Our Turn: The Story Continues Focus of HBCU Think Tank

Aug 31, 2023 | HBCUs, Youth Engagement

The 9th Annual HBCU Think Tank was an incomparable experience. Taking place on the campus of North Carolina A&T State University, this year’s theme, “Our Turn: The Story Continues,” emphasized the importance of storytelling and its role in politics and social justice. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the state of North Carolina all have a unique story that fuels the passion of many student leaders to create change in their communities and amplify the needs of students on their campuses. From the sit-in movement to creating the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), NC HBCU students have always led social justice movements and played an integral role in systemic change.

Aigne Taylor, campus coordinator, and Lamair Bryan, marketing consultant, facilitated conversations that empowered students to share their narratives and lived experiences. Throughout the three-day event, students attended various training sessions, which included Translating Policies to the Black Community led by attorney Nastasia Watkins, HBCUs and the Social Justice Movement led by Dr. Jelani Favors, Birthing Justice by Maya Jackson, Redistricting 101 by Tyler Daye, How to Create Programs led by Tiffany Seawright, NCBA program consultant, and many more sessions that will fuel students as they prepare to lead this work on their campuses in the Fall.

In addition, students toured the International Civil Rights Museum in Downtown Greensboro, located at the old Woolworth’s store, where the A&T Four, coordinated by the Bennett Belles, started a movement that would change the world. Students visited Beloved Community Center, which played an integral role in advancing social justice in Greensboro and surrounding areas. Dr. Frankie Denise Powell, special projects coordinator, was pictured within the center on a mural for her steadfast commitment to social action and advocacy alongside other leaders. From touring the museum to hearing from prominent community figures at Beloved Community Center, students truly understood the value of collective student power.

The impact of the 9th Annual HBCU Think Tank is already being made as students shared how inspired they were. Justin Nixon, Johnson C. Smith University student and Raising the Raising the B.A.R. fellow, shares:

“Attending the HBCU Think Tank was a truly enlightening experience. I got the opportunity to connect with North Carolina HBCU’s top student leaders about important issues affecting our schools and communities. As a Raising the B.A.R. Fellow with NCBA and CVP, I got an opportunity to learn about ways to increase civic engagement. The Think Tank was the culminating event that sparked crucial dialogue and action towards making a better Black America. I thank the North Carolina Black Alliance and Common Cause North Carolina for facilitating this event and providing an outlet for coordinated action between HBCU students.”

 Thank you to our other fiscal sponsors, Campus Vote Project, Southern Vision Alliance, and the NC Black Leadership and Organization Collective, for making this event possible. We also want to thank all the students who participated, engaged, and made this event a success!

The HBCU Think Tank was developed to create a space that unites student leaders from HBCUs across North Carolina to promote campus collaborations, brainstorm programs, and become knowledgeable about various political issues that impact their communities. This event is co-sponsored by the North Carolina Black Alliance and Common Cause North Carolina.

Aigné Taylor

Aigné Taylor

Campus Coordinator

Connect with us by following our Instagram page @HBCUnityNC.

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