By Karen Stokes
Historically, student journalists from Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) from across the country have visited the White House to discuss critical issues affecting their communities with Vice President Kamala Harris and Senior Advisor for Public Engagement Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Student journalists representing 47 HBCUs were invited to an exclusive press conference at the White House.
Both Bottoms, Florida A&M University, (FAMU) and Harris, Howard University, attended HBCUs.
Students asked questions and raised concerns about jobs and internship resources, HBCU awareness, and funding.
This event follows previous HBCU student journalist briefings with Karine Jean Pierre, Cedric Richmond and Secretary Marcia Fudge.
A Florida A&M student was concerned about Florida lawmakers targeting diversity equity and inclusion funding at universities like FAMU. Many students and teachers are concerned with what this means for cultural education and visibility.
“President Biden and Vice President Harris have made a very conscious effort to ensure that voices are heard when funding HBCUs. But this is a reminder that people should pay attention to their local elections. These decisions are made by the Governor of Florida, and no matter how much money is put into schools like FAMU, if there is a governor and local leadership to make these decisions, we all suffer. This is a reminder that local elections matter,” Bottoms said.
A Lincoln University student inquired about resources for internships and jobs.
“Sign up for the White House newsletter, the fact is we don’t know what we don’t know,” Bottoms said. “Sign up for each individual resource for information. Stay connected as you hear about opportunities and make sure you share them.”
A Wiley College student asked the vice president what most Americans don’t know about HBCUs.
“Much is not shared in the mainstream media about the depth and breadth of the American experience, everyone’s American experience. When I ran I mentioned my Divine 9 family, some were not familiar with the Divine 9. We count on all of you as leaders and journalists to continue to educate the people of our country and our world about who we are as Americans,” he said.
“Your voices are so important, use your voice, we need you to lead. To see what’s coming and to help deconstruct it so people can see themselves in the future,” Harris said. “Help people see how they fit into what’s coming and the opportunities available.”