Connect with us

#NNPA BlackPress

UNCF Delivers First ‘State of HBCUs’ Address in Washington

NNPA NEWSWIRE — During the event, UNCF president and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax outlined a comprehensive legislative agenda for Congressional members that he said should help level the playing field for the nation’s HBCUs.

Published

on

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Nana-Ama Brookman, a senior at Virginia Union, said she wouldn’t be on the cusp of graduating with honors and with a degree in mass communications and criminal justice, if it weren’t for the United Negro College Fund.

When she started college, Brookman worked three jobs as she struggled to pay rising tuition and other costs, fighting to stay awake and keep up with her studies.

But, after receiving a scholarship from the UNCF, Brookman was able to focus more on her education and a little less on the side jobs. And, it’s paid off as she now sports a 4.0 grade point average.

“That was a game changer,” she said.

Brookman was among the attendees at a Capitol Hill luncheon where the UNCF issued its first “State of HBCUs Address.”

The organization, who for 75 years have championed the cause that ‘A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” also launched its HBCU Congressional Honor Roll.

UNCF president and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax

UNCF president and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax

During the event, UNCF president and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax outlined a comprehensive legislative agenda for Congressional members that he said should help level the playing field for the nation’s HBCUs.

A number of lawmakers and a host of HBCU presidents attended the event where Lomax called on federal policymakers to make significant investments in HBCU infrastructure and innovation, reform financial aid and evaluate regional accreditors’ treatment of HBCUs.

“We want our institutions to be vibrant, vital and strong,” Lomax said.

“We want our partners, federal and otherwise, to invest at a level that is not simply about surviving, but thriving,” he said.

During the luncheon where

Attorney and CNN political analyst Bakari Sellers served as master of ceremonies

Attorney and CNN political analyst Bakari Sellers served as master of ceremonies

Attorney and CNN political analyst Bakari Sellers served as master of ceremonies, UNCF officials and others outlined the benefits of HBCUs and the impact those schools have had.

HBCUs represent 17 percent of African Americans with a bachelor’s degree and 24 percent of African Americans with a bachelor’s degree in the STEM field.

HBUCs meet the needs of low-income, first generation students with 70 percent of enrollees considered low-income versus 39 percent at all other colleges.

“The forerunner to good legislation is good education,” said South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott, who spoke at the luncheon.

“The forerunner to good legislation is good education,” said South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott, who spoke at the luncheon. (Pictured with Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., President and CEO National Newspaper Publishers Association)

Fifty-five percent of African American graduates of HBCUs report more support and higher engagement – a figure that’s two times more than African American graduates of other colleges.

Just as important, HBCUs generate a $14.8 billion economic impact annually, producing 134,900 jobs each year and $130 billion in lifetime earnings.

“The forerunner to good legislation is good education,” said South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott, who spoke at the luncheon.

Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine said HBCUs have “persisted and thrived because your mission is right.”

Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine said HBCUs have “persisted and thrived because your mission is right.”

Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine said HBCUs have “persisted and thrived because your mission is right.”

“It’s not easy running an HBCU, there are challenges,” Kaine said, noting that his children’s teachers were products of HBCUs and they’ve become successful in part because of it.

Bennett College President Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins also praised the UNCF for its role in helping raise $9.5 million over a 60-day period in a bid to help save the historic all-girls’ school’s accreditation.

Lomax promised that the fight isn’t over.

He also laid out the top priorities for HBCUs, noting that the country should invest more heavily in those institutions.

Among the priorities:

  • A White House Initiative that should implement policies that increase the federal investment in HBCUs.
  • Fully funded Title III HBCU Programs that would include $85 million in annual mandatory funding which would enable HBCUs to prepare more minority students for the workforce and economy.
  • Annual discretionary funding for the strengthening of HBCUs Program should increase from Fiscal Year 2019 levels of $282 million to $375 million, the authorized level.
  • Endowment Challenge Grants which would help HBCUs increase their self-sufficiency and build endowments that, today, are half the typical size of non-HBCU endowments.
  • Reform Federal Student Aid.
  • Invest in HBCU facilities and infrastructure to the tune of a $1 trillion national infrastructure program that should include grants, no or low-interest loans, and tax incentives through a national infrastructure bank and, or, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Interior, and Treasury programs to renovate and construct HBCU facilities.
  • Fund New HBCU Centers of Innovation for National Needs.
  • Repeal and Reform burdensome higher education regulations.

“HBCUs are the engines that help power and deliver much-needed economic and workforce diversity,” Lomax said. “By that standard alone, our institutions are worth the federal investment we are asking for. During a time, when college is increasingly more unaffordable and student debt is growing, HBCUs continue to represent a tremendous value and opportunity for many students and families.”

