Racial Equity and Redistricting Focus of 2021 HBCU Think Tank
The 7th Annual HBCU Think Tank took place at Donald Julian Reaves Student Center on the campus of Winston-Salem State University on Sunday, November 7, 2021. The event co-sponsored with Common Cause NC brought together students representatives from North Carolina A&T State University, Winston-Salem State University, Livingstone College, Elizabeth City State University and Bennett College.
Through interactive sessions with community leaders on topics ranging from racial equity in the environment, redistricting, and North Carolina politics, the Think Tank gave students attending historically Black institutions an opportunity to be informed about how those critical issues impact them. Session speakers included William Barber from Rural Beacon Initiative, Representative Zach Hawkins of Durham, NC, Tyler Daye from Common Cause NC, Professor Derick Smith, Blu Lewis from Bluprint NC, and Kylah Gulon from NoCap.
Speaking with students on the effects of environmental change and global warming across the country, William Barber informed students how impoverished neighborhoods nationwide are suffering the consequences of global warming.
Representative Zach Hawkins spoke on the importance of historically black colleges and universities, encouraging leadership to acknowledge and appreciate HBCUs and getting more funding for resources and support.
Tyler Daye and Professor Derick Smith followed up with redistricting and NC politics — giving students in-depth knowledge of what redistricting is and how it impacts minorities statewide. Professor Derick Smith shared historical information regarding elections, voting, and how they currently affect us.
Panelists Blue Lewis and Kylah Gulon answered panel questions about student activism, institutional involvement in black politics, and how to continue the fight in our nearby communities as students.
These sessions were not only informative but also created resources for students on these campuses. The event also fostered a network of continued engagement with speakers and students from different institutions.
Thank you to Chancellor Linwood Robinson and Winston-Salem State University for graciously hosting the 7th Annual HBCU Think Tank.
Special Projects Intern