HBCU Collective to Congress: Support us

HBCU Collective to Congress: Support us
April 26
08:40 2018

They came to Washington, D.C. from 35 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across the nation, to demand that their Congress people provide more funding to their schools for campus improvements, more Pell Grants for students and more federal research funding.

On April 17, the HBCU Collective – students, alumni and supporters – went back to the nation’s capital for their second annual “Day of Action,” to make their case that lawmakers need to treat black institutions of higher learning the same as they treat their predominately-white counterparts – fairly.

“We produce the most science, technology, engineering and math scholars; most black doctors, black lawyers, most black engineers,” HBCU Collective founder Robert Stephens, a 2008 alumnus of Winston-Salem State University, said recently. “We’re saying that HBCUs make a huge contribution to society, and we just want to make sure that our schools are sustainable.”

Among those speaking at the noon press conference on the steps of the U.S. Capitol were Dr. Paulette Dillard, interim president of Shaw University in Raleigh, and Matthew Collins II, a junior at North Carolina Central University in Durham.

Shaw, the oldest HBCU in the country, sent at least 30 students to the “Day of Action.” Students from St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh, and other North Carolina HBCUs, attended as well.
“When Shaw University was founded in 1865, it was the first institution of higher learning for newly freed slaves in the South,” Dr. Dillard said. “As the South’s first HBCU, Shaw University has a proud tradition and a rich history. For 152 years, Shaw has educated black lawyers, teachers, doctors, scientists, academics, pastors, business leaders, activists and citizens who have made countless contributions to our state, nation, and our world.

“These students here today are proof that in the 21st century, HBCUs will continue to play a vital role in educating the leaders of tomorrow,” Dr. Dillard concluded.

Matthew Collins II, a junior Mass Communications student at NCCU, told those gathered at the press conference that he chose NCCU “for its diversity,” and was proud of the rich history of HBCUs.

“[We’re] calling on our state and federal legislators to not only preserve our HBCUs, but also preserve our legacy, preserve our culture, preserve our traditions, and especially our Black men in service to our communities.”

Though she was unable to attend the press conference, U.S. Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12), in a statement for the occasion, lauded the HBCU Collective, noting that in the recent 2018 omnibus budget passed by Congress, HBCUs received significant support, thanks to their lobbying.

“The voices of our HBCUs have helped us in the Congress change the conversation from “Why do we need HBCUs?” to “What would we ever do without them?” Rep. Adams stated.

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Cash Michaels

Cash Michaels

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