Five Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) presidents has been appointed to the USDA-1890 Task Force. The task force explores cooperative frameworks, partnership opportunities and priority areas.

The appointed president’s includes Tuskegee University President Lily D. McNair, Southern University and A&M College President Ray Belton, Kentucky State University President M. Christopher Brown II, Alcorn State University President Felecia M. Nave, and Langston University President Kent Smith on the task force.

The task force was reestablished along with the USDA-1994 Leadership Group and USDA Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Leadership Group to serve as principal working groups for the USDA secretary to explore mutually beneficial, short and long-term goals.

The USDA/1890 Task Force is a component of the USDA’s 1890 Land-Grant Colleges and Universities National Program. The task force is a joint council of USDA and 1890 Land-Grant University senior officials (e.g, under secretaries, agency administrators, and university presidents) that provides leadership to advance the mutual interests of USDA and the 1890 Land-Grant Universities. The 1890 Land-Grant Universities – which include 18 Land-Grant Universities established under the second Morrill Act of 1890 – are invaluable sources of diverse professionals who work in agriculture and related disciplines.

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Huston-Tillotson University President and CEO Colette Pierce Burnette speaks on Wednesday at City Hall in Austin, Texas. Photo Credit: Thomas Negrete | Daily Texan Staff

AUSTIN, TX – Austin Mayor Steve Adler announced a task force group on Wednesday that will explore ways the city can combat institutional racism within criminal justice, health, education, finance and housing. The group will be made up of 49 members to take a comprehensive look at institutional racism and make recommendations by March.

The take force will focus on structural barriers – not individuals – both intentional and unintentional, Alder said. It will be disbanded after presenting an action plan to the community in March. Huston-Tillotson University President and CEO Colette Pierce Burnette and Austin Independent School District superintendent Paul Cruz are to lead the task force as co-chairs. The steering committee will also include representatives from the Austin Police Department and the NAACP

Alder said the land plan instituted in 1928 is an example of how city planning and institutions have supported institutional racism.

“We are responsible for remediating the enduring legacy of inequities that continue to flow from what was a pretty horrific plan,” said Alder. “That lives with us today as we are the most geographically segregated city in the country. We cannot add our power to past prejudice even if we are well-intentioned.”

Dr. Burnette said the plan’s ability to create actual change will depend on people being willing to put in work.

“This happens from individuals having the will to do the heavy lifting and hard work,” said Dr. Burnette. “Everyone in that room has the will. The timing is perfect in the nation. Whatever the catalysts are, the timing is perfect in the nation to move forward.”

Cruz states his school district is already implementing programs to examine the differentiation for students of color when it comes to issues like dropout rates, college graduation rates and suspensions. Cruz said reflecting on issues for people of color in the city helps AISD students even after they leave their public education.

Dr. Burnette was named the sixth President and CEO of Huston-Tillotson University in April 2015. She became the first female president of the merged Huston-Tillotson University and only the second female president in the institution’s 140-year history.

Before coming to Huston-Tillotson, Burnette served as Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial officer and also Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at Central State University, a historically black university in Wilberforce, Ohio.

 

 

Source: http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/local/mayor-steve-adler-names-49-people-to-austins-anti-/ns849/.