The Joe Biden presidential campaign is creating a new initiative to engage the younger, black voting constituents by focusing on historically black colleges and universities with “HBCU Students for Biden.” The campaign announced that three students, one from Texas Southern, one from Spelman College, and one from Claflin University, will serve as co-chairs for the initiative.
“Joe Biden has always been, and continues to be central to civil rights activism and social justice, and produce outstanding young leaders. … The campaign is proud to have student leaders on HBCUs across the country organizing and volunteering for our campaign, and their strength will help us win the nomination and beat Trump,” campaign aide Kamau M. Marshall said to BuzzFeed News.
The Biden campaign recently released a video about focusing on HBCUs and the role they have played in United States history.
“Historically black colleges and universities built America’s black middle class, and Joe Biden knows that’s the backbone of our country,” a narrator says in the clip.
The Biden HBCU plan calls for the investment of $70 billion in historically black colleges and universities to close the funding disparity between them and predominately white institutions. In the plan, $10 billion would go toward funding retention, enrollment, and job placement for alumni.
Political strategists say this plan is aimed at reducing the margins that Joe Biden is trailing in the younger black vote to Sen. Bernie Sanders. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Joe Biden surrogate, believes that younger people will embrace Joe Biden if he becomes the Democratic nominee.
“For many Africa Americans, it’s not lost on us that this was an older white man willing to stand behind a younger African American man and to be a part of his team as a No. 2,” Lance Bottoms said of Biden to Yahoo News. “That may be something that may appear very subtle to a lot of people, but to African Americans it’s a very strong signal.”
“President Obama, just like the rest of the African Americans, looked at his whole track record and decided that here is somebody that deserves support and, in President Obama’s case, he decided to make the second-most-important man in the United States,” said Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Democrat from Louisiana and a national co-chair of the Biden Campaign.
“You can’t say that ‘I care about HBCUs’ but you don’t care about the black students that go to them. You’ve created an environment of intolerance,” Richmond who blames Trump’s rhetoric for the swell of racial incidents in the U.S. “You know all the stories, the ‘living while black’ stories, and that is a direct correlation from Donald Trump and the fact that he will give cover to those extreme ideologies.”