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Supreme Court's undermining of affirmative action is disappointing; fight for racial equity will continue
The National Center for Youth Law reaffirms our commitment to achieving racial justice and fairness in education

Female biology student looking into a microscope

Driven by the belief that no young person should ever be denied opportunity — educational or otherwise — because of their race, the National Center for Youth Law has advocated for the civil rights of children and youth for more than 50 years. Today, we reaffirm our commitment to achieving racial justice and education equity.

The National Center for Youth Law is deeply disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to undermine the longstanding history of affirmative action. We believe that affirmative action is an important tool to both address our nation’s history of racial discrimination and to deepen the thriving and inclusive multiracial democracy this nation must become. For decades, affirmative action has helped colleges and universities to better fulfill their academic missions by identifying talent from every background in society. Today’s decision puts the integrity of that mission in jeopardy.

Although narrow in application, the Court’s opinion harms students of color, our institutions of higher learning, and our nation by ignoring the historical and ongoing impact of structural racism. Race-conscious admissions continue to benefit all students by helping to create an environment with rich perspectives. Students are too often denied this diverse setting in their primary education due to the continued de facto segregation of our nation’s k-12 education system. As a result, the need for affirmative action is no less urgent and a college’s interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body is no less compelling than when Grutter v. Bollinger was decided 20 years ago.

Make no mistake — the work of advancing racial justice in higher education will continue. We stand in solidarity with students from backgrounds and identities that have been historically prevented from equal access to education. We will continue to stand with youth and advocate for education spaces that value, support, and seek out diverse student bodies. We urge institutions of higher education to continue to find ways to achieve diversity and ensure students of all backgrounds are welcomed and supported. And as advocates, we maintain hope that justice will prevail.