#NNPA BlackPress

IN MEMORIAM: Cheryl Hickmon: National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Dies

NNPA NEWSWIRE — THE BURTON WIRE — Hickmon, a beloved and celebrated member, served the organization for 39 years. The Connecticut native was initiated into the Alpha Xi Chapter at South Carolina State University in 1982 and was an active member of the Hartford (Conn.) Alumnae Chapter. The national office of the sorority released a statement announcing Hickmon’s  death which reads as follows, in part: “It is with great sorrow that Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. shares the passing of our beloved National President and Chair of the National Board of Directors, Cheryl A. Hickmon. President Hickmon transitioned peacefully on January 20, 2022 after a recent illness.

Published

on

Cheryl Hickmon, national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, the nation’s largest African-American sorority.

By Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D, NNPA Newswire Culture and Entertainment Editor

The nation is mourning the passing of Cheryl Hickmon, national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, the nation’s largest African-American sorority. Hickmon was elected president of the organization dedicated to sisterhood, scholarship and service  November 21, 2021 at the 55th national convention held in Atlanta, GA.

Hickmon, a beloved and celebrated member, served the organization for 39 years. The Connecticut native was initiated into the Alpha Xi Chapter at South Carolina State University in 1982 and was an active member of the Hartford (Conn.) Alumnae Chapter. The national office of the sorority released a statement announcing Hickmon’s  death which reads as follows:

“It is with great sorrow that Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. shares the passing of our beloved National President and Chair of the National Board of Directors, Cheryl A. Hickmon. President Hickmon transitioned peacefully on January 20, 2022 after a recent illness.

President Hickmon was a devoted member of Delta Sigma Theta since 1982 and served in various capacities at the chapter, region, and national level before being elected National President. She is remembered not only for her role as a leader but for being a colleague, friend, and most of all, sister.

The entire sisterhood of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated mourns the loss of President Hickmon. During this difficult time, we ask that you respect her family’s privacy and keep them in your prayers.”

In addition to serving as the national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Cheryl was employed at Montefiore’s Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Health in Hartsdale, NY where she supervised the In Vitro Fertilization Laboratories for Andrology and Endocrinology. A licensed Clinical Laboratory Technologist, Hickmon worked in the Reproductive Medical Laboratory for more than 30 years.
Members and supporters have been offering remembrances and calling for prayers in response to Hickmon’s death. Florida representative Val Demings,  who is a member of the sorority, shared her thoughts via Twitter:
Organizations including the NAACP and fellow Black Greek Letter Organizations like Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma and Alpha Kappa Alpha have issued statements about Hickmon’s passing.

Cheryl Hickmon is the daughter of the late Dr. Ned Hickmon of Hartford, CT and Bishopville, South Carolina and the late Consuella Anderson Hickmon of Hartford, CT and Cincinnati, Ohio. She is survived by her two older brothers Ned and David Hickmon.

Hickmon’s bio reads, “Cheryl lives her life by the motto … ‘Don’t measure life by the number of breaths you take but by the number of moments that take your breath away.’” She was 60.

This obituary was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.

Follow The Burton Wire on Instagram or Twitter @TheBurtonWire. 

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

Parents Raise the Alarm About Violence in Schools, Say Their Votes Depends on Improvement

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Parents have very legitimate concerns about violence in schools, increased bullying, and a lack of mental health resources,” Keri Rodrigues, co-founder, and President of the National Parents Union, said in a statement.

Published

on

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Parents have very legitimate concerns about violence in schools, increased bullying, and a lack of mental health resources,” Keri Rodrigues, co-founder, and President of the National Parents Union, said in a statement.
About 52 percent said student mental health after coping with the pandemic is a significant issue, as well.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

A new poll revealed that parents continue to express “legitimate concerns” about violence in schools, increased bullying, and a lack of mental health resources.

Alarmingly, the poll released by the National Parents Union found that 59 percent of parents are very or extremely concerned about how schools are teaching race and diversity.

“Many Black parents are worried that schools are being harsher on students of color compared to white students,” researchers noted in the poll.

The National Parents Union counts as a network of parent organizations and grassroots activists committed to improving the quality of life for children and families in the United States.

Conducted from November 19 to November 23, the survey included 1,233 parents who also count as registered voters.

Researchers found that 84 percent of parents are concerned about how schools address the threat of violence, and 59 percent identified increased bullying or violence in school as a significant issue.

About 52 percent said student mental health after coping with the pandemic is a significant issue, as well.

“Parents have very legitimate concerns about violence in schools, increased bullying, and a lack of mental health resources,” Keri Rodrigues, co-founder, and President of the National Parents Union, said in a statement.

“Now, it is incumbent on schools to do something about these issues, especially given the federal funds available. It’s not rocket science. Rather than repaint a football field, first, make sure that there are enough counselors to help students cope with mental health issues,” Rodrigues asserted.

The poll also asked the parents who responded that they were concerned about the threat of violence, which worries them the most.

The top three most pressing concerns remain:

  • 44 percent: schools not having enough counselors, psychologists, or social workers to work with students
  • 42 percent: schools not having resources to keep weapons out of schools
  • 39 percent: schools not having school resource officers or police accessible on campus
  • 59 percent of parents are extremely or very concerned about how schools are teaching about race and diversity; Among Black parents, 69 percent share this sentiment, which drops slightly to 67 percent among Hispanic parents.

