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Barack and Michelle Obama Respond to Supreme Court’s Affirmative Action Decision in College Admissions

Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama expressed their personal disappointment regarding the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that significantly weakened affirmative action.

In a tweet, Barack Obama, the first and only Black president in the nation’s history, acknowledged that “affirmative action was never a comprehensive solution in the pursuit of a more equitable society” as he expressed his lamentation over the court’s decision.

“But for generations of students who had been systematically excluded from most of America’s key institutions — it gave us the chance to show we more than deserved a seat at the table. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent decision, it’s time to redouble our efforts.”

Michelle Obama said in a statement: “So today, my heart breaks for any young person out there who’s wondering what their future holds — and what kinds of chances will be open to them.”

Both Barack and Michelle Obama have achieved academic success, graduating from prestigious institutions. They both hold law degrees from Harvard, with Michelle Obama also earning an undergraduate degree from Princeton, while Barack Obama attended Columbia for his undergraduate studies.

In her writings and public statements, Michelle Obama has openly shared her personal reflections about feeling a sense of uncertainty regarding her place at Princeton, referencing the role of affirmative action. This sentiment was echoed in her recent statement concerning the Supreme Court’s ruling.

The Obamas typically refrain from commenting on current events, making their response to the Harvard and University of North Carolina case particularly noteworthy, highlighting the significance of the 6-3 ruling from their perspective.

In his statement, Barack Obama acknowledged that while affirmative action, like any policy, was not flawless, it provided opportunities for countless students, including both Michelle and himself, to demonstrate their abilities and belonging. He emphasized the collective responsibility to ensure deserving young individuals are granted equal opportunities and access to education, fostering new perspectives and growth.

Obama also encouraged support for several organizations that offer scholarships and assistance to students from diverse backgrounds. Among these organizations is Hope Chicago, led by former Chicago Public Schools chief Janice Jackson, which is dedicated to providing educational support to students pursuing post-secondary education.

The Obamas’ educational journeys serve as inspiration, and their reflections on affirmative action shed light on the importance of equal opportunities in higher education. Their call for continued support and investment in organizations fostering educational equity underscores the need for collective efforts to empower students from all backgrounds.