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First Roe v. Wade…Now affirmative action. Enough is enough!

June 29, 2023

PORTLAND, OR — Today, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision that overturns decades of precedent on affirmative action. The court’s rulings in Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. University of North Carolina is a serious set-back for students of color seeking to further their education as a means to building a thriving and just future. While not a perfect tool, Affirmative Action offered a critical avenue through which the very real impacts of historic and current racial discrimination could be addressed.

We heartily agree with the sentiments in a dissenting opinion filed by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, she argues that the Court has “detached itself” from America’s experiences,“…today, the majority pulls the ripcord and announces ‘colorblindness for all’ by legal fiat…But deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life.” Race does still matter and in the words of President Biden, “Discrimination still exists in America.”

Coming a little more than a year after the court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization today’s decision strikes another blow to young women and gender expansive young people of color who were predicting further losses to their choices, rights and freedom. In the words of Genisus Holland, 21 years of age from Virginia:

“In a time of political, economic, and civil unrest, our elected officials should encourage more protections on our freedoms. Instead they encourage the seeds of distrust and betrayal yet again. Affirmative action being taken away is just another example of that.”

In response, we are doubling down on standing with and following the leadership of young women and gender expansive young people of color to persist undeterred in the fight for justice and equity.

Jeannette Pai-Espinosa
President, Justice+Joy National Collaborative

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