Hope remains for the future of DEI after Affirmative Action struck down

Getty Images

As the coverage of the June Supreme Court ruling striking down affirmative action practices within universities dies down, eyes have turned to other diversity practices across the U.S.

In the corporate world, DEI (diversity, equality and inclusion) programs have been on the rise since 2019 ,with companies across business fields adopting strategies seeking to promote fair treatment and full participation of all people — including groups who have been underrepresented over the course of history or faced discrimination because of their identity, background, ability, etc. 

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Chair Charlotte A. Burrows said in a statement released after the ruling,“It remains lawful for employers to implement diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility programs that seek to ensure workers of all backgrounds are afforded equal opportunity in the workplace.”

While DEI programs remain legal, according to the EEOC, the recent decision is likely to cause some corporate leaders to rethink their programs — wary of the legality of maintaining a DEI program in the current environment. 

This caution is further underscored by a litany of legal threats from right-wing organizations. America First Legal — run by Stephen Miller, a former Trump aide — put out a statement claiming that all DEI programs are illegal and has since followed with several official complaints to the EEOC against companies with active DEI initiatives. 

Hostility towards DEI has become more prevalent, but that isn’t stopping the majority of DEI leaders from continuing work within their organizations. 

Private institutions continue to maintain their commitment to DEI in the face of opposition and the global diversity and inclusion market continues to thrive

While DEI initiatives within private and public institutions are vital to maintaining a workplace that benefits all employees, work done by nonprofit organizations across New York and the U.S. continues to create a world that benefits everyone.

Organizations like the NAACP, New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) and Equality New York have made it their mission to represent and fight for the various groups of people who continue to face discrimination in their everyday lives.

The NAACP has been fighting to end racial inequality for over a century since its founding in New York in 1909. With a mission to “achieve equity, political rights, and social inclusion by advancing policies and practices that expand human and civil rights, eliminate discrimination, and accelerate the well-being, education, and economic security of Black people and all persons of color,” the NAACP is a leading example of an organization fighting for an inclusive, equitable world. 

New York based organizations like the NYCLU and Equality New York focus their efforts on New Yorkers. Equality New York works to advance equality and justice for LGBTQI New Yorkers and their families. While the NYCLU advocates for all New Yorkers to have equal access to opportunities and equal ability to participate in government decisions. 

“The fight for civil rights and liberties is made up of so many interconnected struggles. If we don’t have an array of perspectives and lived-experiences developing, directing, and driving strategies, we fall short or fail,”  said Donna Liberman, NYCLU president, when discussing the importance of DEI. “Understanding and respect across differences is essential to a strong, broad movement that can restore and strengthen democracy and build a fairer and more equitable society.”

These organizations are vital in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion across all avenues, from government representation to access to opportunities. 

In the midst of hostility towards corporate DEI initiatives, these leaders continue to persevere. Promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in all things, whether it be corporate structures or government programming is essential to creating a world where all are treated equal no matter their identity or ability.