Despite progress and national focus, historically Black colleges and universities across the country still need public support
For the fourth consecutive year, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® will earmark on a progressive goal to raise $1 million in 24 hours for their national HBCU Impact Day initiative. Set for Monday, September 20, 2021, the annual fundraiser is a part of the sorority’s four-year, $10 million commitment to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) led by AKA International President and CEO Dr. Glenda Glover. The organization’s more than 300,000 college-educated members, corporate partners, and donors are challenged to make contributions to assist with the ongoing fiscal sustainability and operations of the more than 100 HBCUs around the country.
Dr. Glover, who is also president of Tennessee State University and an HBCU graduate, says while HBCUs are currently experiencing a renaissance that has brought about a new level of awareness, more must be done for their survival and long-term sustainability.
“The contributions of HBCUs can no longer be overlooked. Just look to the White House or the United States Congress.”Tweet this
“Despite the recent national attention given to HBCUs in 2021 and incremental state and federal funding, HBCUs still lag far behind other institutions of higher education when it comes to ongoing and sustainable support,” adds Dr. Glover.
In 2021, the sorority gifted $1.6 million to 35 eligible four-year HBCUs. The endowments on these campuses will grow in perpetuity and help schools reduce student debt through scholarships, fund industry-specific research, and provide much-needed infrastructure maintenance. Those funds are proving to be extremely crucial during the current climate in higher education.
HBCUs continue to be under-funded and now have an added burdened of operational challenges with the impact of the ever evolving COVID-19 pandemic.
“Now more than ever is the time for Alpha Kappa Alpha to step up, as we have done for more than 113 years, along with our partners and continue our call to action for our historic institutions of higher education,” Glover contends. “The contributions of HBCUs can no longer be overlooked or minimized. Just look to the White House or the United States Congress. HBCUs account for nearly 25% of bachelor’s degrees granted to African Americans. I cannot imagine a world without HBCUs, but I can imagine how much stronger the world would be if we all supported the HBCU community.”
Members and supporters have surpassed the $1 million goal for the past three years. Last year’s Impact Day raised $1.3 million in 2020.
HBCU Impact Day is part of the sorority’s recognition of HBCU Week. On September 20, chapters around the globe will host fundraising events in support of the $1 million fundraising goal. Interested donors can make contributions by giving by mail or online at http://donate.akaeaf.org during the 24-hour campaign. For more information on the sorority’s commitment to HBCUs, visit www.AKA1908.com
About Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (AKA) is an international service organization that was founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1908. It is the oldest Greek-letter organization established by African-American, college-educated women. Alpha Kappa Alpha is comprised of over 300,000 members in more than 1,000 graduate and undergraduate chapters in the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Liberia, Bahamas, Bermuda, the Caribbean, Canada, Japan, Germany, South Korea, South Africa, and in the Middle East. Led by International President and Chief Executive Officer, Glenda Glover Ph.D., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated is often hailed as “America’s premier Greek-letter organization for African-American women.” Visit www.aka1908.com for more information.
About the AKA Educational Advancement Foundation
Over 40 years ago, the Educational Advancement Foundation was established by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. to promote lifelong learning. It is now the largest minority-owned women’s foundation in the country with assets totaling over $22.7 million. The foundation has donated over $6.5 million for scholarships, fellowships, and community assistance grants and is an organization with a rich and distinguished history of service that spans nearly a century. Creating the Educational Advancement Foundation was the method by which Alpha Kappa Alpha. Inc. sought to ensure that there would always be support for education, its oldest program of service. Today, the Foundation, a financially strong and viable organization, is a powerful tool for good, pooling the resources of others who share this vision of providing a perpetual source of support for education.
Alpha Kappa Alpha implements an AKA HBCU Endowment Initiative in partnership with EAF, in which an endowed scholarship will be established at each accredited four-year HBCU. The goal is to stamp the Alpha Kappa Alpha brand of financial support on each HBCU campus to help students remain in school, complete their course of study, and receive their college degrees. For more information about the Educational Advancement Foundation, please visit www.akaeaf.org.
History Behind Black History Month
In 1925, the prominent scholar, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, announced that the second week in February 1926 would be declared Negro History Week. He picked that month because it paired up with the month of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass’s birthdays. It was a bold move at that time to recognize the accomplishments of the Negro.
Dr. Woodson, the second Black American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1915, in coordination with Jesse Morland, a prominent Black minister and community leader in Washington, D.C., founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. The organization’s primary purpose was to research and promote achievements by Blacks in America and Africans on the African continent. The organization’s findings were published in the Journal of Negro History. These studies served as a counter to the negative white portrayal of Blacks, and with the release of the movie Birth of a Nation, which had an official showing at Woodrow Wilson’s White House in 1915.
Dr. Woodson’s basic premise for his research was that no other race should control the education of another race’s children, which was especially true in the United States. He constantly pointed out the negative images that Black children received in their education. He wrote, “to handicap a student by teaching him that his black face is a curse and that the struggle to change is hopeless is the worst sort of lynching.” As he observed this continued debasement of his race, the children’s exposure to what he considered psychological abuse was why he introduced Black History Week.
In defense of Black History Week, he wrote, “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition. It becomes a negligible factor in the world’s thought, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.”
