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“Our country has never been colorblind. Given the lengthy history of state-sponsored race-based preferences in America, to say that anyone is now victimized if a college considers whether that legacy of discrimination has unequally advantaged its applicants fails to acknowledge the well-documented 'intergenerational transmission of inequality' that still plagues our citizenry.”- Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson dissenting, Students for Fair Admissions, INC v. President and Fellows of Harvard College 

Dear Friends,

Like many, I have been anxiously anticipating and bracing myself for the decision made by the Supreme Court today to gut Affirmative Action since the oral arguments in October. The Court’s majority added to a shameful list of decisions that reverse equitable progress, perpetuate systemic racism, and decimate protections ensuring equal rights and opportunity for the most marginalized and vulnerable in America. Further, it adds to a very specific and grotesque history of the U.S. Supreme Court undermining and stunting equal rights for Black Americans. 

The effects of this decision cannot be overstated. We can look to the 2007 Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle and the chilling effect such a decision had on diversity efforts in K-12 admissions. The almost prophetic prose of Justice Breyer’s over 70-page dissent alongside his over 20-minute long oral dissent from the bench that day comes to mind. His dissent both forewarned of the re-segregative consequences of such a decision and condemned the decision for undermining progress toward the fulfillment of the promise of Brown v. Board of Education. In closing, Justice Breyer said: 

“And in light of those challenges they [the school districts] here ask us not to take from their hand the instruments that they have used to rid their schools of racial segregation– instruments that they believe are still necessary to overcome the problems of cities that are divided by race and poverty. Plurality would decline their modest request. Plurality is wrong to do that…We have not yet realized the promise of Brown. To invalidate the plans under review here is to threaten the promise of Brown…This is a decision that the court and the Nation will come to regret, I must dissent.” 

In the United States, despite significant increases to the diversity of the overall student population, our schools and communities remain segregated across racial and socioeconomic lines. In New York City, we remain one of the most segregated school systems in the country. Today’s decision eliminates a crucial tool officials in higher education had at their disposal for realizing an equal, just and integrated society.

And while this opinion creates a daunting obstacle for colleges and universities who value and understand the benefits of a diverse student population, history also shows us that race-neutral alternatives, while not as effective, are still both plausible and possible. Once again, parallels can be drawn between this opinion and the PICS case addressing K-12 admissions, and more importantly, the lessons learned. While incredibly damaging for furthering integration in K-12 schools, PICS was not the death knell to combatting school segregation. There are examples across the country of schools and districts turning to innovation and race-neutral indicators to support diversity. New York Appleseed, for one, has firsthand experience spearheading successful campaigns for policies and programming that have chipped away at pernicious levers of segregation present in NYC. And although we keep a very close eye on local and national attempts to further dismantle tools we have in the K-12 arena to address segregation, we remain confident and dedicated to our mission and purpose to further school and community integration across NYC and state. 

Oftentimes historical wrongs conjure powerful dissents and rallying cries that inspire others to fight harder for fairness, equity, and inclusion. In high school classrooms across the country, there are likely students considering college applications now enraged by a decision that impacts their opportunity and access to higher education–they will fight back. There are college admissions offices across the nation that will uphold diversity as a value for their institution and will find innovative ways to affirm this value within the new standards set by law. In law schools across the nation, I wager that today’s decision will inspire a new generation of lawyers to choose a career in civil rights and social justice. And for many nonprofits such as our own, today’s backsliding only reaffirms our purpose to advocate for integrated schools and communities.

New York Appleseed stands in solidarity with our counterparts in higher education today. I hope many of you will continue to read the rest of this newsletter and find joy and inspiration in the recent actions we have taken to further equity and integration in schools. I also ask those who are able, to consider a donation to further support our work.



Staffing Announcements

Welcome, Rochelle!

