Affirmative Action Statement

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Dear CORRAL Community,

The Supreme Court ruled against the CORRAL girls last week.  As stewards of CORRAL’s vision, I felt you might want to understand the decision’s impact on our youth. 

We know that you understand that it takes intention to create equity in a society. You enact this intention every time you support CORRAL with your time, talent and treasure, but it is precisely this intention that has been taken away by the Supreme Court’s ruling to end Affirmative Action in college admissions. This lack of intention affects the very youth we are all cheering toward college. We know (first hand– ask us about it!) that when you leave issues of access and equity to chance and individualized criteria, you leave the story of how our youth continue to have the odds stacked against them, to be invisible and, thus, unaccountable.   

Affirmative Action in higher education has served as the most effective (albeit not perfect) structural intervention to increase access, opportunity, and economic mobility for communities marginalized by ethnicity, race, or gender for almost 60 years. While the reality of the full impact of this decision is something that we will have to wait to see, this ruling has great potential to do damage to the decades of progress made in increasing access for all people to pursue their dreams of education. 

And while the courts ruled last week that race cannot be a decision criteria, at CORRAL, we fundamentally disagree. Because race was the factor that determined my (white) great-grandfather could make a wage, while the black folks beside him could neither be paid, accumulate wealth or gain an education. Race was a factor when my (white) grandfather came back from the war and was able to buy property and get a college degree. Race was a factor when my mother was admitted to her State college. Race was a factor when my (white) father was recruited to attend a local community college, providing him a path off the farm, out of poverty and towards a PhD. Race was a factor when my neighborhood was redlined and my family bought a farm and received a mortgage. Race is a factor when my children receive less harsh discipline in school for the same behaviors and thus have a more nurturing educational environment. After 200 years of my family gaining access to education and wealth, buying property and getting degrees at top universities, because of race, the gap has widened in wealth and educational opportunity between my white family and the children I have the privilege of serving through CORRAL. Racial inequity works like compounding interest. Sixty years of equity has not erased the first 200 of inequity. Racial equity still matters and is an essential barrier to our collective American dream. 
The hard truth is it is the kids we serve, the kids you support will be the most impacted by the aftermath of overturning this decision. For a lot of our youth, graduation and enrolling into higher education is a dream that starts once they are in our program and are able to see a direct path to opportunities that are available to them.  For 15 years, CORRAL has served as a bridge between the structural and systemic gaps that affect our youth, specifically Black and Brown kids, to having access to bright futures. We remain steadfast in our commitment to continue to dismantle the barriers that prevent students from accessing educational spaces and institutions where they belong.

While the odds that face our youth may have just gotten greater, please join me in continuing to ensure every child who comes through CORRAL’s gates has access to a very bright future. She is working hard for that future. I’m thankful that you are too.

Links to additional resources on this topic: 

The National Education Association

Press Release: Secretary of Education Miguel A. Cardona

American Civil Liberties Union

Reuters: Harvard’s Legacy Policy

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CORRAL is a faith-motivated nonprofit that equips adolescent girls in high-risk situations through a long-term, holistic program of equine therapy and education.

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