Affirmative Action supporters hold rally

March 29, 2003 at 3:09 PM
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DETROIT, March 29 (UPI) -- More than 5,000 protesters will arrive in Washington Tuesday by planes, trains and automobiles to express support for the University of Michigan's affirmative action admissions policies.

The protesters from Detroit, include high school students, college students, business leaders and government officials, all support affirmative action and are expected to hold the largest civil rights rally since the 1960s.

The Detroit Free-Press reported Saturday that an estimated 100,000 people from across the nation will gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court to show support for and protest against the university's affirmative action policies.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on U-M's affirmative action admissions policies. The rally in front of the Supreme Court begins at 9 a.m. and will end at noon.

"The Supreme Court has ruled that the use of race, among other factors, in college admissions is constitutional," said Kweisi Mfume, president and chief executive officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Mfume added that affirmative action has always been seen as a lawful means of remedying "present and past discrimination."

About 60 buses will caravan out of Detroit on Monday. Brian White, public policy director for the Detroit branch of the NAACP, told the Free-Press that 14 busses with almost 1,000 people are coming from U-M.

"We'll be the biggest contingent there," he said.

Other cities, colleges and organizations, including labor unions, are expected to send buses. The protesters will be joined by Detroit Mayor Kuame Kilpatrick and the Detroit City Council.

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