The presidents of Spelman and Morehouse colleges joined a group of current and former leaders of historically black colleges and universities around the country in calling for a national response to reducing gun violence.
The group of 33 public and private HBCU leaders called for for a national HBCU symposium on gun violence and asked for a commitment to “raising awareness of the debilitating impact of trauma” on the lives of people who have been affected by gun violence.
The requests came in an open letter released Wednesday and first published by HBCU Digest. Spelman president Mary Schmidt Campbell and Morehouse president John Silvanus Wilson signed the letter. Students from both those colleges — and several others around the state — have participated in recent protests in Atlanta, including Morehouse senior Avery Jackson, who has been a vocal leader of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Prior to this letter, Wilson penned an editorial for the Huffington Post last week on race and policing. In that post, titled, “What Should We Teach Them Now?,” Wilson details how early teachings by his parents helped he and his brother “survive” an interaction with police in 1984. He goes on to discuss the message that should be occurring now with black and minority boys and men.
The letter by the HBCU leaders is the first and largest coordinated action taken by higher education leaders since the recent shootings committed by and against police in Baton Rouge, Minnesota and Dallas, HBCU Digest reported.