Of the overall number of parents who are at least somewhat concerned (79 percent):

  • 48 percent say what concerns them the most is schools are not teaching accurate information about the issue of race.
  • 42 percent are most concerned about schools pushing a progressive agenda onto students
  • 56 percent of GOP parents who are concerned say this is their top concern
  • 32 percent are most concerned that schools aren’t focused on the issue enough
  • 46 percent of Black parents who are concerned say this is their top concern
  • 78 percent of parents are concerned about how schools are handling disciplinary issues
  • Nearly half (46 percent) of Black parents who said they are concerned about how schools are handling disciplinary issues are worried that schools are harsher on students of color compared to white students
  • 38 percent of parents trust Democrats to do a better job of handling education; 31 percent trust Republicans; 14 percent trust both equally; 11 percent trust neither

Among parents who identify as Independents, 28 percent trust Republicans and 20 percent trust Democrats.

“These findings underscore the importance of the very thing we have been imploring school leaders across the country to do – listen to the parents in your community,” Rodrigues stated.

“It also reinforces the need for those running for office to take the concerns of parents very seriously or risk losing elections.”

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

COMMENTARY: Telling Our Family Stories Keeps Black History Alive

We grew up hearing family stories about life in the Carolinas from our parents and grandparents. My sister, Gwen Fortune-Blakely, has written her first children’s book, Rex and the Band, inspired by one of our favorite stories our grandma used to tell about my dad, Dr. Rex Fortune, who is now a retired public school superintendent.

Published

on

Dr. Margaret Fortune, Fortune School, University of Southern California (USC), football, USC marching band, marching bands, drumline, public charter school, Rex and Margaret Fortune Early College High School, family stories, life in the Carolinas, parents, grandparents, Gwen Fortune-Blakely, children’s book, Rex and the Band, grandma, Dr. Rex Fortune, retired public school superintendent, little Rex, spirited young boy, high-energy marching band, North Carolina A&T football games, sister’s beautifully illustrated book, Telling our family stories, African Americans, history, Griots, storytellers, grandparents, ancestors, passed on, Black press, clearinghouse, many stories, Black community, Ebony Jr., elementary school student, high school, Sacramento Observer newspaper, Cocoa Kids Books, engaging, authentic, uplifting, inspiring
Dr. Margaret Fortune is the president/CEO of Fortune School, a system of nine, K-12 public charter schools with over 2,300 students focused on closing the Black achievement gap by preparing students for college.

Let’s Talk Black Education

By Dr. Margaret Fortune, President/CEO Fortune School

When we were kids, my dad would take us to football games at the University of Southern California (USC). I didn’t care much for football, but I loved it when we’d stay after the game to hear the USC marching band play. His love for marching bands is why we have a drumline at the public charter school I founded and named after my parents — Rex and Margaret Fortune Early College High School.

We grew up hearing family stories about life in the Carolinas from our parents and grandparents. My sister, Gwen Fortune-Blakely, has written her first children’s book, Rex and the Band, inspired by one of ourfavorite stories our grandma used to tell about my dad, Dr. Rex Fortune, who is now a retired public school superintendent.

As the story goes, one day back in 1947, my grandma sent little Rex to the corner store to get some eggs so she could bake a cake. My dad bought the eggs and put them in his pockets. On the walk home, he encountered a marching band high-steppin’ down the dusty road to his mother’s house. Little Rex got so excited that he followed the band, beating on his legs like drums all the way home and, yes, breaking all the eggs.

“Rex and the Band” explores a day in the life of Rex, a spirited young boy who dreams of one day playing in a high-energy marching band like the ones he enjoys watching with his father during North Carolina A&T football games.

Reading my sister’s beautifully illustrated book, I cried tears of joy. Telling our family stories is such an important way for African Americans to keep our history alive. Griots, or storytellers, are the reason why we know the truths that we do know about our family history and ancestors.

I believe all of us can think back to when our grandparents would tell us stories about our ancestors who may have passed on before we were born. It was their way of making sure our stories were not only told but preserved.

The Black press has been the clearinghouse for many stories that have impacted the Black community over time. My sister published her first poem in Ebony Jr. as an elementary school student and then in high school she interned at the Sacramento Observer newspaper.

Gwen founded Cocoa Kids Books to publish books like “Rex and the Band” that encourage Black children to dream, aspire for more, and soar because they see themselves reflected in stories that are engaging, authentic, uplifting, and inspiring. I’m so proud of my big sis! You can buy Gwen’s book at https://store.bookbaby.com/book/rex-and-the-band.

Dr. Margaret Fortune is the president/CEO of Fortune School, a system of nine, K-12 public charter schools with over 2,300 students focused on closing the Black achievement gap by preparing students for college.

Continue Reading

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending