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    Apple teams up with HBCUs to bring coding and creativity opportunities to communities

    Apple announced it is deepening its existing partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, adding 10 more HBCU regional coding centers that will serve as technology hubs for their campuses and broader communities. This effort is part of Apple’s Community Education Initiative, designed to bring coding, creativity, and workforce development opportunities to learners of all ages.
    Last month, Apple launched a new Racial Equity and Justice Initiative focused on challenging systemic barriers to opportunity for communities of color by advancing education, economic equality, and criminal justice reform efforts.
    ”Apple is committed to working alongside communities of color to advance educational equity,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives. “We see this expansion of our Community Education Initiative and partnership with HBCUs as another step toward helping Black students realize their dreams and solve the problems of tomorrow.”
    Launched last year, Apple’s Community Education Initiative now extends to 24 locations across the US — 12 of which are HBCUs and 21 of which predominately serve majority Black and Brown students. Across the country, these partnerships have already introduced thousands of students and adult learners to coding and app design, using Apple’s Everyone Can Code and Everyone Can Create curricula.
    Apple has been working with Tennessee State University for the past two years to launch and expand the school’s HBCU C2 initiative, which brings coding and creativity experiences to all 100-plus HBCUs. Tennessee State University now serves as a national hub for training educators and supporting its peer institutions as HBCUs expand coding and creativity opportunities to their own communities. A recent virtual HBCU C2  summit brought together nearly 300 educators from across the HBCU community to share best practices and hear from colleagues about workforce development, connecting with their communities, and bringing coding to students of all ages.
    Robbie Melton, PhD., is Tennessee State University’s associate vice president of the SMART Global Technology Innovation Center and dean of Graduate and Professional Studies. She is also a champion of the HBCU C2 initiative. She is proud of what the program has already accomplished, and sees unlimited potential for the future.
    “In two years, I want all HBCUs to be coding and creating,” said Melton. “In two years, you’re going to see many more people of color entering the STEM workforce — and in two years we’re going to double the number of Black women in technology through this program.”
    Dr. Robbie Melton claps her hands. Melton has been an advocate for bringing coding opportunities to HBCUs.
    Tennessee State University’s Dr. Robbie Melton has been working alongside Apple for the past two years to bring coding and creativity to HBCU peer institutions, with goals to reach every HBCU.
    Ten HBCUs, which have been working alongside Apple and Tennessee State University for the past year, will now become hubs to promote coding in their broader communities: Arkansas Baptist College, Central State University, Claflin University, Dillard University, Fisk University, Lawson State Community College, Morehouse College, Prairie View A&M University, Southern University at Shreveport, and Tougaloo College.
    Apple expects to double the number of HBCU partners by the end of this summer, expanding the network of schools offering coding, creativity, and career pathway opportunities.
    Each hub is designed to create a multiplier effect, building capacity at the HBCUs that extends beyond the campus through partnerships with local K-12 schools, community partners, local governments, and other community stakeholders. Melton views the added regional hubs as a key element of the program’s holistic approach.
    “A hub is a core of empowerment that goes beyond the campus,” said Melton. “It’s about going into the community, into the home, into businesses so that when people code, it becomes part of their lives and it’s helping them solve big problems. This initiative is going to help those who have been broken through COVID-19, broken through racism — and it’s going to empower them through knowledge and skills.”
    A US map shows the location of each HBCU partner participating in Apple’s Community Education Initiative.
    HBCUs will serve as hubs for coding and creativity, bringing together students, faculty and staff, local businesses, and community leaders to promote coding in their communities.
    Over the past year, Southern University at Shreveport in Louisiana has started to gradually introduce Apple coding and creativity curricula to students, faculty, staff, and community members. Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Institutional Priorities  Sharron Herron-Williams, Ph.D., has seen the effect it has had. “Our students are blossoming,” she said. “We invited community business leaders to our coding academy and they saw the work we were doing — one food truck owner asked the students to design him an app to help track his trucks. This fall, our team is going to start working with him to make that app a reality.”
    Herron-Williams graduated from Stillman College in Alabama and sees the Apple expansion as a game changer for education within the HBCU community.
    “This is causing a resurgence at HBCUs — a renewed interest in technology as something that can help design the future,” she said. “Because so many HBCUs have been faced with financial challenges, they have been more focused on ‘how do we keep the doors open’ rather than ‘how do we continue to grow and expand more programs to make HBCUs remain attractive to everyone.’ So this Apple initiative is helping give HBCUs their energy back.”
    Later this month, educators from the 10 HBCUs will be part of a group of nearly 500 teachers and community leaders taking part in a virtual Community Education Initiative Coding Academy that Apple is hosting for all initiative partners. Educators will learn the building blocks of coding with Swift, Apple’s easy-to-learn coding language. Participants will work in teams to design app prototypes to address real community challenges. After completing the coding academy, educators will begin to integrate the coding and creativity curricula into their communities by launching coding clubs and courses at their schools, hosting community coding events, and creating workforce development opportunities for adult learners.
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  • Dillard students ask president ‘how dare you’ allow, ensure David Duke’s safety

    In a letter issued to the local media, a group of Dillard University students identifying themselves as “Socially Engaged” released the following statement, expressing concerns about David Duke’s scheduled appearance on campus.

