National HBCU Alumni Associations Foundation’s Summit Targets Voter Empowerment and Beyondby Cash Michaels, GDN Contributing Writer and by Peter Grear, GDN Publisher August 19, 2020
(A Call to Colors Exclusive) – National HBCU Alumni Associations Foundation’s Sixth Annual Alumni Leaders Conference Civic Engagement & Advocacy Committee (CEAC) Summit was on August 8th. With less than 90 days left before the November 3rd, elections, the summit focused on a statewide drive to empower N.C.’s African-American communities and HBCU campuses. The Committee focused on continued voter education, registration and mobilization efforts for the upcoming elections and beyond.
Hosted again this year by North Carolina Central University’s CEAC, the flagship among North Carolina 17 HBCU alumni chapter CEACs, this years’ summit updated progress made since last years’ gathering, reemphasizing many of the basic tenets of community civic engagement.
Part of that strategy was partnering with Greater Diversity News’ civic engagement campaign, “A Call to Colors”, where stories were shared about the progress and awareness made.
Civic Engagement & Advocacy Committee of the National HBCU Alumni Associations
During Saturday’s National HBCU Alumni Associations virtual conference, once again emphasis was placed on the five models of empowerment and outreach. Through the alumni associations, student organizations, faith-based institutions, nonpartisan community-based organizations, and Divine Nine groups needed to reach every corner of the Black community. They are building “positive, trusted relationships through centers of faith, the NAACP, campus SGAs, alums, fraternities and sororities.
“What we hope you appreciate are the lessons learned, and the transparency shown by the alumni leaders,” said facilitator Tania B. Davis. “Know that when it comes to motivating and educating people about civic engagement, persistence is key. The more the message is conveyed, and the passion is exuded, people will begin to see that this work is important, and something that they need to know more about.”
Plus, the need for pertinent data and strategies required to empower voters through special early voting events (like adopt an HBCU/voting precinct) and drives in seven identified cities across North Carolina – better known as the “Six Cities + 1 Approach – where research shows greater voter turnout could make a decisive difference in November.
Those are identified as Charlotte, Durham, Elizabeth City, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Raleigh, Winston-Salem, and black students at PWI(s) (predominately white institutions).
“So again, with 80-plus days left (before the election, we’re on fire, and we’re on the move,” said facilitator and NCCUAA CEAC Chair Angela Lewis. National HBCU Alumni Associations
Tremendous Voter Confusion
There was also a report from the NC NAACP about “tremendous voter confusion” about issues surrounding the upcoming November election – from the validity of mail-in/absentee ballots to the consistency of available hours during the October 15th – 31st early voting period – all acerbated by the pandemic political maneuvering. The civil rights organization assured that it would be at the ready to help all voters deal with the “confusion.”
In the second part of the summit, four of North Carolina’s congressional representatives – Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1), Rep. David Price (D-NC-4), Rep. Mark Walker (RNC-6) and a representative for Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12), co-chair of the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus in the U.S. House – updated attendees on the bipartisan latest efforts to appropriate more federal funding to HBCUs, especially through recent efforts to deal with the national pandemic.
It was not lost on Summit participants that all civic engagement activities this year have had to adapt to the challenging environment of the COVID-19 pandemic, thus requiring the implementation of new tools for outreach and dissemination.
Greater economic and financial literacy
There were also presentations on the need for greater economic and financial literacy on the part of alumni associations, and recognizing how enhanced voter empowerment and the current explosion in social justice activism must be seen as a continuum towards greater progress towards social, political and racial equality in the years ahead.
“It’s not just voting; it’s keeping our elected officials accountable. It’s making sure that we use all of the tools we have available to us in order to pursue the interests of our communities…,” said Dr. Jarvis Hall, NCCU Political Science professor.
GDN publisher Peter Grear reminded all about the need for all groups to continue to count on Greater Diversity News as their primary digital media clearinghouse for the latest and most pertinent information available pertaining to civic engagement and community empowerment.
To receive follow up information on the upcoming summit, other CEACs and A Call To Colors, sign up for GDN’s free eNews publications at www.greaterdiversity.com .
Keywords: Sixth Annual Alumni Leaders Conference Civic Engagement & Advocacy Committee
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