Underscores commitment to equity to ensure that progress gains momentum
As we finish celebrating the values of the Declaration of Independence with 4th of July cookouts and fireworks, we are ironically left with the devastating impact that three successive decisions, recently made by the United States Supreme Court, will have on the future of diversity, equality and justice in our country.
Starting first with the Supreme Court’s decision ruling that universities may not consider an applicant’s race in the admission process, the Court demonstrated its unwillingness to grapple with this nation’s complex yet undeniable history of racism. Affirmative action programs serve a critical role in addressing persistent inequities in access to higher education, housing, health care and wealth, and in ensuring an inclusive and engaged society. These programs continue to be necessary to level the playing field for those in this country who have been historically and systematically marginalized and who continue to experience direct or indirect discrimination in their daily lives. This 50 year precedent of progress was summarily undone by six Justices who failed to grasp the true meaning of equal protection under the law.
Next, in overturning the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness program, the Supreme Court delivered another blow to equity in access to higher education, particularly those in communities of color, who more often have to depend on student loans to finance their education, due to the racial wealth gap.
Last, the Supreme Court granted a business open to the public the right to refuse service to same sex couples, stripping away critical protections for the LGBTQ+ community and sanctioning, from the highest level, individual discrimination from the highest level that has not been seen in decades.
While these decisions are devastating, we at ABCD are committed to working with members of the community and our partners to ensure that progress towards equality never stops. As Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson astutely noted in her dissent in the affirmative action decision: ”The only way out of this morass – for all of us – is to stare at racial disparity unblinkingly, and then do what evidence and experts tell us is required to level the playing field and march forward together, collectively striving to achieve true equality for all Americans.”
In working towards leveling the playing field, we will continue to operate our early childhood education programs and high schools, and we will partner with local colleges and universities to elevate students who have faced discrimination due to their race and provide them with opportunities to continue their education. Through our FirstSteps, SummerWorks and numerous workforce development programs and our operation of MassHire Metro North Career Center, we will actively work to develop a diverse workforce and combat the racial wealth gap. We will continue to engage community members and partners, prioritizing the promotion of racial and LGBTQ+ equality through advocacy and the implementation of programs that celebrate the diversity of Boston and recognize the forward-thinking necessary to address past inequities.
We will not let these decisions slow us down. We recognize that progress is not always linear. In Boston, we have a history of persevering in the face of setbacks and our communities will continue to do so here and beyond.
We invite you to stand with us.
Sharon Scott-Chandler, Esq.
President and CEO