State lawmakers and Huston Tillotson students announced their intent to form Texas' first Historically Black Colleges and Universities Caucus to help provide the state's HBCUs with "necessary resources and support to thrive." This effort is an outgrowth of a three-year partnership between Huston-Tillotson University (HTU) and Central Texas Interfaith (CTI), involving leadership education and preparation of students studying political science. Fannie Akingbala, a leader from Ebenezer Baptist Church, co-chaired the press conference.
HBCU students helped organize the caucus, which hopes to assemble state lawmakers from both the Senate and House who represent, attended or support HBCUs and obtain funding for them "commensurate with the role they have played in developing the prosperity" of Texas...
"Many students who attend (HBCUs) struggle to juggle classes and work schedules in order to maintain themselves financially," said Fannie Akingbala, a leader with Central Texas Interfaith. "These institutions, down through the years, have stretched every dollar to remain viable. We truly believe that the creation of this caucus will contribute immensely to the maintenance, growth and ongoing development of these historical institutions...."
"With the formation of this caucus, we're aiming to give HBCUs the recognition they deserve, shining more light on our schools and bringing awareness to the challenges we face," Huston-Tillotson University student Asia Mueller said. "I'm hopeful for the future of HBCUs in Texas. I'm hopeful for the students who are just like me, but most importantly, I'm hopeful for what is to come out of our HBCU caucus."
[In photos, from Huston-Tillotson: (top) Freeman Crawford, (collage top) Asia Mueller, (collage left) Dr. Robert Ceresa, (collage right) Caleb Brizuela. Credit: Sara Diggins, Austin-American Statesman]
State Lawmakers, Huston-Tillotson Students Launch Texas HBCU Legislative Caucus, Austin American Statesman [pdf]