Seven Asian American students pose together for a photo. Many of them are wearing a T-shirt that says, "Defend Diversity"
CAA’s Sally Chen and Harvard students at courthouse in support of affirmative action.

By Sally Chen, Education Equity Program Manager

I’m a Harvard graduate and a direct beneficiary of its race-conscious admissions program.

On October 31, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) v. Harvard and SFFA v. University of North Carolina for what may be the final time as the Court appears determined to eliminate race-conscious admissions in higher education. I will be in Washington, D.C. live-tweeting at 10:00 am via the CAA Twitter account.

My parents were factory and warehouse workers in China before arriving in San Francisco in the 1980s. Our family of six lived in a one-bedroom apartment in Lower Nob Hill. My dad worked as a cook in Chinese restaurants and my mom worked at a bakery in San Francisco’s Chinatown all while raising me and my three sisters. My experiences growing up Chinese American shaped who I am and the work I hoped to do. This was a major part of my personal statement when I applied to Harvard. In my senior year, and when the lawsuit was brought against Harvard, I testified in support of affirmative action in the lower courts.

My life has come full circle as I am now the Education Equity Program Manager at CAA. Since our inception in 1969, CAA has used affirmative action as a critical policy tool to advance fairness and equality for Chinese Americans and other Asian Americans across major sectors of the labor market, higher education, and contracting. 

Edward Blum, the architect behind the Harvard lawsuit as well as a number of other anti-civil rights cases, belittles the hardships that generations of Asian Americans have faced. He is using our community as a pawn to prevent students of color like me from attending higher education. 

I promise you, though we are at risk of losing affirmative action in higher education, we won’t go down without a fight. CAA will be spending the next few weeks right up to oral arguments educating the community about what is at stake — and will continue to lead the fight for equity as we anticipate a final decision from the Supreme Court in June 2023. 

Below are some key CAA activities and we hope you can join us.

Join me in a conversation with Andrew Brennen as we discuss what’s at stake in the affirmative action cases:

Instagram: @CAAsanfrancisco
Date: October 26, 2022
Time: 3pm PT / 6pm ET

Andrew submitted a declaration in the lower courts in support of affirmative action in SFFA v. UNC. Andrew holds a Master’s in education policy and management from Harvard University and a Bachelor’s in political science from the UNC-Chapel Hill. 

Immediately following oral arguments at the Supreme Court, we’ll talk with Bethany Li to get an initial reaction:

Instagram: @CAAsanfrancisco
Date: October 31, 2022
Time: 12pm PT / 3pm ET

Bethany Li is the legal director at the New York-based Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Bethany led an amicus brief at the Supreme Court with 121 Asian American groups and educators in support of race-conscious admissions at Harvard and UNC.

Lastly, follow CAA on Twitter (@CAAsanfrancisco) as I live-tweet on October 31 from outside the Supreme Court.