Laz Alonso presented a $45,000 check to Alabama State University for winning Home Depot‘s 2022 Retool Your School campaign. ASU also received a $50,000 campus improvement grant to give the school a total of $95,000. Before the presentation, Alonso sat with rolling out to discuss the importance of giving back to HBCUs.
Why are you here today supporting Home Depot Retool Your School?
This is my, I think either 10th year or maybe more, I can’t keep up anymore, man. But I’ve been supporting Retool Your School for quite some time now. Since the old days when we had to tally every vote with a pencil and a piece of paper and count by hand. For me, it’s just an awesome event. Every year it grows in magnitude, in reach, and in the amount of money they give back.
Home Depot has been tremendously committed every year to showing HBCU students and alumni they are a partner. Partnership is like it’s a very overused word because [some organizations] just donate money. I don’t really see that as partnership. A lot of companies, sometimes out of guilt, just give money. Home Depot actually gives money and resources, time, people and supplies.
What would you tell an 18-year-old student who is deciding between attending an HBCU, but may be leaning towards a PWI because there will be more resources there for them?
I would tell that student for the next four years of your life, you will not be judged negatively based on the fact that you are Black. … Your race will never be used against you. If anything, it will be something that you will empower yourself with by your peers. You will learn more about it, and you will learn what it means to be Black in America, constructively.
You will learn how to contribute, not just to your community, but to your culture and to your race as a whole. You will feel proud of what that means when you graduate and the responsibility that comes with it. Not just for you to do well, but to ensure those that come after you to do well, too. I’ll say yeah when I went to Howard, we did not have as many resources as some of the other schools in the same city, but guess what? People that I graduated with, ended up at the same Wall Street firms that those other schools graduates did. I worked on Wall Street when I first got out. They got the same marketing jobs, the same engineering jobs, the same everything.