Three days before the election on Nov. 3, a South Bay engineer ran 16 miles in the streets of San Jose, Campbell, and Cupertino on Saturday, Oct. 31, to draw the public’s attention to what he says is the unfairness of Prop 16.
South Bay engineer Ming Cheng started the day by joining a small rally at the corner of Blossom Hill Road and Almaden Expressway in San Jose, where they waved “No on Prop 16” signs to passing traffic. A runner for years, Cheng decided to run in the sidewalks to make his voice more visible along Silicon Valley’s busy streets.
“As far as education is concerned, Prop 16 would create more hurdles for children from poor families who want to build a good future for themselves through hard work, because they are judged not by merit but by their skin color,” he said. “Preferential treatment based on race is inherently unfair, and runs against the principles this country is built on.”
Prop 16 would repeal Prop 209, a 1996 constitutional amendment that bans preferential treatment on the basis of race and gender in public college admissions and government hiring and contracting.
The initiative is sinking in consecutive polls by the California Public Policy Institute. Fifty percent of likely Californian voters oppose Prop 16, 37 percent support it, and 12 percent are undecided, according to the organization’s October poll. Forty-seven percent of likely voters said no, 31 percent said yes, and 22 percent were undecided in the September poll.
Carrying a big “No on Prop 16” flag and an American flag, Cheng jogged through bustling business districts of the South Bay. He believed the majority of the voters agreed with him, waving to him and honking from their cars, or giving him a thumbs up from their homes by the street. Sometimes people stopped and told him they were against Prop 16 too.
“The run was totally rewarding,” he said. “It was a great way to make a statement. I am proud of this country. We can express ourselves in any way we like.”
Cheng was awarded “the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2016 for his community service. He volunteered for years at veteran hospitals.