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BHN Live: Davis reviews Tulsa Massacre lawsuit and college admissions affirmative action lawsuit

What are the affects of losing Affirmative Action in college admissions? Michaele Turnage-Young explains.

By Carol Angela Davis

BHN legal and finance anchor, Carol Angela Davis, gives the run down on:

Original Feature story:

A few students fight the premise of Affirmative Action in the admissions process

The News Stories:

The Midwest has seen a boom in jail construction in recent years, but some of these jails are being built on toxic land. So far at least 23 jails have either been proposed or constructed on toxic and contaminated lands since 2020. This is a clear case of environmental racism. The intersection of Transport Road and Rockefeller Avenue in Cleveland’s Industrial Valley was the home of a massive oil refinery, and now it may become the home of a new $700 million jail. Some folks are trying to block construction of that jail on a site the Ohio government once deemed too toxic for a state prison.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, a lawsuit filed by attorneys representing three survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre was dismissed for the third time. The City of Tulsa, Tulsa County, Tulsa Regional Chamber, the Oklahoma Military Department and other entities all face accountability for their roles in the 1921 destruction of hundreds of businesses, over 1,200 homes and the killings of up to 300 black men, women and children in the wealthiest black business district in U.S. history.

Take a look at your money: the age old problem of a lack of generational wealth in the black community. In fact, generational wealth amongst African Americans is almost zero. A 2021 report from the National Association of Realtors says the Black homeownership rate has fallen to 43%, compared to 72% for whites nationally. In Iowa, the black ownership rate is 23% compared to 76% for whites. That's where Diversity and Inclusion Mortgage Loan Originator and Outreach Coordinator Bridgett Robinson comes in.

Feature Story:
Michaele Turnage-Young

Should race be a factor in college admissions?

On October 31, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether or not to overrule its 2003 opinion in a case brought by a white student who was rejected from the University of Michigan’s law school. That case is one of a series of cases that established that institutions can use race as a factor in admissions, but now the question is back on the table. The latest case argues that affirmative action penalizes white and Asian American applicants, violating their federal civil rights.

In an Ethnic Media Services briefing last week, Michaele Turnage-Young explained the detrimental affects of eliminating affirmative action, and how this case may decide the fate of many ethnic students entering prestigious colleges and universities.

Michaele Turnage-Young serves as Senior Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (“LDF”), where she litigates education cases.

Ms. Turnage Young serves as counsel in Arnold v. Barbers Hill Independent School District, wherein the Court enjoined enforcement of a dress code provision that would have confined students who wore uncut locs to in-school suspension and excluded them from school activities. The Court’s decision, which recognized LDF’s clients’ likelihood of success on their race discrimination, sex discrimination, and freedom of expression claims, has led multiple school districts to revise their dress codes to remove discriminatory language.

Ms. Turnage Young also represents 25 Harvard student and alumni organizations as amici curiae in SFFA v. Harvard, wherein she co-authored briefs arguing that the court should uphold settled law allowing universities to consider race, as one of many factors, in admissions so that universities can assemble diverse student bodies and students can enjoy the educational benefits of diversity. Ms. Turnage Young also represents amici curiae in the lawsuits concerning the admissions processes for the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Northern Virginia and for the magnet middle schools of Montgomery County, Maryland. In addition, Ms. Turnage Young represents thousands of Black children and their parents in school desegregation cases in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana. Since the onset of the pandemic, Ms. Turnage Young has advocated for schoolchildren to receive meals and instruction, leading thousands of students to begin receiving meals and instruction. Ms. Turnage Young has discussed her work on MSNBC, the CBS Evening News, the BBC World News, CSPAN, and Pod Save the People, among others.


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