    Good afternoon,

    Dr. Kimbrough:

    We, Socially Engaged Dillard University Students (SEDU), write to urge you to withdraw Fair Dillard as the location for WVUE and Raycom Media’s hosting of the U.S. Senate debate that will include Neo-Nazi Klansman David Duke.  His presence on our campus is not welcome, and overtly subjects the entire student body to safety risks and social ridicule.

    This is simply outrageous.

    We are aware of the importance of this upcoming election, however, we cannot and will not allow this disrespect and continuance of racism and oppression on a campus we call ours (the black community), where we are educated to respect ourselves and our disciplines, and to which we pay a hefty tuition and fees.  We are also aware that you have been hearing our concerns and issues with David Duke, the New-Nazi KKK Grand Wizard, and we have heard your response that Dillard “must” honor its commitment to WVUE and Raycom Media. 

    Dr. Kimbrough, respectfully, this response is specious.  You are the President of a Historically Black College whose mere presence is anathema to EVERYTHING David Duke promotes.  Instead of denying the presence of this terrorist onto our campus, you have ASSURED HIS SAFETY by Dillard University armed police, AGAINST US, your Dillard University student body.  We write to you today not only to express our hurt and shame, but also to fight for our ancestors and their struggles.  How dare this administration stand for Duke’s “safety” and not fight for our security and right to learn in a healthy space.

    This debate is CLOSED to “the public,” i.e., all Dillard University students, yet Duke’s followers will be given free rein to enter and roam our campus.  If you insist on allowing these individuals’ entry to our school and our home (on-campus students, specifically), it is imperative that you implement the following actions throughout the day of November 2, 2016:

    All non-permitted (official, up-to-date, parking decal) automobiles are required to park off campus.  We DEMAND our safety. 

    A lottery process to include a minimal number of 150 members of the university’s student body to be in attendance of the debate. A debate should NEVER be closed on a campus; a place deemed prestige in debate.

    A strong statement by Dillard University officials condemning the violent, oppressive history of the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazi Party in which Duke is affiliated (because administration insists that he is a “former” or “ex” member). As students, we need to feel that our administration, as a whole, supports our values and legacy.

    Clearance by the University for students to conduct an on campus protest on the day of the debate, at a specified location, at 5:00 pm, with members of the general public allowed to attend the debate.
    Yield all funding paid to Dillard University by WVUE and Raycom Media to host the debate to events planned by students in response to the impact of racism on politics. We want to use their funding to educate our community and ourselves.

    The lives of many future Black lawyers, politicians, social workers, chemist, doctors, nurses, and teachers are being put at risk by allowing this terrorist, Neo-Nazi Klan member to enter our space, and our BLACK LIVES MATTER!


    Signed,
    Socially Engaged Dillard University Students
    (SEDU) 

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    Author of ‘Blackballed’ headlines Dillard University President’s Lecture Series, Feb 23

    From fraternities to administrative halls, American universities are failing to address serious race problems. In his new book, Lawrence Ross tells us how, and he brings the message to Dillard University, Feb. 23, at 7pm in the Georges Auditorium.

    A close review of racism at American universities could hardly come at a better time. Since last fall’s protests at the University of Missouri (in response to a string of racist incidents) and at Yale University (in response to an administrative letter exchange about race-based Halloween costumes), colleges across the country are grappling with difficult questions of racial justice. Lawrence RossBlackballed: The Black and White Politics of Race on America’s Campuses enters this conversation-a necessary polemic, if somewhat narrow in its focus. Ross is less concerned with the historical racial factors that have shaped university culture than with the daily experiences of racism on campus. The book’s target is the old assumption that racism ended with the legal abolishment of slavery-the assumption that banning something (in this case, segregative admissions policies) does away with whatever belief systems enabled the banned behavior in the first place.

    Blackballed by Lawrence Ross

    Blackballed by Lawrence Ross

    As Ross chronicles, it doesn’t. In 1923-more than 50 years after Harvard University officially banned admissions discrimination and graduated its first black student-the university decreed that “men of the white and colored races shall not be compelled to live and eat together,”  effectively forcing Black students to seek off-campus housing in whatever towns would have them. Such are the burdens on students who are “let in,” but not welcomed. That distinction between the notion of an opportunity (technically, black students can attend a particular school) and its reality (social and institutional forces impede those students’ success) has persisted into the 21st century.

    Throughout his survey of anti-Black racism on campus, Ross riffs on a few recurring themes, drawing largely from interviews with Black students who attended college over the last 50 years. A favorite theme is to view the Greek system as a case study in institutional racism. (Ross’ breakout non-fiction book was The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities in 2001.)

    A Brief History of the Dillard Presidential Lecture Series

    Beginning with the university’s first official president, William Stuart Nelson in the 1930s, public intellectual discourse has been a part of Dillard’s heritage. In the 1950s, Albert Dent organized the Edwin R. Embree Memorial Lecture Series whose guests included Eleanor Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall, Mary McLeod Bethune, Martin Luther King Jr., and Jackie Robinson. Subsequently, Dillard presidents have assembled lectures that reflected their sensibilities. During Samuel DuBois Cook’s tenure, 1974 to 1997, he established a lyceum series, but also built a fine arts center to provide a new venue for lectures, theater and music. Walter M. Kimbrough launched Brain Food in 2013, and has continued the tradition with speakers such as Iyanla Vanzant, Misty Copeland, Benjamin Crump and Michael Steele.

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