The Leadership Conference is working diligently to see that Tom Perez is confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Perez is an eminently qualified public servant and consensus builder who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and have the opportunity to succeed. He has served with integrity and distinction at the local, state and national level, compiling an outstanding record of achievement.
Students Across the Country Celebrate National Take Affirmative Action Day
Feature Story by civilrights.org staff - 10/30/2003As part of "National Take Affirmative Day" (NTAAD), the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund/Americans for a Fair Chance (LCCREF/AFC) joined the United States Students Association (USSA) and the NAACP Youth and College Division today in urging college administrators to reaffirm their commitment to achieving diversity at colleges and universities.
"Today, students have taken on the role as educators on campuses nationwide to bring attention to the discrimination and barriers women and students of color face in higher education," said Anjali Thakur, LCCREF/AFC field manager.
Students participated in NTAAD by holding a range of activities nationwide to show their commitment to affirmative action as one tool to increase diversity in higher education. Earlier this year, in a closely watched decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the University of Michigan Law School's affirmative action program, holding that student body diversity is a compelling state interest that can justify considering race as a factor in university admissions. Building on the Supreme Court decision, students taking part in NTAAD sent a message to their college administrators and public officials to take steps to improve and expand affirmative action programs.
"We are happy to support such a great example of student activism and co-sponsor National Take Affirmative Action Day," said Wade Henderson, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights executive director and LCCREF/AFC general counsel.
"The Court," said Henderson, "has sent a clear message – ongoing discrimination and other barriers to equal opportunity in higher education can be addressed by affirmative action programs that take race into consideration."
Student activities taking place across the country to support critical affirmative action initiatives included demonstrations, rallies, town hall forums, and phone banks.
"We are not alone in recognizing the importance of diversity and affirmative action in our society today," Thakur said. "This same conclusion has been reached by a variety of audiences including America's civil rights community, America's educators, the nation's most distinguished military leaders, and America's most prominent CEOs."
One of the co-sponsors, USSA, applauded the efforts students took to increase access to higher education.
"We demand [that] colleges and universities pursue equal opportunity programs to the full extent of the law," Nicholas Centino, USSA student of color campus diversity project coordinator, said in a statement. "Colleges and universities with a serious commitment to equal opportunity and diversity must put substantial resources towards efforts to recruit and retain underrepresented students."
Another sponsor, the NAACP Youth and College Division, encouraged students also.
"This is a national day of solidarity for students fighting for racial justice in higher education," Brandon Neal, NAACP Youth and College Division director, said in a statement. "'Take Affirmative Action Day' builds support for the solutions necessary to ensure equal opportunity."
Students from about 80 campuses nationwide, including the University of Michigan, University of California at Berkeley, University of Colorado at Boulder, Tennessee State University, Tulane University, the University of Florida at Gainesville, and the University of North Carolina at Asheville, took part in NTAAD.