ATLANTA – For decades black men have been subjected to unfair and untrue stereotypes. Now, an historic election during the 2016-2017 academic year, which propelled six black male students to the presidency at every level of the Student Government Association at Clark Atlanta University, is helping debunk negative stereotypes. This significant accomplishment is shining a light on black men at CAU and beyond for their innovation, education, work ethic and polished appearance. These are qualities many have always known black men possess, yet some chose to ignore.
As far as records indicate, this is the first time in CAU’s history black men have been simultaneously elected president of each of the four classes, in addition to the undergraduate and graduate offices on a campus, which is 70% female. It’s a feat even CAU President Ronald A. Johnson took notice of.
“I offer my heartiest congratulations to these six strong men because they bring to life the University’s mottos: ‘I’ll find a way or make one’ and ‘Culture for Service’,” said President Johnson. “They have taken the challenge to create opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others,” Johnson continued.
Consider Freshman Class President Eric Wilson, who organized several fundraisers within his first three months in office to help pay for educational programming for his classmates. The Chicago native is known around campus as a social media guru because of his huge online following. “I think students respect what I have to say because they feel like they can come to me for anything school related,” said Wilson, a mass media arts major.
Warren Hawkins was elected president of the Sophomore Class. He’s a social work major from St. Louis. “I find it odd how the media is quick to show black men committing crimes, but slow to publicize young black men like us, who are armed with knowledge and influence,” Hawkins remarked. He is active in the Collegiate 100 club, a group of young men who can be seen on campus leading by example by attending classes in business attire.
Next is Junior Class President Elisha J. Harris of Lawton, Okla. He’s a business administration major who doesn’t mind rolling up his sleeves to help victims of the deadly 2016 flood in Baton Rouge. Harris helped organize a relief drive, which filled an entire tractor-trailer with desperately needed supplies. “People here have a lift-as-you-climb mentality that creates a positive atmosphere for growth,” he said, referring to qualities he’s learned at CAU.
Lejohn Tate is a tough as nails corrections officer who routinely holds down 12-hour shifts securing some of the most hardened criminals in Georgia. The Los Angeles native is also the Senior Class president known for his kind heart and encouraging words. “This all-black-male group of SGA presidents at CAU shows it’s more to us than just negative statistics,” Tate opined. “When black men have the opportunity to lead, we will step up to the plate,” said Tate, a criminal justice major.
Adrain Artary has the responsibility of serving as president to the entire undergraduate student body, which includes nearly 4,000 students. The sociology major from Atlanta advocated for a student health and wellness center, including a gym to open in the Student Center in February. “It is an honor to serve my community and promote positive images of black men,” he stated.
Rounding out this historic group is Graduate President Stacy Roberson. The Texarkana, Texas native is pursuing his master’s degree in school counseling. He was recently chosen, along with a second CAU student, as a 2016-2017 White House HBCU All-Star. As part of his duties in this role Stacy implemented a security escort program to increase campus safety. “I pray that our example encourages other young men to carry the torch of leadership,” Stacy asserted.
These young men are the epitome of hard work and humility. They accept no accolades or recognition for the leadership they regularly display. All they hope is their example will be seen as a true representation of black men in America. Not the frightening images you might see on your nightly news.
These are the types of Men of CAU our faculty and staff work hard to build into CAU Men who lead the world in business, civil rights, medicine, higher education, entertainment and much more. “Their efforts fly in the face of negative stereotypes of black men,” CAU President Johnson finished.