Livingstone College’s Dr. Jenkins Supports “A Call to Colors” Part XIby Cash Michaels, contributing writer June 8, 2018
He has been president of Livingstone College since 2007, the twelfth in its distinguished history. Located in the City of Salisbury, the private historically-black college prides itself on offering the best academic instruction to its 1,150 enrolled students.
But Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr. says, as president, it’s extremely important to him that Livingstone students – many of them “first-generation college students” – learn more about life not just from the classroom, but in actively participating in it themselves.
It’s what Dr. Jenkins calls “a holistic education.”
“They must get the education that helps to address the many issues and problems that are generic to our people, he told GDN.
“One of the problems is voting.”
That’s why he is fully supportive of Greater Diversity News’ nonpartisan “A Call to Colors” voter registration campaign on historically-black college and university (HBCU) campuses through North Carolina.
Geared towards maximizing HBCU voter registration in time for the 2018 November midterm elections, Dr. Jenkins says that every HBCU president and chancellor should be onboard.
“We at HBCUs should be pushing our own students to be registered to vote. “
In fact, that is part of the contract each student at Livingstone has with the school upon arrival if they’re 18 or older – they must be registered to vote. If they’re not, the school works with them to get registered.
“We feel that in order for them to be change-agents for their families and others, they must lead by example,” Dr. Jenkins continued. But it doesn’t stop there. Livingstone students are encouraged to vote their choices after researching the issues, and knowing the candidates. The school even takes them to the polls on Election Day.”
Adding that HBCUs should see voting as part of the ongoing “civil rights struggle,””….and cast their lot towards not only the quality of their lives, but helping to make a difference, in terms of fair representation in every aspect of our lives.”
Dr. Jenkins, a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., is also in full support of The Divine Nine endorsing “A Call to Colors” with its member Black Greek letter organizations.
“Absolutely! I think we should have a full court press,” he said.
GDN’s strategy for “A Call to Colors”
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.
Dr. Jimmy Jenkins, Sr., joins Dr. Everett Ward, president of St. Augustine’s University; Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1); Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12); NC Sec. of Veteran Affairs Larry Hall; Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, pres. 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.
Dr. Jenkins also joins other black leadership who endorse “A Call to Colors” action plan recommendation to subscribe to Greater Diversity News’ weekly Civic Engagement Project eNews for free at www.greaterdiversity.com.