CFER Foundation


Who we are

The Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER) is a non-partisan, non-profit 501c(3) organization established in the wake of the resounding defeat of Proposition 16 in 2020. Our mission is to safeguard and build awareness on the causes of equal rights and merit through policy monitoring, voter education, legal advocacy, rigorous research, alliance building and media outreach.

In 1996, California became the first U.S. state to amend its constitution by passing Proposition 209 which bans racial discrimination and racial preferences in public policies. Prop. 209 requires that “the state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”

Ever since its passage by way of being approved by 55.2% of the California electorate in November 1996, proponents of divisive racial identity politics have attempted, time and again, to repeal, weaken and undercut Prop. 209. One of the biggest threats came in 2020 when Prop. 16, a ballot measure sponsored by the California State Legislature to strike down Prop. 209, was presented to California voters. This time, in spite of a $31-million war chest and high-profile endorsements from the national political establishment, 57.2% of (or 9.65 million) Californian voters resolutely rejected the repeal proposal. CFER founders and members of our executive board are all veterans of the historic No on 16 Campaign, serving in various leadership positions.

CFER's journey started after the November 2020 election, as our founders realized the urgency and necessity to carry on the work of defending and promoting equality, beyond elections and into courtrooms, newsrooms and communities. The invasion of divisive and fringe ideologies in public education, in the forms of critical race theory (CRT), CRT-based ethnic studies, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and facilitated by interest groups such as teachers' unions, particularly threatens the foundational principles of equal rights and merit. Through local school district organizing and fact-based advocacy, CFER works diligently to advance educational excellence, equal treatment and national competitiveness. We are a think tank and a watchdog. We are also a resource-oriented state-level nonprofit committed to building partnerships with national, state and local groups on issues related to equal opportunity, public education and more.

Our mission and vision

What We Focus on

Equal Rights and Merit

Policy Monitoring

Monitor and analyze national, state and local legislation, policies and initiatives related to our cause and mission

Voter Education

Educate citizens and community members on pertinent issues of public interest

Legal Advocacy

Utilize the court of law to safeguard equal protection and equal treatment

Media Outreach

Raise public awareness through the court of public opinions

Rigorous Research

Conduct empirical research on relevant policy issues

Executive board

Our Operation Team

We are dedicated to advancing and educating the public on the cause of equal rights

avatar-Frank Xu


Frank Xu

Frank Xu is President of Californians for Equal Rights Foundation, co-founder of San Diego Asian Americans for Equality and board member of PUSD Community Watch. Frank served as the Statewide Finance Chair for the No on 16 campaign. He has been committing his time and effort to the cause of equal opportunity since late 2013. After organizing several rallies against discrimination towards the Chinese community, he realizes that the only way to empower the community is to serve and get involved. He was a board member of Educational Technology Advisory Committee and Budget Review Advisory Committee in Poway Unified School District. He also served as an alternate board member of County of San Diego Health Advisory Board.

avatar-Gail Heriot

Executive Vice President

Gail Heriot

Dr. Gail Heriot is Professor of Law at University of San Diego and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Dr. Heriot was a key co-chair for the 1996 Proposition 209 Campaign and co-authored the official rebuttal to argument against Prop. 209. She is a principled scholar and fierce defender of Prop. 209 as well as the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Prior to becoming an academic, Heriot clerked for the honorable Seymour Simon on the Illinois Supreme Court and practiced at law firms in Chicago and Washington, DC.

avatar-Allen Shafter

Vice President

Allen Shafter

Allen Shafter is Emeritus Professor of Astronomy at San Diego State University. Shafter is a native of southern California who did his undergraduate work in Physics at the University of California at Irvine, subsequently receiving his doctorate in Astronomy from UCLA in 1983. After leaving UCLA, Shafter spent six years at the University of Texas at Austin, initially as the recipient of a McDonald Observatory postdoctoral fellowship, and later as a Research Scientist. He then returned to southern California where he joined the SDSU Astronomy faculty in 1989, later serving as Chair of the Department from 2005 until 2017. Throughout his career in academia Shafter has championed merit-based decision making in all aspects of University operations, strongly opposing race and gender preferences in hiring and admissions decisions.

