Groups Rally to Protect Affirmative Action in High Court Cases
Advocacy groups, students, and supporters of affirmative action rallied at the Supreme Court yesterday morning as the high court considered two lawsuits on the subject. The National Organization for Women (NOW), the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the National Associate for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), and United for Equality and Affirmative Action (UEAA) gathered with thousands of demonstrators to promote the effort of primary and secondary schools to achieve racial diversity with affirmative action policies.
The cases heard by the Supreme Court yesterday, Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education, both challenge the legality of using affirmative action to effectively desegregate public schools. In the first case, a Seattle, Washington school board had a policy that allowed students to chose the school they would prefer to attend, but balanced admissions so as to achieve a racial balance within 10 percentage points of its overall enrollment, the Chicago Tribune reports. In the second case, the school board in Jefferson County, Kentucky considered race when assigning students to schools so as to have an African American enrollment between 15 and 50 percent of the entire student body.
According to the AP, CNN, and the Chicago Tribune, five of the nine Supreme Court justices seem to lean towards the elimination of race-based programs that aim to achieve integrated school populations. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, along with Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, and Stephen Breyer, appeared to be more sympathetic to affirmative action programs and the importance of racially balanced schools. Said Justice Bader Ginsburg of the necessity of such programs, "It's very hard for me to see how you can have a racial objective but a non-racial means to get there," CNN reports.
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SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
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