Advocacy alone has limited value. Institutions must be led by competent executives and they must produce graduates with a credential that has value in the market place. HBCUs do not deserve support just because of their existence; they deserve the support of their alumni because of what they have done, are doing and are capable of doing.
I taught for a decade at its law school in northwest Washington, D.C., as the first Asian-American law professor there. More than any academic study could have done, my time at Howard illuminated for me the prejudices I held despite myself, and the privileges I'd enjoyed while barely noticing them. I learned more than I taught.
Fellow graduates of historically black colleges and universities, we can and must come to the aid of our institutions while there is still time to make a difference. Fiscal insolvency and the loss of accreditation are two insurmountable challenges from which I have not known any institution to recover. What follows are some concrete steps we can and must take to support HBCUs.
Not so long ago, historically black colleges and universities were just a thorn in the side of the Obama administration. We will soon long for those days, because signs of the administrative shift from disregard to attempts at dismantling HBCUs, are growing in frequency and impact seemingly every year.