Johnson C. Smith University Alumni President Applauds “A Call to Colors” – GDN Exclusive Part XVIIby Cash Michaels - Contributing Writer August 31, 2018
Vote like a Golden Bull!
Christy S. Bryant, National Alumni Association President for Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, agrees that given the state of national and statewide today, students on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are paying attention, and will be heard during the upcoming midterm elections in November. Thus, she applauds Greater Diversity News’(GDN) nonpartisan “A Call to Colors” student voter registration campaign on all HBCU campuses throughout North Carolina, in time for this fall’s important midterm elections.
“We know how important it is to get everyone out to vote,” Ms. Bryant told Greater Diversity News. “In today’s climate of all the things that are going on, it is so important that we get all the votes out. And I think that young people in the prior elections were engaged, but not quite as much as we had hoped they would be.”
“Even with the advent of so much engagement on social media, our student populations are getting to see not only what’s going on, but also issues affecting HBCUs are negatively impacting them,” Ms. Bryant continued. “They’re our future leaders, so we have to get them engaged in what’s going on.
Bryant is a 1975 alumna of J.C. Smith, so she’s well aware of the Golden Bulls tradition of promoting student civic engagement, making sure that students understand that voting is “…one of the rights our forefathers really fought for, and we need to continue to show how important it is.”
When asked how to reach young people who believe that voting does not affect them or their lives, Bryant insisted that she’s seen that mindset change in recent years.
“I think it’s now coming home,” she maintained. “I think that people are getting engaged all over the country in understanding that if things are going to change, they have to be part of the solution. No longer can you sit on the sidelines and wait for somebody else to do it.”
“I think our college students today are engaged,” Ms. Bryant said, noting that there’s even evidence of high school students being more civically active that ever before. And with most college students working their way through school these days, Bryant says they see firsthand how the current issues and policies are, and will affect them. And they know they have to do something about it.
“So, I think they are in tune, and in touch,” Ms. Bryant concluded.
GDN’s strategy for “A Call to Colors” response is quite simple and powerful. Ask all alumni associations, at all levels, to create standing committees for non-partisan civic engagement. They would ask their members to volunteer 8, 16, 24 hours or more per election cycle, to help mobilize Black voter participation. Volunteer activities could include making telephone calls, Facebook posting, door knocking, organizing their churches or other community-based organizations, Greek organizations, working polls, supporting the NAACP and more.
GDN recommends that Alumni Association urge all HBCU Student Government Associations (SGAs) to make similar civic engagement pledges. SGAs should have twice a year student rallies promoting civic engagement and student organizations. “A Call to Colors” is a suggestion that appeals to student and HBCU Alumni members sense of community responsibility.
Christy Bryant is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She has served as J.C. Smith University National Alumni Association President since 2015.
Ms. Bryant joins her Bennett College for Women counterpart, Gwendolyn Mackel Rice, along with Bennett College Pres. Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins; Dr. Jimmy Jenkins, President of Livingstone; Dr. Everett Ward, President of St. Augustine’s University; Warren Arrington, President of the Livingstone College National Alumni Association; Dr. John Larkins, President of the St. Augustine’s University National Alumni Association; Raymond Privott, President of Fayetteville State University’s National Alumni Association; Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1); Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12); NC Secretary of Veteran Affairs Larry Hall; Reverend Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, President of the NCNAACP; newly appointed State Senator Milton “Toby” Fitch, who is also “Most Worshipful Grand Master State of NC and Jurisdiction of the Prince Hall Mason Lodge; Dr. Lavonia Allison, former Chair of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People; Charles Warren, Chairman of the NC Black Leadership Caucus; and N. Carnell Robinson, past Chairman of the NC Black Leadership Caucus, Andrea Harris, Senior Fellow of the Durham-based Self-Help Credit Union; John C. Easterling III, President of the College Democrats of North Carolina and Robert Stephens, Founder of the HBCU Collective, in endorsing “A Call to Colors” Civic Engagement Campaign.
“A Call to Colors” campaign is working to formally engage with the Pan-Hellenic Councils, the NCNAACP, the NC Black Leadership Caucus, and the Prince Hall Masons and the Eastern Star, among others, to support the effort.
Ms. Bryant also joins other black leadership who endorsed “A Call to Colors” action plan recommendation to subscribe to Greater Diversity News weekly Civic Engagement Project eNews for free, at www.greaterdiversity.com.