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United Women in Faith: Supreme Court Decision in Affirmative Action Cases Gravely Disappointing; We Mourn But We Are Not Defeated

For Immediate Release 


NEW YORK, NY – United Women in Faith, the largest denominational organization for women, today issued a statement regarding the Supreme Court decisions in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina. The statement can be attributed to Sally Vonner, general secretary and CEO of United Women in Faith, and Elizabeth Chun Hye Lee, director of mobilization and advocacy for United Women in Faith: 

“We are gravely disappointed in this decision, which represents a massive step backwards for racial equity. We are concerned about the immense harm this decision will have on students as well as the long-term precedent of eroding affirmative action. United Women in Faith also joins the United Methodist Church, which previously issued a resolution on affirmative action, and reiterates our support for affirmative action as an important tool in efforts to achieve equity. The resolution states:  

“The implementation of affirmative action has resulted in concrete gains for people of color and women in higher education and the corporate world. However persuasive [the alleged grounds of opposition to affirmative action] seem on the surface, they tend to slough off or to ignore the persistence of significant and widespread inequalities of opportunity affecting women, ethnic and racial persons, and persons with disabilities throughout our social system. 

From the perspective represented by The United Methodist Church, the most fundamental premise underlying the concept of affirmative action is both moral and spiritual. Concern for the disadvantaged and the oppressed is a major feature of the message of the Hebraic prophets and of Jesus. According to biblical teaching, we are mandated, in the face of inhumane discrimination—whether that discrimination is intended or unintended—to do what we can to redress legitimate grievances and to create a society in which the lives of each and all will flourish. For this fundamental reason, we reconfirm our commitment to the concept of affirmative action.” 

“We are disappointed in the decision but not surprising; there has been a long-lasting campaign against affirmative action, which exists as part of a broader current backlash to historic and present-day racial and gender justice movements. In alignment with the collective body of the United Methodist Church, United Women in Faith remains committed to the principles of affirmative action as a vital tool in advancing the civil and human rights of women, people of color, and people with disabilities, while simultaneously strengthening the fabric of our whole society and enriching the lives of all persons. We have a moral interest and a practical interest in this issue. Of the National Mission Institutions we support, 5 are HBCUs.”  

“While we are mourning today’s decision, we are not defeated by it,” said Elizabeth Chun Hye Lee, Director of Mobilization and Advocacy for United Women in Faith. “We recognize that the Supreme Court has brought both high’s and low’s for the broader movements for racial justice and gender justice. Today’s low will not be our resting place. As women of faith, we will continue to work in support of affirmative action in the church and in the world.” 

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