From Co-Directors Loh-Sze Leung and Clair Minson:

The Supreme Court’s rulings that struck down race-based admissions at Harvard and at the University of North Carolina set back decades of progress toward greater diversity and inclusion in higher education. 

Affirmative action programs and policies have long been a critical tool for advancing racial equity and creating opportunities for people of color that have experienced the impacts of a long legacy of discrimination and inequity.

Both of us were dismayed by the Supreme Court’s rulings that struck down race-based admissions at Harvard and at the University of North Carolina. Dismayed, but not surprised. The rulings were the latest in a long and growing list of legislation in this country aimed at halting progress towards racial equity. Unfortunately, retrenchment is par for the course in the fight for justice.

At Workforce Matters, we continue to be committed to fostering racial equity in the workforce development community, as outlined in our Racial Equity Framework for Workforce Development Funders. We will continue to work for and support efforts leading to equitable employment and education outcomes.

We believe funders have a responsibility to consider how we are using our power, influence, grant making, and roles within our institutions to contribute to or dismantle systemic racism. An equitable workforce development ecosystem acknowledges the historical presence of structural and systemic racism that are barriers to prosperity for Black, Indigenous, Latinx/Hispanic, Asian American, Pacific Islander, and other People of Color; as well as the current policies and practices by which institutions have perpetuated that racism. 

It is not possible to achieve the goal of racial equity using race neutral methodologies or measures blind to the impacts and legacies of systemic racism.

Last week’s rulings were disappointing and unfortunate, and some fear that they will have spillover effects in other areas of education and employment. However, the simple fact is that for now, the scope of the rulings  is limited to race-conscious college admissions. 

Therefore, we encourage our members to continue investing in efforts that advance racial equity, address racial disparities, and ensure diversity and inclusion in education, training, and employment.

If you are looking for concrete actions as we move forward, we would like to invite interested funders to participate in a conversation in August to learn more about the impacts of this ruling and to discuss opportunities to use all of the tools at their disposal to increase support for advancing racial equity and justice. Please reach out to to be added to our interest list.