have a voice in our democracy; strengthen movement-building, and shift public investments toward programs that benefit all Californians—not just the privileged few.

The Greenlining Institute envisions a future where communities of color can build wealth, live in healthy places filled with economic opportunity, and are ready to meet the challenges posed by climate change. 

For the past 30 years, Community Coalition has worked with community members in South LA to build leadership, launch action campaigns, and create a unified voice. By working to transform the social and economic conditions that foster inequity and inequality, CoCo aims to empower everyday residents to influence and elevate public policy. For more information, please visit

Over 700,000 Californians make up SEIU in California; we work throughout the state, in all 58 counties, and we represent California in all of its diversity. We are social workers, nurses, classroom aides, state workers, security officers, college professors, home care workers, janitors, doctors, and more.