Washington, DC — Today, Americans for a Fair Chance (AFC), a project of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund (LCCREF), launched a new public awareness campaign to educate Americans about the benefits of affirmative action. The campaign is timed to coincide with the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the University of Michigan affirmative action cases.
Entitled, “Because Affirmative Action Works,” the multifaceted campaign includes media briefings, a public service announcement, and the launch of a comprehensive online clearinghouse, www.fairchance.org.
Karen McGill Lawson, executive director of LCCREF, said, “This is a critical juncture in our efforts to preserve affirmative action. Those opposed to equal opportunity will likely seize upon the upcoming Supreme Court decisions?no matter the outcome?to continue their efforts to undermine affirmative action.”
In an effort to raise awareness on the efficacy of affirmative action, AFC began a series of events relevant to diverse communities, commencing with a student convening in May, and continuing with other briefings, including a June 18 media briefing on the importance of affirmative action for the nation’s military and national security.
The briefing will include former military leaders who will review the role affirmative action policies have played in strengthening the military academies and ROTC and the impact the Supreme Court decision could have on national security. Future briefings will highlight the support of other institutions?including corporations and institutions of higher education?for affirmative action. Additional student activities are also being planned.
AFC is also sponsoring a public service announcement campaign that features a diverse cross-section of individuals who explain how they have benefited from affirmative action. The spots are airing on the websites of several non-profit organizations and will be the focus of an online advertising campaign.
A newly designed web site, www.fairchance.org, complements the public awareness campaign. The new site is an online clearinghouse of affirmative action news and information and offers such features as Real People, Real Stories? personal stories of how affirmative action has opened the doors of opportunity; Media Watch, an interactive map of affirmative action media in each state; and a new daily online publication, Affirmative Action in the News, which collects and disseminates affirmative action-related news and information from around the country.
Wade Henderson, LCCREF counsel, noted, “The public awareness campaign will greatly assist our efforts to provide the real story of affirmative action, and to debunk the myths being advanced by those opposed to the policy.”
The Supreme Court is expected to rule in the next few weeks in two cases challenging the affirmative action programs at the University of Michigan: Grutter v. Bollinger, involving the law school, and Gratz v. Bollinger, involving the University’s undergraduate program.
Americans for a Fair Chance is a project of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund, in partnership with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc., National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, National Women’s Law Center, and the National Partnership for Women and Families, created to educate the public and the media on the ways that affirmative action benefits the nation. Founded in 1969 as the education and research arm of the civil rights coalition, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund, www.civilrights.org, promotes an understanding of the need for national policies that support civil rights and social and economic justice, and encourages an appreciation of the nation’s diversity. The FAIRCHANCE.ORG website was created through the services of Perspective Software and Design and the PSA through New Media Mill, LLC.