The path to racial and social justice in our country is marked by significant obstacles. Last week’s Supreme Court ruling against affirmative action presents another hurdle in achieving equity and inclusivity in American education.
This ruling threatens our concerted efforts to combat discrimination and narrow disparities within our education system. Governor Inslee’s recent words addressing this matter particularly resonate with us: “Despite these rulings, our state will persist in promoting equity in higher education and government.”
Aligning ourselves with the Governor’s vision, we remain focused and resolute. We will neither be discouraged by obstacles nor be silenced by those seeking to curtail the aspirations of young people of color. On the contrary, this ruling fortifies our resolve to carry out our mission.
The aftermath of Initiative-200, passed by Washington voters in 1998, is a solemn testament to the potential consequences of this recent ruling. In the year following its implementation, we witnessed a steep drop in enrollment amongst Black, Hispanic, and Native American students by 13%, 10%, and nearly 19%, respectively, at public universities in Washington. The stark nature of these figures underscores the scale of the challenge we face nationally.
Our collaborative approach is integral to our strategy. We pledge to work alongside our partners across sectors and agencies, leveraging every tool to eradicate discrimination in our education system. We will continue to track student success, analyze data, and share our findings to inform policy and practice.
We firmly believe that our students’ diverse backgrounds are an asset and a cornerstone of our vibrant community. Our commitment to ensuring every student’s success is unwavering, even more so in the face of adversity. We remain optimistic about the future and steadfast in our pursuit of educational equity.
By standing together, we can uphold our promise to each student—guaranteeing an opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background or circumstances.
This is our promise, and we will not waver in making it a reality.