Georgia 2020: Bernie Sanders Touts $1.3B Plan To Boost HBCUs During Morehouse Campaign Rally
Sen. Bernie Sanders held a campaign rally Thursday at Morehouse College outlining his plan, if he’s elected president, to provide $1.3 billion per year to private, nonprofit HBCUs and other institutions serving Black people and people of color.
The senator from Vermont seeks to energize young Black voters who spurned his presidential bid three years ago, AJC reported.
Sanders says he wants to eliminate or reduce college tuition and fees, according to his website. The $1.3 billion in funding would help support about 200 schools that serve at least 35 percent low-income students.
HBCU graduates account for 40 percent of African American members of Congress, 40 percent of African American engineers, 50 percent of African American professors at non-HBCUs, 50 percent of African American lawyers, and 80 percent of African American judges, according to Sanders.
Sanders promised to establish a dedicated $5 billion fund at HBCUs, other MSIs (minority-serving institutions) and tribal colleges and universities to increase the number of Black doctors, dentists, nurses, and mental health providers.
His College for All plan will allow any student to receive a tuition-free education from any HBCU, including private institutions, regardless of income.
“We will do everything humanly possible to end all forms of discrimination in this country,” Sanders told the crowd.
Earlier this week, Mayor Pete Buttigieg campaigned for more Black votes and talked about his own HBCU plan at an event also held the historically Black, all-male Morehouse College. He said he plans, if elected, to dedicate $50 billion to HBCUs because systemic racism and chronic underfunding leave these institutions vulnerable, BET reported.
“There’s no way we can just wash our hands of this and say that ‘well, now we’ve torn down a lot of these structures of discrimination so equity will just take care of itself.’ It won’t because the harms compound,” Buttigieg said.
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Sen. Elizabeth Warren held rallies at Morehouse and Clark Atlanta University on Thursday. During Wednesday’s debate, Warren said she plans to steer $50 billion to HBCUs. Before she came onstage at Clark Atlanta, students chanted and danced in the stands, AJC reported. The school choir sang the National Anthem and the Negro National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
Clark Atlanta President George French Jr., said he’s impressed with the Democratic candidates as they court the Black college vote.
“There was a time when Democrats took the African American vote for granted, but from what I have seen during this election season they know that our vote is pivotal,” French said. “And the Black college is the most vital group because the HBCUs created the Black middle class.”
Kamala Harris, a 1986 graduate of Howard University, kicked off her campaign at the Washington, D.C., institution. Sen. Cory Booker was one of only two candidates to even mention HBCUs at Wednesday’s debate.
“We’re all united in wanting to fund HBCUs,” Booker said. “Heck, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for two parents that went to HBCUs.”