College Diversity Shaped Our Lives! ACLU Staff Explains.

The Supreme Court issued a decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin that universities remain free to pursue diversity in higher education through carefully crafted admissions programs.

This is important, because with our nation’s K-12 schools more segregated by race and class than when Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, for many students of all races and classes, college is the first time many students are enriched by a diverse environment.

Many at the ACLU have experienced firsthand how being in a diverse educational environment shaped their professional and personal lives. Here are three of their stories.

Jana Kooren

Growing up white in North Dakota, diversity often meant Norwegians, Swedes and Germans together in one place. It was not until I went to college at Hamline University in Minneapolis/St. Paul that I truly understood the scope and breadth of diversity. Hamline University provided me with the opportunities to explore what diversity means and how racism and white privilege are thoroughly imbedded into our society’s structure.

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Cecilia Wang

As the Supreme Court takes up affirmative action once again, the word “diversity” has found its way into many legal briefs. For me, it is not an abstract concept. If today I am a supportive colleague, a successful civil rights lawyer, a good citizen in the broadest and best sense, it is thanks to affirmative action.

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Brian Stull

At age four, my family moved for “better” schools from Detroit to a suburb just north of 18 Mile Road. Remember the movie 8 Mile, the story of Eminem’s emergence from Detroit’s suburban borderline? 18 mile road is 10 miles north, but 100 times whiter. With very few nonwhites, school was not a model of diversity or mutual respect.

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