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June 29, 2023  |   Contact: Alicia Mercedes,

WASHINGTON – Today, the Supreme Court of the United States issued extreme decisions reversing decades of precedent on affirmative action. The court's rulings in Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. University of North Carolina jeopardize hard-fought progress for Black Americans in classrooms and beyond. 

NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson released the following statement reaffirming the Association's commitment to tools that support equal access to higher education for Black students: 

"Today the Supreme Court has bowed to the personally held beliefs of an extremist minority. We will not allow hate-inspired people in power to turn back the clock and undermine our hard-won victories. The tricks of America's dark past will not be tolerated. Let me be clear - affirmative action exists because we cannot rely on colleges, universities, and employers to enact admissions and hiring practices that embrace diversity, equity and inclusion. Race plays an undeniable role in shaping the identities of and quality of life for Black Americans. In a society still scarred by the wounds of racial disparities, the Supreme Court has displayed a willful ignorance of our reality. The NAACP will not be deterred nor silenced in our fight to hold leaders and institutions accountable for their role in embracing diversity no matter what."

Later today at noon, NAACP National Director of Youth & College Wisdom Cole, will lead a group of students and activists in a mobilization starting at the Supreme Court steps. Cole said of today's decision: 

"This is a dark day in America. Affirmative action has been a beacon of hope for generations of Black students. It stood as a powerful force against the insidious poison of racism and sexism, aiming to level the playing field and provide a fair shot at a high-quality education for all. Students across the country are wide awake to the clear and present danger encroaching on their classrooms. We will continue to fight, organize, mobilize and vote against all attempts to hold us back. We will hold the line against this clear pattern of hate. We will thrive!"

Click here to RSVP if you plan to cover today's mobilization and would like to interview Wisdom and the student activists. 



The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black America. Our legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21st century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress, our network of members across the country works to secure the social and political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions for all marginalized people. We are committed to a world without racism where Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF - was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but now operates as a completely separate entity.

The Pledge

Regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court's opinion on affirmative action may be, we are calling on colleges and universities to remain unwavering in their efforts to embrace diversity, no matter what. Commit to using innovative strategies, consistent with the law and your missions, to increase the representation and success of historically underrepresented students and subsequently advance our position as a leading academic institution.

You can do this by:

  • Eliminating racially biased entrance examinations and adopting a holistic approach that considers every aspect of an applicant's background, achievements, and potential.

  • Supporting the matriculation and retention of low-income and first-generation students through outreach programs, scholarships, mentoring, and academic support services.

  • Recruiting diverse faculty and staff who can serve as role models and mentors for our students while contributing to our curriculum and research.

  • Creating a welcoming and supportive campus climate that values diversity, stands for equity, and advances inclusion in all aspects of academic and social life.

  • Striving towards greater inclusivity by ending the utilization of legacy admissions which give advantage to children and family members of institutional alumni or donors.

  • Partnering with and supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges, Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISI), and other Minority Serving Institutions that have deeply rooted race-conscious missions.

Myths About Affirmative Action and 

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