Today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court striking down affirmative action in college admissions flies in the face of decades of history and ignores historical evidence that affirmative action has lessened the systemic inequity of opportunity in our higher education institutions. In limiting the efforts to promote diversity in our institutions of higher education, the court’s decision threatens our progress toward a nation where opportunity is available to all.
But this decision goes beyond gutting the admissions process – it threatens future opportunities for leaders of color. Data demonstrate the negative impact eliminating affirmative action will have on student diversity. Those aren’t just numbers. They represent people -- young people striving against systemic injustices that pre-date them by decades, even centuries. Those who say that we are or ever have been a color-blind meritocracy are either unaware of history or lost in the depths of their cynicism. This ruling can have but one likely conclusion – fewer opportunities for students of color, and more obstacles for leaders of color in our future.
That’s a loss for all of us. More equitable workplaces have positive impacts on workplace productivity and workplace cultures, and better reflect the full spectrum of our communities. This ruling also opens the door for challenges to diversity, equity and inclusion and ESG programs that have brought vitally needed changes to workplaces and institutions across the country.
Today’s decision, however, only redoubles our commitment as a foundation to our principal goal of advancing equity for all. TBF is committed to closing the gaps on our region’s greatest disparities, and to do so we must be honest about their very existence and the historical legacies that led to their creation. As Greater Boston’s community foundation, we will continue to reflect and support the rich diversity of our city, promote policies and practices that tackle the individual, systems, and root-level causes of inequity, and be a bold voice to unapologetically face challenging issues.
In the weeks and months to come, we will join with leaders ranging from business, higher education, and the military who believe that our nation’s strength and future lie in the richness of its diversity. We will continue to fund, support, and advocate for that future.