Affirmative Action Is How we Address Historical and Systemic Inequities

WASHINGTON— As a network of Latino/a/e environmental, conservation, and climate justice leaders, we express our deep concern over the Supreme Court’s recent attack on affirmative action. We firmly believe that affirmative action is a crucial tool for providing equitable opportunities to promote diversity and dismantle the systemic barriers that communities of color face when accessing higher education.

Following the SCOTUS ruling, GreenLatinos Founding President and CEO, Mark Magaña, released the following statement:

“This Supreme Court ruling poses a risk to the progress we have made in creating a more equitable and just society. It threatens to impede the participation of communities of color in colleges and universities across the country. We cannot afford to let this happen.

We firmly believe that every student, regardless of their racial or ethnic background, should have equal opportunities to succeed and contribute to society. Affirmative action plays a pivotal role in leveling the playing field and addressing historical and systemic inequities that persist in our educational institutions. It promotes diversity, fosters a more inclusive learning environment, and prepares students to thrive in an increasingly diverse society.

This ruling comes at a critical time when our nation is grappling with persistent racial disparities in educational attainment and representation. The impact of affirmative action policies cannot be underestimated, especially when considering the alarming consequences witnessed in California after Proposition 209 was implemented in 1996. The data demonstrates a glaring disparity between the demographic makeup of California's public high school graduates and the representation of Latinos in the University of California (UC) system. While over half of California's public high school graduates identify as Hispanic, only 25% of UC freshmen come from this background. Shockingly, the numbers are even lower at UCLA and Berkeley, with a mere 15% of freshmen being Latino/a/e.

It is difficult to overstate the impact this will have on higher education across the country. Diverse educational settings are a tool to counteract the discrimination and white supremacy woven into the fabric of our higher education system and our society. The removal of affirmative action sends the dangerous message that a diverse learning environment is dispensable.

Now more than ever, we must stand together in our commitment to fostering educational environments that reflect the rich diversity of our nation. We will continue to advocate for affirmative action and work to ensure that all students have the opportunities and support they need to succeed, regardless of their background or ethnicity."


GreenLatinos (NOTE: GreenLatinos is ONE WORD) is an active comunidad of Latino/a/e leaders, emboldened by the power and wisdom of our culture, united to demand equity and dismantle racism, resourced to win our environmental, conservation, and climate justice battles, and driven to secure our political, economic, cultural, and environmental liberation.

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