Dr. Everett Ward, President of Saint Augustine’s University Supports “A Call to Colors” Campaign – GDN Exclusive: Part IXby Cash Michaels, Contributing writer June 1, 2018
In 2015, Dr. Everett Ward became the third alumnus to serve as President of St. Augustine’s University (SAU) in Raleigh. A former member of the Democratic National Committee, he is also the 35th General President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., of which he has been a life member, and a member of the Council of Presidents.
Dr. Everett Ward’s career in politics, education and public service has indeed been distinguished. And because he has seen so much, and accomplished a great deal, there is no question in his mind of the value – indeed the necessity – of Greater Diversity News’ HBCU voter registration campaign, “A Call to Colors.”
“I’m giving it all I have because this is our future,” said SAU’s 11th President, referring to HBCU students. “If we don’t prepare the next generation of leaders to help continue this legacy against what we see, we are doomed as a people,” he told GDN.
And regarding “A Call to Colors,” Dr. Ward says emphatically, “It’s a must, it’s a must. I support it 100 percent.”
The campaign to register to vote every eligible HBCU student in North Carolina in time for the upcoming 2018 midterm elections. “A Call to Colors” is the brainchild of GDN publisher Peter Grear, who Dr. Ward lauded for his continued “vision and leadership” ever since they attended NC Black Leadership Caucus meetings at SAU together over 40 years ago.
Dr. Ward went on to say that a primary mission of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) beyond preparing students to lead the eventual upward mobility of their communities, is “…being involved as an active participant in the fundamentals of democracy…which is voting and participating in the electoral process.”
Dr. Ward said he always reminds his students of the adage, “To whom much is given, much is required.”
Dr. Ward makes it clear that the civic obligation of voting when the stakes are so high is an obligation that no one, especially HBCU students, can escape.
“Therefore, I support it 100 percent, and encourage all HBCUs to embrace this effort to encourage our students to be involved,” Dr. Ward said, adding that he also hopes that civically involved students will take the skills developed and apply them to their aspirations and goals later in life.
And what about those “hard to reach” students who believe that the political process of self-expression holds nothing for them ultimately, because they neither see or hear any candidates that reflect their thoughts and feelings?
Dr. Ward says if those young people aren’t reached, “…that’s our fault.”
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. Everett Ward, President of St. Augustine’s University, joins 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 NC NAACP; 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. E. 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 the “A Call to Colors” civic engagement campaign.
The “Call to Colors” campaign is working to formally engage with the Pan-Hellenic Councils, the NC NAACP, the NC Black Leadership Caucus, the Prince Hall Masons and the Eastern Star, among others, to support the effort.
Dr. Ward also joins other black leadership who endorse “A Call to Colors” action plan in recommending you subscribe to Greater Diversity News’ weekly Civic Engagement Project email updates (GDN eNews) for free at GDN’s website: GreaterDiversity.com.