Statement of Raymond C. Pierce, President and CEO, Southern Education Foundation, on Bomb Threats Targeting Historically Black Colleges and Universities
MEDIA CONTACT: Gretchen Wright, 202-421-5830, email@example.com
February 3, 2022 (Atlanta, Georgia)— The Southern Education Foundation released the following statement from its President and CEO regarding the recent series of bomb threats targeting Historically Black Colleges and Universities:
As the nation’s oldest education and civil rights organization, a founder and supporter of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and a champion for education equity, the Southern Education Foundation condemns and is deeply concerned by the recent series of bomb threats against HBCUs.
These crucial institutions have been central to the education and elevation of Black leaders throughout our nation’s history. Our first Black (and Southeast Asian) female Vice President is the graduate of an HBCU. She follows in the fine tradition of many other important leaders who were central to the civil rights movement. Leaders like Congressman John Lewis, Reverend Joseph Lowery, and the Reverend C. T. Vivian.
HBCUs have been and continue to be central to Black scholarship and to the inclusion of Black voices in the American dialogue. The thoughts and theories of Black scholars, enhanced and sharpened by the freedom they enjoy on historically Black campuses, bring unique and needed perspectives to important national conversations. Perspectives that sometimes make all the difference in how our nation approaches the critical issues of the day.
HBCUS are an indispensable and undeniable component of any strategy to address the systemic inequities that persist in all areas in our nation—from income and employment to criminal justice to housing to healthcare and education.
It is clear that there are people in some quarters who are angered and threatened by the efforts of African Americans—and other people of color—to call out and overcome systemic inequities. These are the people who decry the Black Lives Matter movement, who dispute the persistent racism in our nation that grows out of our history of slavery, who resent and even violently oppose efforts to address and overcome that racism through honest conversation. Their fingerprints are on legislation to ban books from schools, prohibit classroom discussions of our nation’s full history (good and bad), and stop diversity, inclusion, and equity programs. Their fingerprints are also on voter suppression legislation, on lawsuits aimed at prohibiting efforts to increase diversity in higher education, and on efforts to siphon public education dollars into private schools.
Attacks upon HBCUs—which are the pillars and incubators of Black intellectualism, leadership, and culture—are deeply racist and must be quickly and vigorously investigated and the perpetrators swiftly identified and brought to justice and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Like the civil rights leaders in the past, we cannot allow racism, hatred, anger, and violence to persist and to stop our nation from investing in and engaging in the difficult and necessary work of advancing equity and social justice so that every child—every person—regardless of background has the opportunity-rich life they deserve.
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Originally founded in 1867 to educate Black children and children from low-income families in the South, the Southern Education Foundation also has a long history of developing leaders in education and was a pivotal source of research and data to support legislation and litigation aimed at fighting inequity in education during the civil rights era. The organization today conducts leadership development, research, and advocacy to improve educational opportunities for students of color and students from low-income families and achieve educational equity in the southern U.S. It is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Find out more at https://southerneducation.org