Dear LIFT Community,
The decisions made by the Supreme Court this week pose a great threat to the future of people of color who are seeking a better education for themselves, their families, and their communities. For decades, affirmative action has addressed the historical and ongoing systemic exclusion of students of color by encouraging their educational participation and mitigating the effects of centuries of segregation enforced in higher education. And last year’s Student Loan Forgiveness Program stood to benefit nearly 40 million Americans and would have wiped-out half of the average debt held by Black and Hispanic borrowers.
We see how a race-conscious admissions process helps level an inequitable playing field that supports LIFT members – 99% of whom are BIPOC with over 1/3 currently enrolled in educational programs – as they pursue fulfilling educations and careers. We know that an investment in parents and their education has intergenerational impacts that can help break the racialized cycle of poverty but the prospect of adding more debt to pursue higher education just adds to that vicious cycle. The future of college admissions remains uncertain as institutions will have to find new ways to recruit and retain a diverse student body population.
In these moments, it is easy to become discouraged by government leaders and institutions who as Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson notes in her dissent “detach themselves from this country’s actual past and present experiences,” but we must instead take this moment to double down on our fight for equity. We must throw out the tired tropes that those in marginalized communities are simply “lazy, unintelligent or trying game the system for unearned accomplishments.”
Justice Elena Kagan stated that “the Court decides that some 40 million Americans will not receive benefits because that assistance is ‘too significant.’ I dissent.” LIFT dissents as well, Justice Kagan. We need changes that are not ‘significant’ but radical.
We must embrace transformative changes that embrace anti-racist solutions that are direct response to historical and foundational pain and trauma.
We must operate with Hope, Money and Love as our compass, our battle cry as our fight for equity continues.