An Open Letter to White House Presidential Board of Advisors Chair Johnny Taylor
Dear Mr. Taylor:
Congratulations on your appointment as the Chairman of the President’s Board of Advisors for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. We are very familiar with your work ethic and have seen it in action for seven and a half years as the President and CEO of Thurgood Marshall College Fund. We are confident that you will lead the Board of Advisors as well as influence the leadership of the White House Initiative on HBCUs.
Your placement was the last leadership position that needed to be filled. We expect and are eager to work with you to fulfill the tenets of Executive Order 13779: The White House Initiative to Promote Excellence & Innovation at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. We believe that in order to effectively promote excellence and innovation at HBCUs, there needs to be a cohesive relationship between the student body, alumni, the Initiative, and especially the President’s Board of Advisors.
Currently, these parts work independently and some are thriving while others are struggling. We would like to discuss ways in which we can be one working body that fulfills the tenets of the Executive Order.
Last month, our cohort peer wrote an article titled, “The White House Initiative: Unfit for Advocacy.” In it, she states that “the Initiative and its programs could be idea incubators that, if ever matched with actual work ethic and insight, could help shape entire communities through the development of leaders and advocates.” She highlights many instances where support and insight could be used to fully develop and implement the ideas of those students who work with the White House Initiative on HBCUs.
To date, we have not found any evidence of student ambassadors working directly with members of the President’s Board of Advisors to accomplish any goals set by the Executive Order. We would like to discuss ways in which this can be done successfully.
We believe that you are uniquely qualified to lead efforts like these on our behalf for the improvement of the Initiative and its programs and look forward to your response.
Donovan E. Blake | Quinn A. S. Smith | Tiffany E. Brockington
White House HBCU All-Star Ambassador Alumni
Bowie State University | South Carolina State University | Howard University