The response was overwhelmingly positive, and the years that followed witnessed the celebration’s growth all over the country. Negro history clubs became popular, and teachers began to teach the importance of Black heroes and their accomplishments, specifically during that week.
In February 1969, at the height of the Black is Beautiful movement, Black students at Kent State University insisted that the week should be stretched to the entire month. The following year those students did extend it from one week to two months. Other entities began celebrating not two months but the whole month of February. Finally, in 1976, President Gerald Ford endorsed February as the official Black History Month, and it has now become a time to celebrate and acknowledge the accomplishments of the Black race in America.
This year’s theme for Black History Month is “Black Resistance in the Past, Present, and Future.” It explores how Black Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial programs, and police killings since the inception of this country, according to the Association for the Study of Negro (now African American) Life and History or ASALH.
ASALH adds, “how you can take part in the observance is to educate yourself on the Black experience in history, with an emphasis on Black American resistance to oppression.”
South Texas HBCU College Fair Back Again
By Ebony Huerta Wells
St. Philip’s College, Prairie View A&M University, and Texas Southern University are just three of the nine HBCUs or Historically Black Colleges & Universities in Texas.
Many of these HBCUs will be at the Annual South Texas HBCU College Fair at Northeast Lakeview College on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 9 am to noon. The event is made possible by IMBRACE Education, which is partnering with NAACP’s San Antonio Branch Youth Council and Northeast Lakeview College.
Last year, more than 600 families attended, and more than 40 HBCUs participated in the event.
This event will allow college-bound middle school/high school students and their parents to speak to several HBCU admissions representatives/alumni and ROTC scholarship program managers regarding the educational opportunities at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
There will be special performances by Sam Houston High School’s Marching Storm and Judson Early College Academy’s Step Team, including interactive college readiness workshops.
Monique A. Cannon Broadnax, founder and executive director of IMBRACE, said the focus is on HBCUs because of their significant role in advancing the value and importance of a post-secondary education that holistically engages Black students. These institutions of higher learning are dedicated to and single-handedly responsible for ensuring that underrepresented students, low socioeconomic students, disenfranchised students, first-generation college students, and students from all backgrounds who traditionally excel academically and socially in nurturing environments attain bachelor’s, master’s, professional and doctoral degrees.
IMBRACE Education, a nonprofit organization, provides students and parents with information regarding the college application process and scholarships and conducts tours of college and university campuses with a focus on increasing enrollment at HBCUs. For 10 years, it has been devoted to preparing students for life after high school by creating experiences to expose students to post-secondary options at all HBCUs.
All attendees (students, parents, sponsors, and community members) must pre-register, print and present or display their registration ticket at the door upon entry. The event will occur at Northeast Lakeview College’s Llano Wellness Center Building near Parking Lot 3 at 1201 Kitty Hawk Road in Universal City. Visit (ImbraceEducation.org) for more information.
Turning HBCU Students into Medical Doctors
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, only 8% of medical students and 5% of physicians are Black and African American. In an effort to address this disparity, the American Heart Association, the leading public health nonprofit organization dedicated to building a world of longer, healthier lives for all, has announced that 52 students from 23 academic institutions have been selected to participate in its Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Scholars program.
The Association’s HBCU Scholars are enrolled in biomedical or other health sciences programs at their respective institutions. Through their participation in the Scholars program, they will study how the social determinants of health and other health disparities impact underserved communities. They will also participate in scientific research projects and present their findings at the end of the program.
“Since 2015, the American Heart Association HBCU Scholars program has helped change the trajectory of dozens of under-represented students in science and medicine by fostering their talent, preparedness and growth to pursue careers in biomedical science” said American Heart Association volunteer president Michelle A. Albert, M.D., M.P.H., FAHA, who is the Walter A. Haas-Lucie Stern endowed chair in Cardiology, professor of medicine and admissions dean at University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine. “As champions for health care quality and access for all, the American Heart Association is committed to building the pipeline of diverse persons in medicine and empowering the next generation of research and health care professionals.”
The program is funded by a grant provided by the Quest Diagnostics Foundation, which also supports the American Heart Association’s Hispanic Serving Institutes (HSI) Scholars Program.
“This program plays an essential role in supporting the pipeline of Black students who will increase representation and equity in the health care field,” said Mandell Jackson, vice president and general manager, Quest for Health Equity, Quest Diagnostics. “We are proud to support this next cohort of HBCU Scholars with the American Heart Association as it provides them with enriching academic and networking experiences to help them excel in their career paths.”
Accepted students are selected based on their GPA, completion of a formal application, which includes an essay, and an official recommendation from their school. During the program, scholars are paired with a mentor who works in health care or is currently performing their own relevant scientific research. They will also participate in a leadership development program and are awarded a financial stipend to help cover education-related expenses. More about the American Heart Association’s HBCU Scholars initiative can be found here.
Clinical research studies published in the American Journal of Public Health suggest that patients of color may experience uncomfortable interactions and communication barriers with their health care providers due to lack of diversity and face implicit and unconscious bias from physicians and other health care professionals. These barriers, in turn, can lower patients’ trust in the overall health care system and as a result, these patients may not complete prescribed treatments or follow-up on recommended care. Addressing this issue is a vital component of the HBCU Scholars program.
Each year, the Association seeks applications from sophomores, juniors and seniors from historically underrepresented communities who are currently enrolled in an HBCU and are interested in pursuing a professional degree in biomedical and health sciences.
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