today in black history

June 23, 2017

Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas was born on this date in 1948 in Pin Point, Georgia.

HBCU Lobby Event in DC

POSTED: April 26, 2017, 10:30 am

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While the public is accustomed to seeing groups converge on the nation’s capital for marches and demonstrations, what is not seen are efforts to lobby members of Congress through office visits and briefings. Tomorrow, it’s the turn of Black college alumni to walk the corridors of the legislative office buildings on Capitol Hill to make the case for federal government support of the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

The lobby day has been organized by HBCU Collective, a new group comprised of Black staffers on Capitol Hill and individuals who work for DC’s policy shops, who recognized the need for multiple strategies to secure congressional support for Black colleges. Dominique Warren, a Morehouse College alumnus (’07) is the policy and advocacy chair for the organization. Warren cited the need for more grassroots advocacy and legislative contact to communicate the needs of HBCUs. In a conversation with NorthStarNews.com he suggested the “Day of Action” can serve as a model for state-level efforts and pointed to the HBCU Day in Annapolis Maryland, during which the state’s HBCUs make the case for support, as the type of effort that the HBCU Collective hopes to spur.

Warren said, “Our ‘Day of Action’ is not directed at any one particular party. We intend to reaching across the aisle to make the case for HBCUs. There is already a bipartisan HBCU Caucus on the Hill and we simply want to make the achievements and contributions of our institutions known.”

The three major agenda items for tomorrow’s lobby day are:

  • Student aid and the need for student loan reform
  • Federal research grants
  • Facilities’ and infrastructure upgrade on HBCU campuses

The ‘Day of Action’ comes when there are growing concerns over the disposition of the Trump administration towards HBCUs. While, President Trump has signed an Executive Order on HBCUs and retained the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, concerns persist among some Black college presidents and alumni. The president moved the White House Initiative from the Department of Education to the White House, but has not shown any inclination to enhance federal funding for HBCUs. President Trump’s much publicized meeting with HBCU presidents was largely panned as a photo-op for the administration, and generated far more criticism than support. There is also concern that the Department of Education, under Secretary Betsy DeVos, may not be hospitable to HBCUs or clearly understand the legacy of these institutions and the important role they continue to play in the nation.

To participate in tomorrow’s event, the public can go to the HBCU Collective website and sign-up.

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