Beth’s Corner: Looking Ahead After the SCOTUS Affirmative Action Decision

Beth Chandler
Beth's Corner Blog Graphic

I would like to congratulate our YW Boston staff on a successful Elevating Lives conference earlier this month. Thank you to our partners, sponsors, and attendees for an engaging day discussing DEI strategy as a blueprint. We made great first steps towards DEI renovation and hope that our attendees will continue the work of building their DEI strategy. 

November marks four months since the Supreme Court decision on affirmative action. While the decision to eliminate affirmative action in university admissions is concerning, it is important to note that, for now, it only impacts higher education. It also does not mean that lived experiences will no longer be part of the college application and admissions process. The decision did not say that one’s lived experiences had to be omitted from the application process and admissions essay. Lived experiences are valuable and the ruling doesn’t negate that.  

We must not overreact and overcorrect for decisions that have yet to be made in other sectors. Conservative activists are bringing forward challenges against affirmative action in other industries to create fear and confusion. We can’t let the fear caused by these groups prevent us from continuing to create more inclusive environments for people of color. In fact, organizations must double down on their efforts and follow through on the commitments made to consumers and employees in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. The influx of diversity-focused roles that grew in 2020 has since slowed down, with inclusion efforts falling to the bottom of many companies’ priority lists. Given all that is happening to try to tear down DEI efforts, this is not the time to cut back and fail to follow through; instead, businesses need to step up and continue to push for more equitable practices.  

As we head into November and Election Day, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with your local elections and ballot questions. YWCA USA’s #YWomenVote campaign has information on how to help women and people of color mobilize and participate in local elections. Register to vote if you haven’t already and take steps towards creating a more diverse and equitable Boston. 

The fight for DEI work is going to get harder, not easier. The last few months have shown us that we can’t lose our momentum. If we want to ensure that there aren’t rollbacks, we can’t stop because of the setbacks we face today.