Source: Daily Advance
Students from historically Black colleges and universities across the state are calling on the North Carolina General Assembly to support HBCUs through equitable funding and measures.
Titled, “Advocacy Day,” students encouraged lawmakers to “respect the rights of HBCU students to have a voice in our democracy,” according to a press release from Common Cause NC.
This comes just a week after a bipartisan group of lawmakers formed “The HBCU Caucus”, which will advocate for the state’s 10 HBCUs in the legislature.
The group underscored the need for adequate investments, and for the state’s legislature to show a commitment to HBCUs.
“They allow us to network with people who have similar journeys and career pathways,” stated Rachel Roundtree, a senior at Elizabeth City State University, during the press conference. “HBCUs contribute greatly to North Carolina, creating jobs, building communities and increasing diversity. We today ask, and demand, that HBCU communities be protected at all costs.’’
Roundtree was not alone, as other HBCU students criticized the controversial House Bill 40 which passed in the House.
Advocates and communities have called out the bill’s measures, which could stifle the right to protest. The vague language of the bill, and its increase in penalty provisions, could result in North Carolinians having their voting rights stripped if convicted, according to PEN America.
“House Bill 40 creates additional charges for North Carolinians speaking out against injustice. We know this bill targets people who look like me,” stated David Wilson, a student at Winston-Salem State University. Wilson underscored that it’s important to elect leaders “who make decisions for us.”
Wilson further added, “We must be just as relentless with keeping our rights that some people are with taking them.”