National HBCU Alumni Association Foundation Promotes “A Call to Colors” GDN Exclusive Part XVIII

by September 7, 2018

Richard D. Smith, NHBCUAAF vice president for Strategic Development, and member of the NCCU National Alumni Association

The National Historically Black College and University Alumni Association Foundation (NHBCUAAF) (www.nhbcuaaf.org) has formally adopted “A Call to Colors,” the nonpartisan voter registration campaign on all North Carolina HBCU campuses, sponsored by Greater Diversity News (GDN).

According to its website, “The National HBCU Alumni Associations, LLC formed nearly four years ago to be a resource for the 105 HBCUs and their alumni associations for capacity building, membership development, and fundraising strategies.  We recognize that alumni associations are important to colleges/universities, but more importantly, the colleges/universities have to realize the power and impact alumni associations bring to them.”

Two North Carolina HBCUs – NC A&T University in Greensboro, and North Carolina Central University in Durham, are member institutions of the NHBCUAAF.

When it comes to promoting student civic engagement through voter registration, Richard D. Smith, NHBCUAAF vice president for Strategic Development, and member of the NCCU National Alumni Association (’81 alum), says that’s part of the organization’s program objectives.

“We try to have advocacy engagement – both alumni and student engagement.”

“The students are the customers for our respective HBCUs,” Smith continued, “… and they’re affected by the decisions made by the policymakers – local, state and federal – and what we’re trying to impress upon them is that their participation is critical for the sake of their respective HBCU, not to mention the impact it can have on their everyday lives – taxes, laws, etc.”

The key to effective HBCU student civic engagement is making sure that they are well-informed and advocate on behalf of their HBCUs, and their own self-interests, Smith added.

“A Call to Colors [HBCU voter registration campaign] that [GDN publisher] Peter Grear presented to us was an ideal component, because this was an instrument that we hadn’t developed to that extent, and when I heard of him, and we met and talked, [I realized] it would give us a laser point-type focus, and we could collaborate and leverage our two organizations to go forward.”

Peter Grear agrees.

“There is mutual value in this joint effort with NHBCUAAF to have all HBCUs working in common purpose to achieve these initiative goals – educate, organize and mobilize Black voters,” he said.

A proposal to NHBCUAAF from Mr. Grear (class’66, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Fayetteville State University) recommended that “…all alumni associations, at all levels,  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.  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 others.   They should urge all HBCU students to make similar civic engagement pledges on their campuses.”

GDN’s strategy for “A Call to Colors”

A proposal to NHBCUAAF from Mr. Grear (class’66, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Fayetteville State University) recommended that “…all alumni associations, at all levels,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. 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 others. They should urge all HBCU students to make similar civic engagement pledges on their campuses.”

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.

Endorsements

Richard D. Smith joins Christy Bryant, President of J.C. Smith University National Alumni Association; Gwendolyn Mackle Rice, President of Bennett College for Women’s Nat’l Alumna Association; Bennett College President 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; 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, the Prince Hall Masons and the Eastern Star, among others, to support the effort.   “A Call to Colors” is a suggestion that appeals to student and HBCU Alumni members sense of community responsibility.  Supporters are urged to subscribe to GDN’s free eNews to remain current with ongoing developments at: greaterdiversity.com.

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