HBCUs Make Way to Downtown SF

The San Francisco Human Rights Commission strives towards “racial solidarity, equity, and healing” by working on city anti-discrimination laws, according to their webpage. Photo from @Bayviewmagic on Instagram

Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) partnerships are coming to San Francisco this summer. At their third annual conference, “Dreaming Forward: Black to San Francisco,” on Feb. 1, The City’s Dream Keeper Initiative invited the public to engage with City officials and stakeholders on accomplishments and hopes for future projects. 

Partnerships with HBCUs were at the forefront of these conversations. These initiatives, which would begin this summer, have the support of Mayor London Breed.

“Black 2 San Francisco” is one such initiative led by the Human Rights Commission. It is piloting a program where major HBCUs around the nation will have programs Downtown during the summer months. While the universities have yet to be confirmed, possible partner schools include: Howard University, Morehouse College, and Tuskegee University, among others. 

The long-term goal of these partnerships is to establish permanent San Francisco HBCU satellite campuses, according to SF Govs. Feb. 2 press release. 

HBCUs are institutions created from 1837 to 1964 in the era of legal segregation, with the intention of providing higher education access to Black Americans, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. There are now more than 100 HBCUs across the United States, and while they remain predominantly Black, students of all races are able to enroll. 

University of San Francisco, along with other Bay Area universities will support the initiative. USF will offer  housing, San Francisco State University will provide classrooms, and the University of California, San Francisco will provide an array of support services to students. 

“It takes a village to help people, and historically black colleges and universities have historically not gotten the support that they needed or that they deserve, have not gotten the help required to run at maximum efficiency,” said Maxwell Edmonds-Drati, junior politics major.

On Sept. 18, 2023, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack sent letters to 16 governors that revealed a $12 billion disparity in funding between HBCUs and non-HBCUs. 

“Unacceptable funding inequities have forced many of our nation’s distinguished Historically Black Colleges and Universities to operate with inadequate resources and delay critical investments in everything from campus infrastructure to research and development to student support services,” stated Cardona in the letter. 

San Francisco taking the initiative to support HBCUs has been received well by many USF students. Edmonds-Drati, who is also the Community Outreach Liaison for USF’s Brother Connection, said, “I actually think it’s a really smart move. And I think it’s something that we need to do…because it would bring diversification to the city of San Francisco which has lost a significant amount of Black people.”

According to CalMatters, there has been a 43% decrease of the Black population in San Francisco from 1990-2018. This mass urban exodus comes at the result of rising costs, leading to disproportionate rates of eviction. 

In an effort to incorporate academics in revitalization efforts of Downtown and the overall economy, City leaders and institutions believe this program will be a step towards filling vacancies in Downtown. 

“By bringing HBCUs to our City, we can not only create a connection to empower our next generation of leaders, but we can also contribute to the revitalization of our City,” said Breed in a Feb. 2 statement.  

Also included in the Feb. 1 conference discussions were: the City Attorney’s Office, Department of Environment, San Francisco Unified School District, Office of Economic Workforce and Development, and the Department of Police Accountability. 

“After many years of planning, and months of seeding and working to create meaningful partnerships, all the stakeholders are together to explore how we can connect San Francisco to the incredible talent that has historically been cultivated and supported by HBCUs,” said Executive Director of San Francisco Human Rights Commission, