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Newsletter: Affirmative Action, Celebrating Pride and the Freedom to Learn

The Imminent Threat of Ending Affirmative Action

The impending Supreme Court ruling on Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) v. Harvard and SFFA v. University of North Carolina will determine the future of affirmative action on college campuses. The two cases were organized  by Edward Blum, a conservative activist on a decades-long crusade to erase the consideration of race and ethnicity in higher education. If successful, the Supreme Court will overrule its prior decisions on affirmative action, going against a nearly 50 year precedent. A decision to eliminate affirmative action by the conservative leaning Supreme Court will adversely impact diversity in higher education, hinder economic mobility and have chilling effects on racial equity, diversity and inclusion efforts in corporations and sectors such as health care that continue to experience inadequate representation of Black and Brown professionals.

Black and Latino students are more underrepresented at the nation’s top universities today than 35 years ago. Eliminating or limiting affirmative action places pressure on administrators in higher education to find alternative ways to ensure diversity in colleges that they fear will be ineffective in addressing current disparities. While Supreme Court rulings over the years have limited its application in college admissions as a measure solely to ensure diverse learning environments (and not to address past racial discrimination), affirmative action has been effective in increasing access to higher education for historically marginalized groups and has reduced racial biases and prejudices among white students who benefit from a diverse student body.

The affirmative action cases in the Supreme Court align with several dangerous new precedents that erode civil rights including the recent reversal of Roe v. Wade and the growing anti-truth movement that includes book bans, dismantling of DEI offices at colleges and universities, and policies that limit classroom discussions about systemic racism, white supremacy, intersectionality, and racial and gender equity.

Decision Day Events (June 22)

Following the Court’s decision, a coalition of civil rights groups will convene on a virtual conference. The conference will be streamed live on the National Urban League’s Facebook page.

Additionally, the African American Policy Forum (AAPF) will host a virtual Roundtable of leading lawyers, scholars, activists, and thought leaders to offer a critical assessment in real time of the legal, political, and cultural landscape for racial remedies in the wake of the decision. To reserve a spot, register here.

Celebrating Pride Month

Black and Brown LGBTQ rights activists have expanded our understanding of freedom and taught us how to live authentic lives. Every Monday this month we’re highlighting activists, from leaders in the Stonewall Riots to beloved storytellers and public figures. Follow us on LinkedIn, InstagramFacebook and Twitter to check out our posts.

Organizing Spotlight

A national call to action, the Freedom to Learn campaign, has been ignited by the African American Policy Forum to collectively raise our voices against the anti-truth/anti-woke movement that threatens our democracy and antiracist efforts in schools, campuses and workplaces. With major actions including rallies in NYC and DC in May, new opportunities this month to join ongoing mobilizations include:

  • In honor of Juneteenth, the Transformative Justice Coalition and others offer a week-long Juneteenth “Stay Woke Rolling Protest” in Florida. Register here.
  • A Freedom to Learn Homeroom session will take place June 29th at 7:30pm ET. Register here.
  • People for the American Way will host the Grandparents For Truth Event on June 30 in Philadelphia at the corner of Market Street & N. The event is a rallying call to defend the freedom to learn and fight back against authoritarianism and censorship. Join partners at 9am ET for the activities.
  • From July 30 – August 3 AAPF offers Critical Race Theory (CRT) Summer School 2023 Presents: Defending the Freedom to Learn.

Follow the Freedom to Learn Network here.

Reading Lists: What We’re Reading?

Los Angeles Times | Opinion: Affirmative action isn’t hurting Asian Americans. Here’s why that myth survives
WNYC Studios | What if the Supreme Court Ends Affirmative Action?
VOA News | How North Carolina Students View the Lawsuit Threatening Affirmative Action
Forbes | Ending Affirmative Action Would Be A Terrible Mistake
The New York Times | Affirmative Action Was Banned at Two Top Universities. They Say They Need It
The New York Times| Diversity vs. Fairness

In Case You Missed It: Deepening Our Understanding of the Power of Rest

We joined the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) on IG Live for a discussion on the power of rest. Following the release of CBCF’s report entitled The Power of Rest: Examining the Racial Disparities of Sleep & its Connections to Black Health Outcomes, the discussion explored the critical role sleep plays in our everyday lives and the need to highlight its impact on racial equity.

“For Black people, a third of health related deaths are from illnesses related to and directly impacted by poor sleep. Diabetes, stroke, heart disease, cancer comprise a large proportion of health-related deaths in Black communities and we are not addressing one of the key factors to these health conditions which is rest and sleep.”
The IG Live features CURE’s Dr. Judy Lubin, a CBCF National Racial Equity Initiative (NREI) Ambassador, and the publication’s author, Solomon Ayalew. Watch the recording here.