- A coalition of presidents and chancellors from 33 historically black colleges and universities have penned an open letter, calling for a response from black communities nationwide to reducing gun violence.
- The letter, signed by sitting and former HBCU leaders, says historically black colleges are the ideal settings for community dialog, based upon traditions of diversity and inclusion.
- The letter calls for a national HBCU symposium on gun violence, and a commitment to build awareness around the impact of gun violence on families and communities.
In an open letter released Wednesday evening, the leaders called for a national HBCU symposium on gun violence and "a commitment to raising the awareness of the debilitating impact of trauma on the lives of those who have been exposed to loss as a result of gun violence."
This example of executive unity among a set of peer institutions is the ideal showcase of how higher education can use collaboration to address major issues of the day. Most HBCUs, with the exception of those in South Carolina, the District of Columbia, Florida and the Virgin Islands, are stationed in states which currently allow permissive or licensed open carry laws; and their leaders have publicly committed to addressing a gun violence epidemic the American Medical Association this week classified as a public health crisis.
Similar opportunities exist for colleges and universities to dedicate research, public outreach and social capital to solving intractable problems like obesity, poverty, infrastructure sustainability and political engagement. College students have historically been engaged with these issues as volunteers and public advocates for many years, but as college leaders, every opportunity to invest in a prevalent community issue is one that presents chances for recruitment, philanthropy and governmental support.