priusAt this year’s Magic City Classic in Birmingham, Alabama, Toyota announced plans to donate 22 Prius cars to select HBCUs in the Southwestern Atlantic and CIAA conferences. School administrators will be granted one-year leases to the vehicles as part of the Toyota Green Initiative (TGI) program which aims to help students at historically black colleges and universities to live more sustainably.

At a press conference held at Alabama Power, Toyota VP of Product Communications Jim Colon told NewsOne that Toyota developed the TGI campaign after realizing that, despite the Prius’ 50-miles-per-gallon track record, the hybrid hadn’t quite resonated with people of color.

“It’s stimulating a dialogue in African-American communities that ‘we’re part of this too,’” Colon said. “It’s just not isolated to one group. We have the thinking; we have the background; we have the intelligence that everybody else has, and we’re going to use it. We’re going to empower ourselves, and we’re going to try to figure out how to make our lives better. Why should we be less healthy than everybody else?”

TGI Coalition member and former “Love That Girl” star Tatyana Ali recalled how some students were shocked to learn that the Hollywood vet isn’t rolling around in a Maybach. read more…