DEI is the Moral Imperative of our Time 

When the U.S. Supreme Court effectively outlawed affirmative action in college admissions, colleges and universities felt the pressure to end race-based scholarships programs, and roll back diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Recent events have highlighted a stark reality: the fight for DEI is far from over. In fact, it’s under attack. 

The decision by Duke University to end scholarships for Black students and the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill Board of Trustees’ shortsighted move to cut DEI funding are not just isolated incidents—they are symptomatic of a larger, systemic problem. These actions threaten to roll back the progress we’ve made, undermine the principles of equality and justice, and perpetuate generations of injustice.  

But in the face of adversity, we must stand firm and resolute. Now, is the time to double down on our commitment to DEI initiatives. We cannot afford to be complacent or passive observers in this struggle. We must be vocal advocates, tireless allies, and unwavering champions for change. We must educate ourselves on the history of DEI and fight for a better future. Our first research report, Navigating the Terrain for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion presents practical recommendations for implementing effective strategies amidst the contemporary challenges posed by those who seek to undermine decades of progress. 

DEI is not a buzzword or a box to check—it’s the moral imperative of our time. DEI is crucial for fostering a fair and just society and creating a world where everyone, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic background, has equal opportunities to thrive and succeed. It’s about building a community where diversity is celebrated, equity is the norm, and inclusion is non-negotiable.  

Considering historical inequities and ongoing challenges to DEI initiatives, there is a critical need to mobilize collective efforts to cultivate inclusive environments and advance diversity and equity. As members, friends, and allies of The African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs, we have a responsibility—to ourselves, to each other, and to future generations—to uphold these values and fight for a better tomorrow. We must use our collective voice and influence to demand accountability, challenge injustice, and drive meaningful change. 

Let us not be discouraged by setbacks or deterred by obstacles. Instead, let us be inspired by the courage and resilience of those who have come before us.  Let us draw strength from our shared vision of a more just and equitable world. And let us recommit ourselves to the work that lies ahead, knowing that together, we can and will make a difference.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s voice still reminds us: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”