Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP via Getty Images
Vice President Kamala Harris will spend time Friday at the seaside campus of Hampton University, one of the nation’s leading historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
The Vice President’s trip to Hampton, founded in 1868 in Hampton, Virginia, will recognize the contributions of the HBCUs. It will also highlight how people of color in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) have grown stronger and can continue to strengthen America’s workforce.
“I am pleased to welcome US Vice President Kamala Harris to ‘Our Home By the Sea’,” said Dr. William R. Harvey, President of Hampton University. Dr. Harvey previously served as Chairman of the President’s Advisory Board on HBCUs during the Obama administration. “I would like to thank the White House for its recognition of the importance of HBCU students and graduates.”
Harris, a Howard University alumnus, exemplifies HBCU excellence. The lawyer and former United States Senator from California made history as the country’s first woman and Black / Southeast Asian American Vice President. In addition, she is the first HBCU graduate elected to the second highest office in the country.
According to the vice president’s office, Harris will visit the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at Hampton University. Later, she will host a panel discussion with Hampton students in STEM majors to discuss the value of HBCUs in training the next generation of professionals.
“The HBCUs are not only competing, they are leading,” said the vice president. “If we are to invest in the strength of our nation, we must invest in our HBCUs. “
The vice-president’s visit is timely. On September 3, President Joe Biden signed a proclamation recognizing September 5-11, 2021 as National HBCU Week. It encompasses a series of events and opportunities for federal agencies, private sector companies and philanthropic organizations to engage with HBCUs.
As a prelude to HBCU week, the president also signed an executive order establishing the White House initiative on promoting equity, opportunity and excellence in education through HBCUs. It will create a whole-of-government approach to meeting the needs of HBCUs and the communities they serve, and will aim to remove systemic barriers to HBCUs participating in federal programs. During HBCU week, Biden also appointed Tony Allen, president of Delaware State University, to chair the President’s Advisory Board on HBCUs.
As part of HBCU week on Thursday, Dr Anthony Fauci and Dr Cameron Webb hosted a panel discussion with student leaders on the work they are doing to immunize their communities. The researchers represented schools that included Florida A&M University, Norfolk State University, Tennessee State University, Fort Valley State University, Southern University in New Orleans, and Bowie State University.
“HBCUs are engines of opportunity, social mobility and economic prosperity for the students they serve,” US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement. “Since their founding, these vital institutions have played a crucial role in educating students to lead prosperous lives and in reversing long-standing inequalities between American systems.” He noted that “equity and excellence are in the institutional DNA” of HBCUs. “They serve students of color from all walks of life across the country, including families and communities who historically have been the furthest removed from opportunity and who stand to benefit the most from the potential of education to bring the American Dream to life. at hand.”