avatar-Saga Conroy


Saga Conroy

Ms. Saga Conroy is currently the Secretary and a board member of Californians For Equal Rights, also the Secretary of TOC Foundation. Ms. Conroy has rich field experience in various state-level and national political campaigns. As a proud Chinese American with solid family and cultural values, she champions strategic outreach with great leadership targeting the Asian-American community and grassroots organizing. She has strong networking capabilities to build alliances across diverse ethnic communities. She also has great experiences in media, marketing, government, and public relation fields.

avatar-Nelson Zhang


Nelson Zhang

Nelson Zhang is a social activist and one of the co-founders of San Diego Asian Americans For Equality (SDAAFE). He commits his time and effort to the community since late 2013. He has organized several rallies with more than 500 people to join. He volunteers in San Diego Asian Americans For Equality and other organizations.

avatar-Wenyuan Wu

Executive Director

Wenyuan Wu

Wenyuan Wu previously served as Executive Director of the No on 16 Campaign. Prior to that, she was Director of Administration at the Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE). She holds a Ph.D. in International Studies from the University of Miami and has authored a book (Chinese Oil Enterprises in Latin America: Corporate Social Responsibility) as well as many chapters in other books. In her official capacity, Dr. Wu has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, NBC News, NPR Boston, Boston Globe, Quartz, Ed Source, College Fix, and other prominent news sources. As a writer, she has been published on the CalMatters, Orange County Register, South China Morning Post, and Oil Price, among other outlets.

avatar-Linghui Wu


Linghui Wu

Linghui Wu received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Stony Brook University in 2013, and had worked as a research scientist in New York state for years. After moving to California, Linghui switched her career path to teach in higher education. She is currently a full-time Biology lab coordinator at Laney College and also teaches Chemistry at community colleges as an adjunct professor.

Advisory committee

Our Distinguished Advisors

We are dedicated to advancing and educating the public on the cause of equal rights

Dr. Richard Sander

Dr. Richard Sander

Economist and the Dukeminier Distinguished Professor of Law at UCLA, Author of Mismatch coauthored with Stuart Taylor, Jr. and Moving Toward Integration: The Past and Future of Fair Housing

Dr. Williamson M. Evers

Dr. Williamson M. Evers

Senior Fellow and Director of Center on Educational Excellence of Independent Institute, Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development

Hon. Tom Campbell

Hon. Tom Campbell

Honorary Co-Chair of No on Prop. 16, former US Congressman, former California State Senator, former Director of Finance for the State of California, former Dean of Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley

Mr. Manny Klausner

Mr. Manny Klausner

Vice Chair of No on 16 & Co-founder of the Reason Foundation

Dr. James Lindsay

Dr. James Lindsay

Author, mathematician, and political commentator, Founder of New Discourses

Mr. Christopher F. Rufo

Mr. Christopher F. Rufo

Writer, Filmmaker, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute

Dr. Joe Nalven

Dr. Joe Nalven

Anthropologist, Philosopher and Former Associate Director of the Institute for Regional Studies of the Californias at the San Diego State University

Mr. Eli Steele

Mr. Eli Steele

Award-winning filmmaker, director and producer

Dr. Lance Izumi

Dr. Lance Izumi

Senior Director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute, former President of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges

Mr. Michale Gonzalez

Mr. Michale Gonzalez

The Angeles T Arredondo E Pluribus Unum Senior Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, Former Speech Writer during the George W. Bush Administration, Writer and Formerly Acclaimed Journalist

Hon. Mari Barke

Hon. Mari Barke

Board Vice President at the Orange County Board of Education, Executive Director for California Local Elected Officials, Member of Hillsdale College President’s Club

Paul Cappitelli

Paul Cappitelli

San Bernardino County Sheriff Department Captain (Retired), Former Executive Director of California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training


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© 2024 Californians for Equal Rights Foundation. All rights reserved. CFER is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit recognized by the IRS.

Tax ID Number: 85-2315151