The conservative majority of the country’s highest court announced the verdict on Thursday morning.
The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled since 1978 that schools may consider the race of applicants when seeking the educational advantages of a diverse student body, so long as they do not use a quota system.
Channel 2’s Ashley Lincoln spoke to Georgia NAACP chief Gerald Griggs on Thursday, who said the ruling was a major step backwards.
Griggs said that eliminating affirmative action programs will significantly reduce the number of minority students accepted into colleges and universities.
“It’s a dark day in American history, 60 years of work has just been undone,” Griggs said. “The first thought that came to mind was my daughter, a ninth grader who isn’t counted for who she is and the racial differences that have existed in this county for at least 100 years and whatnot.” For the Supreme Court to make this decision is a very bad decision. It throws us back into the civil rights generation.”
Groups like the Southern Christian Leadership Conference are also highly critical of the decision, saying the decision will result in less diversity in key industries like law and medicine.
“First, I think it’s an attack on African Americans and the black community,” said SCLC President Charles Steele.
Steele was no slouch in his criticism of the Supreme Court’s decision.
He insists that many qualifying black students needed affirmative action to get into schools like Harvard because some simply didn’t have the family or business connections to get into other avenues.
“How do you get into Harvard, and then people would apply who went to school with certain people but didn’t get into Harvard because of relationships,” Steele told Channel 2’s Richard Elliot.
Alba Villarreal is Communications Director for Galeo, an organization representing the Latinx community.
She worries that without positive action, many qualified Hispanics and Latinx will not be able to attend top schools, leading to fewer minority lawyers and doctors in the future — which she says is critical.
“I know a lot of people who need affirmative action to justify their application because they offer an opportunity,” Villarreal said. “We’re going to have less diversity in the areas where it’s needed. Diversity saves lives in areas like law and medicine.”
Here’s what other Metro executives and politicians had to say:
dr Bernie King:
“We shouldn’t need positive action. But we do. Because racism, especially anti-Black racism, persists in this nation’s systems, policies and institutions.”
“Until we change that, decision makers need to be persuaded to make fair decisions. This judgment prevents this mandate.”
Rep. Hank Johnson:
“Judge ‘Harlan Crow’ Thomas and five other MAGAs just slammed the college doors to blacks and browns after declaring that we now live in a color blind country. This legal activism must be countered with the passage of my law to expand SCOTUS. This decision can lead to the demise of HBCUs. We can’t allow that. Supreme Court Reform Now!”
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens:
“Today’s decision by the US Supreme Court to end affirmative action programs in colleges and universities will have a disastrous impact on families of color already struggling with economic advancement.
“To put it very simply, you have done something wrong, and I am deeply concerned at what that means for a diverse workforce like ours in the city of Atlanta.
“A quality education is a powerful tool, and my administration will continue to do its part to ensure that every child in Atlanta has the community support they need to thrive—regardless of who they are. “
Stay tuned to WSBTV.com and tune in to Channel 2 Action News NOW for the latest on this developing story.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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