Shaw National Alumni President’s Perspective on “A Call To Colors” – GDN Exclusive, Vol. 2 Part IIIby Cash Michaels, GDN Contributing Writer January 9, 2019
Vote like a Bear!
“We have a great foundation to stand on…,” the President of Shaw University’s National Alumni Association lauded the nonpartisan civic engagement efforts of other national alumni associations from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across North Carolina per last year’s GDN-sponsored “A Call to Colors” campaign.
Kalvin Wall, Shaw’s National Alumni Association president, adds that by coming together in coalition for the voter registration of HBCU students, in addition to voter mobilization during the 2018 midterm elections, it gave the associations, and their various local alumni chapters, a strong sense of “…who we are, what we stand for, and what we truly need to be doing.”
Wall graduated Shaw University in 2000. He has been President of Shaw’s Alumni Association since October of 2018.
Shaw, a partner in “A Call to Colors” campaign, mounted its own voter registration drive, in addition to GOTV (get out to vote) campaign where students took people to the polls, Wall said. He will now assign the association’s national Vice President to head up Phase II of “A Call to Colors.”
Going forward towards presidential year 2020, the campaign headed up by HBCU national alumni associations and their chapters, is creating standing committees for nonpartisan civic engagement.
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 student rallies promoting civic engagement and student organizations.
Ultimately, in the leadup to 2020 elections, SGAs would convene student leaders of Greek, NAACP and other organizations to plan strategies targeting voter registration and mobilization. Black Student Unions (BSUs) would be urged to replicate these efforts.
The Pitt County HBCU Coalition pioneered the model utilizing “A Call to Colors.” Now more like Shaw National Alumni Association, are following suit.
Kalvin Wall indicated that Shaw’s national alumni association has not had its executive board meeting to fully flesh out “A Call to Colors” Phase II directives to local chapters as of press time, but fully expects to do that shortly.
“There are a number of local chapters who are already very active with “A Call to Colors,” in particular our Pitt County Greenville area chapter, so we’re looking at allowing that chapter president to help walk the other ones through implementation, etc.”
Wall says he’s learned a lot from some of what other HBCUs in “A Call to Colors” have done in terms of nonpartisan civic engagement.
“I think that one of the main things that I’ve learned is you have to have the community involvement – you have to have that foundation established so that when you do , or present an idea of “A Call to Colors” that everyone can uniquely understand, and realize how they fit into this plan,” Wall said. “I’ve learned that you definitely have to understand the community component of “A Call to Colors.”
“I think it’s past time for us, particularly HBCUs, to get together, and get behind one idea, one movement that we can really have input and impact with.”
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