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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, the NAACP stood alongside elected officials, legal experts, fellow civil rights and youth advocacy organizations, and more than 500 students from across the country, calling on the Supreme Court to uphold President Biden's plan to forgive up to $20,000 in student debt for qualifying borrowers. As part of this effort, the NAACP sponsored eight buses for students to attend and speak out in support of the cancellation of their cumulative $2.5 million in student debt. From Monday, February 27 to Wednesday, March 1, the NAACP led a series of activations in partnership with other organizations, including the People's Rally for Student Debt Cancellation, and a closing rally outside of the White House earlier today.
"This week, students showed up in the hundreds to take their concerns straight to the steps of the Supreme Court. The student debt crisis is urgent and these concerns deserve urgent attention. The Supreme Court has the power to change the course of millions of lives across generations by allowing the President's plan to proceed," said NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson. "The Justices must take this call for action seriously and consider the immense responsibility they have to ensure the economic prosperity of the next generation. The NAACP won't stop pushing until student debt cancellation is a reality."
Black borrowers are disproportionately affected by student loan debt, holding an average of $25,000 more in student debt than their non-Black counterparts. Canceling student debt will overwhelmingly benefit the Black community – particularly Black women, who take on the most substantial debt burden with an average of more than $41,400.
"Failure to secure student loan debt relief is not an option. Let me be clear, choosing to pursue an education should not result in lifelong debt. The NAACP calls on the Supreme Court to be part of the solution and join the movement to reduce racial and economic inequality in this country. Make the decision to give 40 million Americans what they are fighting for — the opportunity to build a better future for themselves, their families, and our nation," said Wisdom Cole, National Director of the NAACP Youth & College Division. "The Supreme Court has an opportunity to level the playing field and make education accessible for all."
Over the past three years, the NAACP has fiercely advocated for student debt cancellation as an integral step in closing the racial wealth gap, making it clear that failure on this issue is not an option for the nearly 40 million borrowers in need of relief. NAACP leaders have met with Vice President Kamala Harris, hosted events with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, and mobilized youth across the country to discuss the importance of student debt cancellation, centering the lived experiences of Black borrowers every step of the way.
The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black
America. Our legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the
biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21^st
century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress,
our network of members across the country works to secure the social and
political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted
in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions
for all marginalized people. We are committed to a world without racism where
Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.
NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF - was founded
in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but now operates as a completely separate