Saint Augustine’s University National Alumni President Supports “A Call to Colors” GDN Exclusive XIIIby Cash Michaels, contributing writer June 18, 2018
Vote for Your White & Blue!
The future very much rests in the hands of today’s young people, says Dr. John Larkins, president of St. Augustine’s University National Alumni Association. And that’s why he wholeheartedly supports Greater Diversity News’ nonpartisan “A Call to Colors” voter registration campaign on historically black college and university campuses in time for the November 2018 midterm elections.
“I think it’s something that’s definitely needed and a significant issue because we need to get [public] officials in there who are going to support education, and bring about a more ethical government,” Dr. Larkins told GDN about the need for HBCU students to get more engaged in the serious issues that affect their future.
Larkins opined that education has become “too expensive,” and that, in fact, the United States is “losing the education battle.” Elected officials need to realize this, and begin improving American education to become more competitive with Asian and other countries.
So making sure that HBCU students, like those on the campus of St. Augustine’s University, have the tools to express their civic voices, like registering to vote, is key towards dramatically improving education, and building a more ethical government.
But the eyes of HBCU students must be opened to the power they have in voting,” Dr. Larkins adds, and he’s not sure they see that power until they get older.
“We older adults need to do a better job educating young people as to the importance of voting,” he said. Thus, Larkins supports “A Call to Colors.”
“It’s an important initiative, and should be supported,” he said. HBCUs have always played a positive role in bringing about change in this country…since the civil rights movement. A lot of young people are starting to become aware, …more enrolling because they feel that they have more of a voice, and opportunity to interact with others who are more like themselves.
Dr. Larkins is a 1966 alumnus of SAU, and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
In February, he was recognized with the UNCF Alumni Hall of Honor Award for his “…technical and leadership accomplishments while serving the federal government, and his consistent financial support, recruitment and advocacy for SAU…”
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. John Larkins, Pres. of the SAU Nat’l Alumni Association; joins Dr. Everett Ward, president of St. Augustine’s University; Dr. Jimmy Jenkins, pres. of Livingstone College; Warren Arrington, Pres. of the Livingstone College Nat’l Alumni Association; 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.