By Karen Stokes
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) student journalists from across the country visited the White House to discuss critical issues impacting their communities with Vice President Kamala Harris and Senior Advisor for Public Engagement Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Student journalists representing 47 HBCUs were invited to the White House for an exclusive Press Briefing.
Both Bottoms, Florida A&M University, (FAMU) and Harris, Howard University attended HBCUs.
Students raised questions and shared 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 student from Florida A&M was concerned about legislators in Florida targeting diversity equity and inclusion funding in 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 been very intentional in funding for HBCUs making sure that voices are heard. But this is a reminder that people should pay attention to their local level elections. These decisions are made by the Governor of Florida and no matter how much money is poured into schools like FAMU, if there’s a Governor and local leadership with the ability to make these decisions, we all suffer. This is a reminder that local elections matter,” said Bottoms.
A student from Lincoln University inquired about resources for internships and jobs.
“Sign up for the newsletter at the White House, the fact is that we don’t know what we don’t know,” Bottoms said. “Sign up for every single resource to have information blasted out to you. Stay connected when you learn of opportunities and make sure you share them with each other.”
A Wiley College student asked the Vice President what do most Americans don’t know about HBCUs.
“There is a lot not shared in the mainstream medium about the depth and breadth of the American experience, everyone’s American experience. When I was running I mentioned my Divine 9 family, some were unfamiliar with the Divine 9. We are counting on you all as leaders and journalists to continue to educate the people of our country and our world about who we are as Americans,” said the Vice President.
“Your voices are so important, use your voice, we need you guys to lead. To see what’s coming and to help deconstruct it so that people can see themselves in the future,” Harris said. “Help people see how they fit into what’s coming and the opportunities that are available.”