Senate Minority Leader Blue Supports “A Call to Colors” – GDN Exclusive “A Call to Colors” Vol. II Part Xby Cash Michaels, GDN Contributing Writer April 3, 2019
With the 2020 elections literally right around the corner, more and more black elected officials are coming out in support of “A Call to Colors,” the Greater Diversity news nonpartisan civic engagement campaign that seeks to have 100% of students on HBCU campuses across North Carolina, in addition to black students on general university campuses, registered to vote, appropriately educated on the issues, and ultimately mobilized to make their choice of candidates during the upcoming elections.
“Yes, I’m totally in favor of reaching that level of engagement at our HBCUs,” NC Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue (D-Wake), told GDN recently, adding that it is certainly appropriate to involve the respective HBCU administrations, alumni groups, Greek letter organizations, and various others to achieve the purpose.
“It’s the kind of effort that can be quite expansive, and quite effective,” Sen. Blue said.
He added that he’d like to see the General Assembly remedy the voter photo ID dilemma on several UNC system campuses, and better fund HBCU’s across the state.
While the emphasis of late has been with gaining the perspectives of HBCU Student Government Association presidents, presidents of HBCU national alumni Associations and, of course, North Carolina HBCU presidents about “A Call to Colors” civic engagement campaign, the endorsements from civic and community leaders like Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the NC NAACP; in addition to elected officials like NC congressional members Alma Adams, G. K. Butterfield, state Senator Milton “Toby” Fitch, and now NC Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue, make “A Call to Colors” even more of an imperative heading into the 2020 election campaign season.
As the respective political parties begin rolling out their agendas and platforms, and candidates gear up to campaign for support in an election year that will see important congressional and statewide contests, in addition to races for the Governor’s Mansion and the White House, ensuring that nonpartisan efforts are underway and well in hand to empower black college and university students in the state – wherever they may attend – to not only stay abreast of the issues that are not only effecting them now, like student loans, but will certainly in their futures, is seen as paramount.
“We know that by 2020, the millennials will be the largest voting bloc, and I certainly have a passion for them,” two-term State Sen. Erica Smith (D-Bertie), a candidate for United State Senate, told GDN last year. “HBCU students should be fired up like never before. They led us in the 1960s with the sit-ins, and all of the boycotts to advance voting rights and equal opportunity.”
Smith, a 1994 alumna of NC A&T State University and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., also endorsed GDN’s “A Call to Colors” campaign.
“The decisions being made at the local, state, and federal levels impact all young people,” said Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-12-NC), the co-chair of the Bi-Partisan HBCU Caucus in Congress, and an alumna of NC A&T University in Greensboro, told Greater Diversity News before the 2018 midterms. “It’s crucial that they register to vote because if you aren’t registered, you can’t vote, and if you don’t vote, you can’t be counted.”
GDN recommends that all HBCU SGAs and Black Student Unions (BSUs)
Incorporate the following in their efforts:
- Standing civic engagement/A Call to Colors committees for SGAs and Black Student Unions (BSUs)
- Students volunteering 8,16, 24 hours or more per election cycle
- Earn up to 200 hours/4 years credit for civic engagement
- Do outreach to Greeks, other student organizations and other schools