Concerned alumni, students and friends of historically black colleges and universities are set to gather on Capitol Hill on April 27 for a national day of action to increase support for black institutions of higher learning.
The direct action was organized to ensure accountability by the White House and members of Congress to not only maintain funding, but increase resources to HBCUs.
The HBCU National Day of Action is organized by the HBCU Collective, a group of alumni, students and friends of HBCUs who work in politics and advocacy and are determined to preserve, support and grow the historically black institutions.
“Alumni and students play an integral role in preserving and growing our HBCUs,” said co-leader of the HBCU Collective Robert Stephens. “We’re here to make sure our elected officials see and feel the importance of HBCUs — and we’re here to hold them accountable for their support.”
In June of last year, J.L. Carter Sr. wrote in an opinion piece for hbcudigest.com: “The HBCU concept is one worth dying for. But it is hard to devote a similar loyalty to these campuses, these specific parcels of land, buildings and history, which did not adjust to how the business of higher education was changing around them, and didn’t align strategy with what was best for business and students.
“Even if they could come back, the rules which now oppose their existence would be too much to overcome. The federal government two weeks ago said that financially risky schools could lose access to federal student loans and grants for their students.”
At next month’s rally, the HBCU Collective expects to galvanize support from more than 100 HBCUs across the nation on Capitol Hill to advocate to their members of Congress. The group also plans to engage thousands through an online and social media-based outreach to urge them to call, write and tweet their federal and state elected officials to make HBCUs a priority in state legislative sessions and in Congress.
The HBCU Collective has three asks from state and federal elected officials:
–Increase financial support for students;
–Increase access and funding for federal research grants;
–Increase funding and assistance for facility upgrades.
“We care about the existence of our institutions, and we are going to make sure elected officials do exactly what they promised, and that is to support our HBCUs and their students financially,” said Dominique Warren, co-leader of the HBCU Collective.
HBCU Collective plans to host meetings with elected officials and staff members in their home districts and in the districts of HBCUs to make allocating funding and resources a priority during this Congressional session, and every session in the future.