Rochelle Du joins New York Appleseed as the Integrated Schools Project Coordinator after working as an English teacher in Taiwan for 2 years. As a second-generation immigrant who grew up in a predominantly white suburb, she witnessed firsthand the lack of culturally-sensitive education and thus strived to create sustainable change for current and future learners, especially those coming from marginalized backgrounds. She was a member of the Community of Volunteer Educators and helped develop innovative academic programming to reduce educational inequities, expanded access to equitable learning opportunities, and managed a virtual afterschool program during COVID-19. Additionally, she volunteered at East Harlem School at Exodus House teaching Mandarin Chinese, reading, writing, and math to elementary school students. Excited to marry her passions of social justice and education, Rochelle is using her voice and privilege to advocate for equitable integration, culturally-responsive education, and generational abundance. Rochelle holds a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in Linguistics and minored in Education from Binghamton University.

Farewell, Lena!

Integrated Schools Associate, Lena Dalke, says farewell to Appleseed as she moves across the country to relocate with her family in Oakland, CA. She is thankful for the past three and a half years with New York Appleseed and the opportunity to work with students, teachers, families and other allies towards a more equitable and integrated school system in New York. Now she is excited to further her education justice work by building out her coaching practice with Roots ConnectED, through which she will be supporting school communities with anti-bias education practices that create spaces of belonging and increase access to learning opportunities for students.

We're Hiring a Program Coordinator for our PTAlink project!

New York Appleseed is seeking a part-time coordinator to support programming aligned with our recently acquired project serving parent leaders in New York City–PTAlink ( The coordinator will help with outreach and designing workshops for members of PAs/PTAs, and also provide technical assistance on PTAlink’s website. This position will report directly to the executive director and work in partnership with Appleseed’s Integrated Schools Project Coordinator.

Find full job description here.

Recent Events

In recognition of the 69th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, Appleseed co-led an interactive community discussion with the Coalition of Asian American Children and Families and the Coalition for Educational Justice on May 11th. "In Solidarity for Integration," highlighted how NYC perpetuates segregation despite being such a diverse city and how multiracial solidarity is key to creating integrated and inclusive school communities.

On May 17th, Appleseed co-hosted a presentation of Epic Theatre Ensemble’s “Between the Lines” performance with NYU Metrocenter. This original play that students developed and performed, exposed past and present housing policies such as redlining and opportunity hoarding that have upheld school segregation. After the performance, there was an engaging interactive discussion with the audience and performers about the play and lived experiences.

On June 7th, we kicked off our first webinar of the "The Road to Integration: School Segregation and the Ongoing Fight for Racial Equality" series with Texas Appleseed, the Appleseed Network, Dr. Holme of the University of Texas at Austin, and IntegrateNYC student directors, Melanie and Kashaun. NY Appleseed's executive director, Nyah Beg, facilitated the webinar, covering topics ranging from equity-based frameworks that support integration to amplifying youth voices in the fight for integration. It ended with a call to action: how have your opinions about integration changed/evolved from when you were youth to now? With more than 40 people in attendance, the webinar was a great success and a beginning to the series. Stay tuned for the date of the second one!

Upcoming Events

The Pillars of Justice Celebration in September toasts the incredible impact our honorees have made for the communities we serve. It will be held on September 19 at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City. For information about sponsoring the 2023 Pillars of Justice Celebration, please visit:

Appleseed in the News

News 12 invited executive director, Nyah Berg back on to their program this spring to share news of NY Appleseed’s recent acquisition of PTAlink, which aims to support PAs/PTAs, and how parents can get more involved in their children’s education. Watch her segment here starting around minute 9:30.

Admissions data for the upcoming school year was recently released, showing little change in increasing racial and socioeconomic diversity in selective programs and specialized high schools. Executive director, Nyah Berg, offered comments on past progress and what needs to happen to sustain changes towards more integrated schools in this article, and highlighted the need for integrative policies in addition to desegregation policies in this article.

New York Appleseed is a part of a nonprofit network of 18 public interest centers in the United States and Mexico with a network office in Washington DC. Appleseed centers are dedicated to building a society in which opportunities are genuine, access to justice is universal and equal, and government advances the public interest. Click on the links below to explore the Appleseed network:

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