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  • Michael Manganiello

Statement on the Supreme Court decision on Affirmative Action

In light of yesterday’s Supreme Court decision on affirmative action, I am compelled to share with you my thoughts and feelings about what is surely a major setback in the nation’s work to improve racial equity and was wrongfully decided. Full stop.

For those who have not had a chance, I hope you take some time to read Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s dissent, which clearly lays out why this decision is a “tragedy for us all”. One part of the Justice’s dissent that struck me most were her arguments on the racial health gaps that continue to pervert our healthcare system:

“Health gaps track financial ones. When tested, Black children have blood lead levels that are twice the rate of White children—“irreversible” contamination working irremediable harm on developing brains. Black (and Latino) children with heart conditions are more likely to die than their White counterparts. Race-linked mortality-rate disparity has also persisted and is highest among infants. So, too, for adults: Black men are twice as likely to die from prostate cancer as White men and have lower 5-year cancer survival rates. Uterine cancer has spiked in recent years among all women—but has spiked highest for Black women, who die of uterine cancer at nearly twice the rate of “any other racial or ethnic group.” Black mothers are up to four times more likely than White mothers to die as a result of childbirth. And COVID killed Black Americans at higher rates than White Americans. Across the board, Black Americans experience the highest rates of obesity, hypertension, maternal mortality, infant mortality, stroke, and asthma. These and other disparities—the predictable result of opportunity disparities—lead to at least 50,000 excess deaths a year for Black Americans vis-à-vis White Americans. That is 80 million excess years of life lost from just 1999 through 2020. Amici tell us that “race-linked health inequities pervade nearly every index of human health” resulting “in an overall reduced life expectancy for racial and ethnic minorities that cannot be explained by genetics.” Meanwhile—tying health and wealth together—while she lays dying, the typical Black American “pays more for medical care and incurs more medical debt.”

I couldn't agree more with the sentiment that “health disparities are predictable results of opportunity disparities". And to the extent this decision makes it harder for people of color to avail themselves of educational opportunities, it also perpetuates long-standing health disparities in our country.

This decision means our work – including the work of our friends, clients and community - may become more difficult in the years ahead; yet it also makes it all that more important. It means we have to work harder and smarter to reach and support researchers from underrepresented communities and all those that seek to solve for health disparities. It means doubling down our work with you -- who have also prioritized advancing public policies to close racial health gaps.

Please know that at moments like this, in the face of sweeping setbacks, I am buoyed by the caliber of those we work with and for our collective commitment to make the world a better (and healthier) place.

Michael Manganiello

President and CEO, Pyxis Partners


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