Last week, students from North Carolina Historically Black Colleges and Universities met with lawmakers in Raleigh to call on their support for HBCUs.

Students from schools like North Carolina A&T State University, Winston-Salem State University, and Johnson C. Smith University were joined alongside North Carolina lawmakers to express the importance of HBCUs with other lawmakers.

“HBCUs are a place of refuge and safety for so many black students across the country,” NCAT student Lindsay Dodson said.

Shaw University student Zaid Steele said, “HBCUs are important for our communities because they bring the history and they bring African Americans and other students like me to strive.”

According to WXII, North Carolina has more HBCUs in the country than any other state. Together, they contribute more than $1.7 billion to North Carolina’s economy.

Sen. Gladys Robinson from Guilford County was one of the lawmakers present to support the students.

“These students represent the reason I’m here. If it had not been for HBCUs, Bennett College, North Carolina A&T State University, I would not be prepared to be a legislature,” Robinson said.

During the meeting, students shared their concerns and perspective with lawmakers.

“This is the next step in protecting democracy and uplifting the deep need for voting equality in North Carolina,” WSSU student David Wilson said.

Robinson said their HBCU caucus plans to propose legislation that will help HBCUs that will be “a bipartisan effort.”

“We want to have this as a beginning but as a continuous process where we come together and look at these needs and we put in place legislation where we continue to support all of these young people and hopefully they’ll be down here where we are,” Robinson said.

According to Robinson, the next steps include having lawmakers visit campuses and listen to their needs.