On Friday, February 26, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to adopt the Department of Recreation & Parks' "Raise The Bar" program for girls' equity in the City's sports and recreation programs.
The ACLU applauds the City Council vote, the efforts of the Department, the Board of Commissioners, and the City Council Arts, Health & Humanities Committee for demonstrating leadership in seeking to improve gender equity in the City's sports and recreation programs. The "Raise The Bar" program is the first step in ensuring that in the not-too-distant future all girls in the City of Los Angeles can fully participate in and enjoy the breadth of programs and activities provided by the City.
"This case has presented a challenge, as well as an opportunity, for the leadership in the City of Los Angeles, to show the rest of the nation that our city is committed to treating all of its young people - regardless of gender - equally, " said Mark Rosenbaum, Legal Director, ACLU of Southern California. "Our is the first case in the nation that test whether municipalities must be compelled to treat girls' sports no differently from boy's sports. We are pleased that as a result of our lawsuit, the City of Los Angeles has demonstrated its commitment to equality for girls' athletics by adopting this important program."
The "Raise The Bar" program was proposed by the City following a lawsuit (Baca v. City of Los Angeles) filed by the ACLU-SC with co-counsel from the California Women's Law Center and the law firm of Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays & Handler alleging that girls in Los Angeles did not have equal access to the many athletic and recreational programs, services and facilities sponsored by the City through its Department of Recreation and Parks. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit contended that the City had never adequately addressed the unequal and discriminatory treatment of girls who wanted to participate in City sponsored sports and recreation programs or have equal access to City owned facilities.