Hill Harper: ‘HBCUs are under attack right now’

Photo credit: Lauren Martinez

Actor and New York Times best-selling author Hill Harper has been a tremendous advocate for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. His latest endeavor has been lending his voice to The Home Depot’s Retool Your School program, which provides these institutions of higher learning with the opportunity to renovate the physical infrastructure of their campuses. On March 10, Harper served as the keynote speaker at the announcement for this year’s competition winners.

Rolling out spoke with Harper about the educational initiative. Check out what he had to say below:

How does this type of investment inspire confidence among faculty and the student body at an HBCU?
Simply and fundamentally HBCUs are under attack right now. Our president has already said that he wants to potentially cut federal funding for HBCUs. It’s imperative that corporations step in to fill a void. This is about corporate responsibility and it’s about individual private responsibility.

I am here because I support HBCUs. I’m a product of an HBCU. My parents met at Howard University. HBCUs are American history. The work that HBCUs do is critical. Unfortunately, a number of our students are coming up out of a situation that they may not be completely college ready. HBCUs do two things, they remediate some of the problems and get the students college-ready and then graduate them in four years. A lot of the students can’t afford to stay more than four years.

Why is it important for more HBCU graduates with influence like yourself to use their platform to advocate for these schools?

The work the HBCUs do is important and incredibly vital to this country. We have to speak up and that’s all there is to it. If we don’t speak up and actually call attention to how important HBCUs are, then we are part of the problem.

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