Regardless of the Supreme Court ruling on the University affirmative action cases, The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action & Integration and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary national leader Luke Massie said that they are determined to keep institutions of higher education integrated.

The Fifth National Conference of the New Civil Rights Movement, held last Friday through Sunday, included a rally, various workshops and a mock press conference. It discussed the pending Court decision and possible verdicts, as well as the group’s reaction to each possible verdict.

Massie said the purpose of the conference is “to develop the network of civil rights leaders from around the country to prepare for the forthcoming (Court) decision in the Michigan cases. (As well as) to begin mobilizing for the August 23 Civil Rights March and participation of a new militant integrated civil rights movement in the march.”

The march hopes to follow up an April 1 march which Massie said was the first unified showing of BAMN’s power at Washington D.C.

“April 1 signified the first national mobility action of the civil rights movement. Fifty-thousand strong voices filled D.C. It is an indication of things to come in society. Young people of all races bonding together to move responsibility for everyone, for democracy and equality, progress in American society to defend affirmative action,” Massie added.

But Massie said even though the march was highly successful he still believes the Court’s verdict to be highly uncertain – anything from very positive to very negative.

Although BAMN is in favor of affirmative action, Santa Monica University sophomore and BAMN member Yolanda Glass said they disagree with the University’s argument of using it to promote diversity as a compelling educational interest.

“(BAMN argues) affirmative action with equality so simple, people use complex terms. It’s equal rights we’re trying to do something about,” Glass added.

Glass said that she thought the diversity argument only attempts to bring in an elite sector of minorities to the University. She said bringing only elite minorities into an elite majority does not represent diversity.

Massie said if the university decision is upheld it’s “not for the University diversity (argument) but a victory coming out of the April 1 organizing.”

This leadership conference is imperative, said BAMN national leader Shanta Driver. She added that the next six months are going to be critical for whether the movement grows or not.

But while many groups on campus are also in favor of affirmative action, not all of them agree with BAMN’s practices.

“While the majority of democrats support affirmative action we feel BAMN is a polarizing fore on campus. We prefer to engage in activism without alienating anyone that disagrees with us,” LSA senior and Chairwoman of the College Democrats Jennifer Nathan said.

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