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Dr. Steele Says Supreme Court Not the Last Word on Affirmative Action

Dr. Steele Says Supreme Court Not the Last Word on Affirmative Action

June 30, 2023
Press Contacts:
Jerry Thomas                                                      

A Sad Moment in America, but the Supreme Court is Not the Last Word, Says

SCLC president and CEO Charles Steele, Jr.


SCLC Leader Calls on Citizens of Faith to Lift their Collective Voice to Fight for Better Laws


ATLANTA – Dr. Charles Steele, Jr., president and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), today called on Americans, who follow the Christian faith and those who believe in a higher power, to come together and rally against the U.S. Supreme Court, whose members voted 6-3 to overturn affirmative action on college campuses in the United States.

Dr. Steele, who heads the organization co-founded and first led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said collectively the voice of righteousness will overcome the voice of racism and hate that continues to uphold practices that oppress African Americans and the nation’s poor.

“It’s a sad moment in America, and the action of the Supreme Court is an attack against the African American community, but the Supreme Court is not the last word,” Dr. Steele said. “There is a higher power. If you are Christian and believe in the trinity, The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit, or a person of faith who believes in a higher power, you have seen the works of God in our past and continuous struggle in this country to become free, equal and financially healthy as all citizens. The Supreme Court decision  keeps Black Americans oppressed and enslaved. We cannot expect God to come down from heaven and get into politics, but he will give us the collective strength to take action and let this country know we are not going to take this treatment any longer.”

It was the same Supreme Court, Dr. Steele said, that supported slavery. It was the same Supreme Court, he said, that allowed Jim Crow to last 150 years in America, and it was the same court that upheld separate but equal in the 1896 Plessy vs. Ferguson case.

Racism, he said, is the only reason the court continues to take such actions that slows the progress of Black people in a land where the same courts have always granted privileges to White Americans.

“There has always been affirmative action for white folks, but attacks on black folks,” Dr. Steele said. “Whites could go to college at predominantly white institutions when African Americans had no institutions. They still have affirmative action under legacy status, where students do not have to qualify as long as their parents or grandparents have a relationship with the school.”

Economics are behind the Supreme Court decision, Dr. Steele said. Whites control 99 percent of the wealth in this country.

“In 1878, Black folks controlled one percent of the wealth in America,” he said. “From 1878 to 2023, that wealth gap continues. They say the playing field is even. Now, how can you level the playing field when African Americans represent 40 percent of the homeless in this country, and when you are an entrepreneur, and you cannot obtain a loan from a bank? They discriminate against us in every aspect of this society.”

He added, “America must be healed from racism. The Supreme Court just exemplifies what the majority of people feel within this country, because we have not dealt with the racism to eradicate it from our society. When you talk about not wanting African Americans to know their history, there is a reason for this mindset, and it is the same mentality that led to the court’s action on affirmative action. If you do not know your history, you do not know the indicators that are moving to take you back to that enslavement that has taken place in this country. We cannot go back, so it is time to unite.”###

ABOUT THE SCLC: Established in 1957, the SCLC, whose first president was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is an international organization made up of chapters and affiliates with programs that affect the lives of all Americans: north, south, east, and west. Its sphere of influence and interests has become international in scope because the human rights movement transcends national boundaries. For additional information about the SCLC, visit www.nationalsclc.org.To arrange an interview with Dr. Steele, contact Jerry Thomas at jerry@jerrythomaspr.com, or (312) 804-7999.

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