The Effective End of Affirmative Action

At the end of June, the Supreme Court rendered a decision which effectively ends affirmative action practices in college admissions. 

“Affirmative action seeks to remedy historic wrongs by considering race. Rather than using race to exclude people of color, affirmative action expands opportunities for those who have been intentionally marginalized.” -Dr. Jemar Tisby

We understand why many in our network are feeling pained by this decision. On its face, admission to an institution based on merit alone sounds reasonable. However, this approach fails to recognize the uneven playing field that has been set throughout our history. The spirit of affirmative action programs is to counter the historical disadvantages overtly and covertly created to privilege certain races, ethnicities, and classes above others. The end of this program in college admissions signals a lack of priority to understanding and closing the racial gap in our education system. 

We do not yet know how college admissions will be affected by this decision, but we believe the ruling removes a safeguard for ensuring historically disenfranchised groups are given consideration for past injustices. As people who care about racial justice, we believe addressing racial gaps and historic injustices must continue in spite of this court decision. 

Additionally, the need to consider race in education neither begins nor ends with college admissions. Various systemic barriers exist which diminish equity in education and make access to education more difficult for people of color. With this in mind, here are several ways to continue to work toward the spirit of affirmative action:  


“…the Supreme Court’s decision does not need to dictate the diversity within our schools. We all can take small steps to make our society a more just and equitable place where all students have access to education, employment, and belonging.” -Amy Julia Baker

As ever, we believe in the need to engage complex issues from a biblical perspective. This engagement requires understanding and dialogue. We have compiled a short list of affirmative action-related resources which we hope will spur further research and conversation. 


  • …for the communities who are feeling the effects of this decision and who will feel those effects in the years to come.  
  • …for restoration, renewal, and change in the ongoing work of racial justice and reconciliation.  
  • …for a Christlike heart to see those who feel unseen and care for those who feel uncared for. 


  • Promote the need to further understand the history of the racial gap in education. 
  • Advocate for policies and programs which increase funding and educational opportunities in underserved communities.  
  • Donate to schools committed to addressing these needs. 

“We must remain steadfast about the realities of racism and be willing to make changes to overcome new challenges that emerge as we strive to become the Beloved Community.” -National Council of Churches

We recognize there has been a delay in our response to this ruling. As a largely majority culture organization serving a largely majority culture network, we have had the luxury and privilege to choose whether to address this decision and to take time crafting a response. This is not true for many members of our network or our nation.   

We also understand that we will not be viewed by our words alone, but by our actions. We will continue to pray, learn, and grow as we work alongside our brothers and sisters in pursuit of racial justice. 

July 18, 2023
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