The Obama campaign announced an unprecedented partnership with the nation’s historically black colleges and universities Tuesday, a strategic initiative aimed at highlighting President Barack Obama’s financial commitment to black institutions of higher education while also rallying thousands of young African-American voters for Obama’s arduous re-election battle in the months ahead.
In conjunction with the NCCU event, there are also 28 schools participating in HBCU organizing meetings and roundtables in the coming days.
These events, according to Obama campaign officials, offer an opportunity for student leaders to mobilize support for Obama on their campuses and in neighboring communities. The campaign will also visit 12 schools in 11 states as part of its “Greater Together” Summit Tour, in addition to the HBCU events, because young people will play a pivotal role in the 2012 election.
The HBCU initiative comes as Obama’s approval rating is back up to 50 percent for the first time in more than eight months, according to a CNN/ORC International Poll. Republicans have pledged to spend $500 million to defeat Obama.
The Obama campaign is focused on the 18- to 29-year-old voter demographic and is urging young voters to take an active role in politics. Voters ages 18 to 24 showed a significant increase in turnout in 2008 from the previous presidential election, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2008, 49 percent of citizens in this age group — more than 12.5 million — came to vote, compared to 47 percent in 2004.
There are roughly 8 million voters between the ages of 18 and 21 who were unable to vote in the last election because their age – many of them potential Obama supporters – according to Messina.
In 2010, Obama signed a White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, making more money and support from the federal government available to the black institutions, beginning with the 2011 budget.
“This is a new day for those of us who care about black colleges and the future of this nation,” John S. Wilson, executive director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs, told BlackAmericaWeb.com after Obama signed the executive order. “This will establish a new platform for strengthening the capacity of HBCUs.”
Check out the rest of this article on Black America Web for insight on what this means for HBCU students and alumni