An Open Letter to the Presidents of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities

March 14, 2022

Kyla M. Clark

Washington Nicole Austin-Hillery, president and chief executive officer of The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Incorporated (CBCF), today released the following statement on recent violent threats against Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

“As the newly appointed president and chief executive officer of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF), one of my first undertakings is to personally reach out to assure you that CBCF strongly condemns violent threats against Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). We join CBC Representative and Chair of the HBCU Caucus, Representative Alma Adams (D-NC), who introduced a concurrent resolution in condemning these actions as “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism and hate crimes.” Further, CBCF supports the ongoing, urgent law enforcement investigations of these incidents. The security of our HBCU students and institutions is paramount.

It is even more egregious that such threats would occur during the celebration of Black History Month–a sacred time in which we honor and celebrate our accomplishments contributions and offer unwavering support as citizens of the United States of America. It is against this backdrop of public recognition of excellence that we are bearing the historical markings of threats of violence and disruptions against our beloved institutions of higher learning.

CBCF recognizes that the legacy of support, alumni strength, and civic engagement created by HBCUs has been a long-standing collaborative effort. To support this continued work by more than 100 HBCUs, CBCF created the National Racial Equity Initiative (NREI) HBCU Social Justice Scholarships. This initiative, started in 2020, was designed to encourage and support the next generation of social justice leaders committed to dismantling systemic barriers while ensuring educational opportunities, maximizing retention, and increasing graduation rates for HBCU students. In addition, as CBCF receives contributions to our Leadership Institute, this financial support enables us to drive toward the goal of increasing an exceptional pool of Black leaders in public service careers and public policy positions by providing fellowships, internships, and scholarships.

The HBCU Social Justice Scholarship will be disbursed annually to undergraduate students with demonstrated experience in social justice, student activism, and community service. The goal is to encourage and recognize student engagement in organizing, political mobilization, and civic participation to advance equity, freedom, and justice for all–especially within Black and other racial minority communities. Students may apply through April 30, 2022.

Please contact Muriel Cooper at with any questions about the HBCU Social Justice Scholarship. In addition, feel free to reach out to me through Nadia Monroe at with any pertinent updates and to ensure continued collaboration around the intersectionality of retention, graduation rates, and student aid.

As a proud graduate of the Howard University School of Law, protecting the legacy of HBCUs and ensuring their continued success as agents for creating Black leadership and change-makers is of the utmost importance to me in my new role. CBCF looks forward to continuing our collective efforts to secure this history and the future of HBCUs.


About the CBCF

Established in 1976, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) is a non-partisan, nonprofit, public policy, research, and educational institute committed to advancing the global black community by developing leaders, informing policy, and educating the public. For more information, visit

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