For Immediate Release:
June 30, 2023
WASHINGTON – As the Supreme Court adjourns for its recess, young people’s futures are in shambles. This week, a right-wing majority, including corrupt justices in the pocket of billionaires, handed down rulings on affirmative action and student loan forgiveness that perpetuate systems tilted towards the 1%, impacting millions’ ability to pursue higher education, buy a home, or support their families. The Alliance for Youth Action Network actively fights to protect students’ and young people’s lives and futures and to ensure their voices are heard in their state legislatures and at the ballot box.
Alliance Network Executive Directors and leaders issued the following statements:
From Alliance for Youth Action:
“While the Supreme Court adjourns, the Alliance Network will not rest. This week, the Supreme Court’s rulings on student loan debt and affirmative action will overwhelmingly impact the educations and futures of past, present, and aspiring students – Black and Latino students, students with disabilities, and first-generation students, especially,” said Carmel Pryor, Vice President of Communications and Engagement for the Alliance for Youth Action. “The Alliance for Youth Action Network stands united to protect and support young people. We are mobilized to defend the rights of young people to an equitable education free of student debt, and we are ready to fight, at the legislature, the courts, and the ballot box.”
From Forward Montana:
“It appears that the majority of Justices in the U.S. Supreme Court could use a history lesson on the centuries of racism that shaped this country. This rollback of civil rights precedents undermines our country’s core democratic values. Let’s be clear – the Supreme Court is taking away opportunity and access,” said Kiersten Iwai, Executive Director of Forward Montana. “These cases will have devastating impacts for decades to come. The license to discriminate and ignore racial realities will have an outsized impact to queer, trans, and BIPOC youth in rural communities, like Montana. We must build a better future where everyone can thrive.”
Learn more about Forward Montana here.
From Leaders Igniting Transformation:
“Young people across Wisconsin want and deserve opportunities to build a bright future for themselves and the generations that follow. The Supreme Court’s decision to end race-conscious college admissions and strike down President Biden’s student debt cancellation plan is short-sighted and will disproportionately harm students of color who lack equal access to educational opportunities.
For far too long, systemic barriers have shut out our communities from accessing opportunities that are critical to our ability to thrive. Without race-conscious admissions, higher education institutions will continue to maintain a society rooted in white supremacy, reserved for the powerful, privileged, and financially wealthy. All of us, regardless of our race, background, or zip code, deserve equitable access to higher education — a direct pathway to economic stability and success.
LIT and its members will continue to fight fiercely for equitable campuses and communities across Wisconsin. We will not let the Supreme Court’s decision stand in our way of building the lives we want for ourselves,” said Amanda Avalos, Co-Executive Director of Leaders Igniting Transformation.
See you at the polls.
Learn more about Leaders Igniting Transformation here.
From Minnesota Youth Collective:
“The two rulings on Affirmative Action and Student Debt Relief are a direct attack on young Black and Brown students both in Minnesota and across the country. These rulings will affect generations of Black, Indigenous, Latino, and AAPI families who deserve to have equal access to higher education and job opportunities for years to come” said Rahhel Haile, executive director of Minnesota Youth Collective, “The Supreme Court adjourns but Minnesota Youth Collective continues to fight for the right to accessible higher education regardless of race and economic status.”
Learn more about Minnesota Youth Collective here.
From MOVE Texas:
“Young Texans are worthy of leaders that work for everyone, everywhere. The conservative-controlled Supreme Court’s decisions on affirmative action yesterday, and student debt today, will have detrimental impacts on first-generation students, students from low-income households, and students of color, specifically Black and Brown folks.”
The repercussions of today’s decision will be felt across Texas where 56% of students who graduate from four-year public universities hold student debt. This could have been a decision to alleviate financial pressures for more than 3.3 million Texas borrowers who were eligible for the loan relief—instead, the Supreme Court decided to plunge millions of hopeful young people in Texas, and across the country, into further financial hardship. This comes just one day after their decision to strike down affirmative action not only attacking opportunity, but disproportionately impacting Black and Brown students while ignoring similar admission concepts permitted for legacy admits, athletic recruits, or those with familial relationships to the institution.
We are a strong, diverse, and young country–our higher education system should reflect that. Young people across race, place, gender, and background deserve an equal and fair opportunity to succeed and thrive. We know our worth and it’s time the Supreme Court does too,” said Claudia Yoli Ferla, Executive Director for MOVE Texas.
Learn more about MOVE Texas here.
From New Era Colorado:
“As we’ve seen starkly since the Dobbs decision and overturn of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court does not care about young people or our futures,” said Nicole Hensel, executive director of New Era Colorado. “In light of our Draconian Supreme Court, young people need and deserve federal champions fighting for a more equitable education system now more than ever. We have yet to see our Colorado elected officials step up to the plate to defend student debt and young people are reeling from the impacts. May we remind our federal elected officials who the real decision-makers are here: the voters, of which young people currently constitute as one-third of and our numbers keep growing. We’re committed to organizing in powerful numbers until Youth Agenda champions who are committed to canceling student debt are in positions of power across the country.”
“Millions of young people are now bracing with the reality that our higher education system was and is not for everyone,” said Christina Soliz, deputy director of New Era Colorado. “The decisions uniquely impact Black, indigenous, and other students of color by blocking a major path to build generational wealth. However, these decisions have revealed the truth that students of color have known for centuries: the American tale of education as the great equalizer is a myth. These institutions were never designed to provide opportunities for poorer, Black and brown students; they are gated communities for the white and wealthy to systematically solidify their power. But we know we are a multi-racial future and we won’t stop until we have a Supreme Court that actually represents the wills of our diverse communities.”
Learn more about New Era Colorado here.
From Ohio Student Association:
“Ohioans – across race, backgrounds, and genders – deserve the freedom to learn and thrive. We deserve to be represented in colleges, universities, and workplaces that help us reach our fullest potential.
Yesterday, an extremist Supreme Court voted 6-3 to remove race as a factor in college admissions, banning Black, Indigenous, AAPI, and Latinx students from getting a fair shot at a world-class education that will help them thrive. This harmful decision will affect Ohio students’ freedom to thrive by undermining our chances to go to world-class colleges that help us succeed in the future and get well-paying jobs where our identities and skills are truly valued and respected.
In another unprecedented decision made today, the Supreme Court ruled against the ability of the federal government to provide much-needed student debt relief for millions of Americans. This ruling attacks a critical program that would help forty million Americans by boosting the economy, decreasing the racial wealth gap, and providing a greatly-needed form of relief for minority and low-income students. Without making higher education more accessible and affordable to all students regardless of their race or income, and supporting real diversity in our classrooms, we are crippling our education system and failing our communities.
Ohio students are joining together — across race, place, and family income — to ensure we all have a fair shot at a world-class college education that will help us succeed. Whether we’re Black, brown, Indigenous, AAPI, or Latinx, we will protect our freedom to learn and thrive in Ohio, no exceptions,” said Prentiss Haney, Executive Director of Ohio Student Association.
Learn more about Ohio Student Association here.
If you would like to speak with the Alliance for Youth Action Network leaders about the fight to protect the lives and futures of students and young people, please contact Vice President of Communications and Engagement Carmel Pryor (firstname.lastname@example.org).