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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Activists rally for diversity in higher education

- by Robinson Romero

On Monday, October 10th, Alliance for Justice rallied alongside civil rights leaders, academics, self-proclaimed “affirmative action babies,” parents, students and other activists who support the University of Texas’ affirmative action policies outside the U.S. Supreme Court. The rally was held in conjunction with oral arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas.

The case of Fisher v. University of Texas is but one of many high-profile cases the Court will hear this term. Fisher revisits the issue of college affirmative action policies and will determine whether they are constitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

As the justices heard oral arguments inside the Court, demonstrators assembled along the steps of the Supreme Court to exercise their First Amendment rights to send a simple message: Diversity matters!

Starting as early as 7 a.m., speakers infused energy and life into the crowd, shouting chants and invigorating listeners with impassioned speeches. Speakers reaffirmed the continued need for affirmative action policies in education today, but they also served to remind us of the not-so- distant past - a past marred by segregation, institutional racism, and inequality. And they reminded us that these problems persist today. They reminded us that this was not simply a black or white issue, but an issue that extended to all Americans, including women, Latinos, Asian Americans, LGBTQ people, and other historically-marginalized groups.

Regardless of whether the demonstrators actually affected proceedings in the Court or the outcome of the case, the rally should be remembered as a symbolic message to the people of the United States that we must continue to fight to ensure equal justice for all and to support equal access to education.

Robinson Romero is AFJ's Outreach Intern 

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