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The voices of Black youth have been a major cornerstone of democracy for decades. And with midterm elections coming up in a matter of days, the importance of young Black voters, especially at HBCUs, is paramount. Their voices, opinions, and desires matter. 

To increase engagement of Black youth, the Black Census Project launched an innovative initiative on HBCU campuses to recruit Campus Ambassadors.

The HBCU Campus Ambassadors will begin engaging their schools to encourage their classmates in person and via social media to complete the Black Census. The Black Census Project is dedicated to ensuring the voices of Black students and the broader HBCU community are included. All of the ambassadors will have a chance to win a $5,000 scholarship at the end of the competition. The winning ambassador’s institution will also receive a $5,000 matching donation.

Jarrius Adams, a Howard University Law student and the coordinator of HBCU strategy for the Black Census Project, understands how vital it is to get young Black people to use their power, especially around this time of year in the Black Census and also at the polls. 

“As a current HBCU student, I believe it’s important to have our voices heard at the polls because the outcome of elections sets the stage for the future of our institutions,” Adams said. “Electing candidates that understand the importance of HBCUs will lead to more federal funding that could be used to create more scholarships, provide more internal resources for students, and strengthen our institutions as a whole. The best way for us to get elected officials to prioritize our needs is to vote. Therefore, we have to apply pressure EVERY election.”

Black voices are far too powerful to be stifled. Black people must be empowered to express themselves in every way possible to create a better existence. Black communities are relying heavily on the voice of college-aged students, they have the key to transforming the way of life for many Black people for years to come. 

“Too often Black people are spoken about or spoken for, but are not actually listened to,” said Alicia Garza, founder of Black Futures Lab. “The Black Census Project is an offering that we hope will aid the work of building power for Black people in sustainable ways, and connecting with Black college students and those working inside of historically Black institutions is an essential part of that work.”

Adams knows how crucial this time of year is. Amplifying the Black voice to create change is something that cannot be understated. 

“If we don’t show up in this election, we will continue to see laws that take us backward instead of forward,” Adams said. “Our community cannot afford to have leaders that work against us by cutting social programs, underfunding our HBCUs, and refusing to acknowledge and address structural and institutional racism.”


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