On Thursday, several HBCU student journalists and representatives came to Washington D.C to participate in a White House Briefing with Vice President Kamala Harris and Senior Advisor for Public Engagement Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Harris, an alumna of Howard University, hosted the briefing to discuss funding for HBCUs, mental health, and how big of an impact small businesses have on the economy with the students.
Bottoms, who is a Florida A&M University alumna, also spoke on the topics at hand and complimented the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to support HBCUs.
“President Biden and Vice President Harris have been very intentional in funding for HBCUs very intentional and making sure that the voices of HBCUs are heard on this campus as with a group of HBCU presidents just last week on campus,” Bottoms said.
Biden-Harris Administration has made a historic investment in HBCUs including delivering $5.8 billion cumulative investment in and support for HBCUs.
When asked how the administration plans to continue to support HBCUs by Rust College student representative, Edward Foster, Harris explained the next steps are centered around erasing student loan debt.
“As we all know, so many of our schools are very old and need upgrade to the classrooms, the libraries, things like that, but also the work that we have been doing that has been focused on issues like student loan debt, because we know the disproportionate burden that our HBCU students carry on that issue,” Harris said.
Harris also offered words of encouragement to the young student-journalists saying, “I would encourage you as journalists to always remind all of us to see people in their full selves, to see people in all the facets and nuances in which everyone lives. None of us is one dimensional.”
On the topic of mental health, Bottoms spoke on the importance of having conversations about it with the Black community.
“When you put trauma on top of trauma it spills out in ways that lets us know that unless we begin to articulate that there is a mental health crisis that’s hitting communities of color, especially hard. Unless we are specific with our funding towards that we’re going to keep having the same issues,” Bottoms said.
Harris ended the briefing with words of encouragement for the HBCU students.
“You all have such a unique skill, gift, and ability to really be a voice of and for so much that is important in our country,” Harris said.