― 1 ―
HAWKINS URGES SPECIAL CIVIL RIGHTS LEGISLATIVE SESSION
FOR IMMEDIATE NEWS RELEASE
Assemblyman Augustus F. Hawkins today requested Governor Goodwin J. Knight to call a special session of the Legislature for the purpose of considering action on pressing problems of civil rights and human relations. Describing the situation as serious, Hawkins called for establishment of a new state agency to strengthen enforcement of present laws and to develop new and needed programs.
Hawkins declared that the recent troubles in Arkansas and other southern states had created serious problems in California. Citing mounting evidence in the form of increasing racial tensions in schools and vandalism against the homes of members of minority groups, he warned the Governor that agitator groups similar to the southern White Citizens Councils were now operating in California.
"Our failure to pass a Fair Employment Practices Act comparable to those now existing in most northern states has had an adverse effect; and despite the considerable number of civil
― 2 ―rights statutes enacted during the past twenty years, their enforcement has been so difficult and cumbersome as to be almost ineffective", Hawkins said.
Emphasizing the necessity of assisting newcomers arriving to work and live in California, Hawkins paid tribute to the great contribution these new citizens can make to the state's continued growth and prosperity. He declared, however, that as a result of this new population the state faces the necessity of providing training and employment as well as leadership in the many problems of adjustment.
In asking for the creation of a state agency on Human Relations, Hawkins explained that only the Governor can specify what subjects the Legislature can consider at the Special Session which is expected to be called in conjunction with the regular Budget Session in February next year.
November 11, 1957