Fisher Case: Fight for Diversity Not Over

Your Take: Ruling recognizes affirmative action as a fragile success, says the writer. But work isn't done.

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How could African Americans be expected to ascend to the ranks of leadership without first having had opportunity? How could legislators and policymakers be expected to govern together without first having had a chance to learn from one another? And how could residents of every race and ethnicity be expected to respect their elected institutions if they do not reflect their own lived experience and voice?

Despite notable progress, the threat of retrenchment, in the form of a retreat from the promise of diversity and opportunity, is still real. Our work is not yet complete. Stark racial disparities in education continue to limit opportunity for African-American students, from elementary school through college. So schools like the University of Texas should be urged to do more, not less, to develop creative policies that open and maintain access to higher education for all of our nation's students. They should consider all barriers to higher education across the spectrum, including recruitment, admission, retention and graduation.

And just as our work as a nation remains undone, so, too, does our work remain undone in the Fisher case. LDF has represented the Black Student Alliance at the University of Texas at Austin since the early stages of the case. Now, as the case goes back to the lower court, LDF will continue to lift up the voice of these students who know better than most that it takes continued vigilance to ensure that the gains of the past translate into the promise of the future.

Damon T. Hewitt is the director of the Education Practice Group for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

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