NCCU Alumni Civic Engagement Effort Has Vision and Mission – GDN Exclusive Vol. 2, Part IVby Cash Michaels, GDN Contributing Writer January 21, 2019
It is no secret that North Carolina Central University Alumni Association’s (NCCUAA) Civic Engagement and Advocacy Committee (CEAC) is quickly becoming a model for other historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to follow, particularly as we enter Phase II of GDN’s non-partisan civic engagement effort, “A Call to Colors.”
Indeed, NCCUAACEAC is the lead HBCU alumni association in the coalition.
In the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections, A Call to Colors provided the tools for successful voter registration, education and mobilization of students on various HBCU campuses across North Carolina. With the endorsement of HBCU presidents and chancellors, various national alumni associations directed their local chapters to work with local NAACP branches in their efforts to mobilize the black vote not just on campuses, but in communities too.
According to NCCU-CEAC’s chair, Angela Thomas-Lewis, “A Call to Colors” remains a vital tool with which to craft further non-partisan civic engagement campaigns for both students and alumni with even greater focus, mission and power.
“Number one, we want to build a sustainable model that is not built around people, …but around coalition-building of nonpartisan organizations that also have a focus on civic engagement and advocacy,” Thomas-Lewis, a Fayetteville native and 1978 alum, told Greater Diversity News (GDN).
According to GDN, a successful sustainable civic engagement model is as follows:
10 HBCUs x 30 Chapters, or 300 NC Chapters promoting voter mobilization,
300 NC Chapters x 20 members or 600 members x 8,16, 24 or more volunteer hours per member, per election cycle promoting voter mobilization,
10 Student Government Associations (SGAs) leading more than 2,000 students,
20,000 students promoting civic engagement,
20,000 students x 8,16, 24 hours or more volunteer hours per student, per election cycle promoting voter mobilization,
A successful civic engagement model is 20,000 – 30,000 or more students doing voter mobilization outreach through social media.
“Phase II, the action part of “A Call to Colors” is data-driven…that will insure clarity of expectation, and efficiencies in our operation, as well as sustainability in our relationships.”
Angela Thomas-Lewis, a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., added that another aspect of being data-driven is developing a tracking system that captures all civic engagement and advocacy activities – you know, just the numbers, the data – and that way we can do the appropriate assessments, and move tactfully in the things that we are [doing].”
According to a plan presented on January 12th, NCCUAA-CEAC “…is working with the National Historically Black Colleges & Universities Alumni Associations Foundation (NHBCUAAF), NC NAACP, NC Divine 9
Leadership, and the HBCU Roundtable Leadership on an “NC Centric Ground Game” to discuss the association’s role in planning programs; to ensure alumni & student alignment and participation in civic and social engagement activities, and to seek HBCU alumni associations buy-in/support of planned programs.
Ultimately, the goal is to create CEAC standing committees in each of NC’s ten national HBCU alumni associations.
As outlined by GDN publisher, Attorney Peter Grear, in a recent article, the committee members “…would ask their members to volunteer 8, 16, 24 hours or more per election cycle, to help educate, organize and 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.”
HBCU student government associations (SGAs) would be asked to make similar civic engagement pledges, coupled with twice-a-year (one each semester) student rallies promoting civic engagement and student organizations.
Ultimately, in the leadup to upcoming elections, SGAs would convene student leaders of Greek, NAACP and other organizations to plan strategies targeting voter registration and mobilization. The SGAs would reach out to Black Student Unions (BSUs) at primarily white institutions and urged them to replicate these efforts.
Ms. Thomas – Lewis says leading the NCCUAA-CEAC fits right in with her vision, purpose and passion to be of service to the community and play a critical role in its empowerment.
“I think it’s time, once again, to harness who we are, and do it as HBCU alumni and students.”
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