Abney issues statement regarding U.S. Supreme Court affirmative action ruling

HARRISBURG, June 29 – Rep. Aerion A. Abney, D-Allegheny, issued the following statement regarding today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision against affirmative action programs at the University of North Carolina and Harvard University:

“I must express that although I am disappointed by the Supreme Court's recent ruling striking down affirmative action, their decision comes as no surprise. The existence of structural and systemic racism in our country is an unfortunate reality that, while not revelatory, has become increasingly evident in the times we live in today.

“Affirmative action was established to confront both implicit and explicit biases which prevented individuals from accessing opportunities available to others solely based on their race. It recognized race as one among many factors considered when evaluating an applicant, rather than the sole determining factor. Unfortunately, using a sole determining factor was often used to deny applicants prior to this policy. This policy, however, successfully dismantled barriers that countless people faced and continue to face due to racial discrimination.

“Today's ruling serves as another reminder that the system is not broken, and it operates exactly as it was designed to operate. Regardless, we will continue to work with our colleges and universities to help ensure that these institutions reflect the diversity that makes those institutions and our commonwealth a vibrant and inviting place.

“Despite the ruling, I urge everyone to find encouragement in envisioning a society not just for what it is today but how we aspire it to be in the future. I encourage us all to remain steadfast in our commitment to creating a society that embraces equality and inclusion for all. Together, we can work towards a future that transcends the limitations imposed by today's decision.”

Abney is a member of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus.