Cliff Albright and LaTosha Brown, co-founders of Black Voters Matter and April England-Albright, National Legal Director of Black Voters Matter, issued the following statement in response to SCOTUS ruling striking down Affirmative Action:
“In one term, the U.S. Supreme Court took one step forward and three steps back by creating yet another barrier to access and opportunity within American democracy for Black and Marginalized communities who have been historically oppressed in America. The Supreme Court’s 6-3 vote to strike down affirmative action is a stark reminder of just how flawed the American justice system truly is and serves as a major setback for equal opportunity in higher education today.”
“This ruling will impact the next generation of leaders in this country, stacking additional barriers for students of color, first-generation students and other students who have long been underrepresented on college campuses. This ruling will also not stop at the doors of institutions of higher learning; it will cross over into American Corporations and create an equal chilling to diversity and inclusion efforts which ensure that corporations in America are equally diverse. And Just like we saw the onslaught of voting suppressive tactics after the court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, we expect to see a vast reduction in admission of Black and marginalized communities, even though admission rates of communities of color are already low.”
“Affirmative Action was born out of the civil rights movement in the 60s, aiming to address systemic discrimination and provide preferential treatment to Black and marginalized groups. While imperfect in completely remedying discrimination in higher education, affirmative action has opened doors that were once closed, allowing them to pursue their dreams, gain valuable skills, and break the cycle of generational disadvantage. By eliminating the consideration of race in college admissions, it hinders progress toward achieving equitable opportunities for Black individuals and perpetuates existing disparities.
“And yet the highest court in the land has opted to be on the wrong side of history, appealing to White supremacist and right-wing leaders and voters seeking to preserve a version of America that benefits and uplifts White Americans to the disproportionate exclusion of Black and Marginalized communities.
“Charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law, the Court is expected to function as the guardian and objective and fair interpreter of the Constitution – and it has again failed. We must address the need to expand the court to protect Black lives and Black livelihoods. By expanding the court and implementing reforms that ensure diverse representation on the bench, we can work toward dismantling the racist and discriminatory policies and practices that will continue to have devastating effects on communities of color in this country.
“Furthermore, we must continue to protect our right to vote. This fundamental part of American democracy has a trickle down effect on every single political decision made. Today’s ruling only increases the need for progressive outcomes in the 2024 election to tip the balance of power and to ensure marginalized voters and voices will be heard.
“For our part, BVM is centered on increasing power in marginalized, predominantly Black communities. We believe that the pursuit of voter and broader civil rights, the support of voter engagement, and the dismantling of barriers to political and economic power are acts of resistance in present day form to support Black families and communities that have endured systemic racism and survived in spite of it. We will continue to invest in our communities and support those organizations and grassroots groups that stand for equity and justice in America.”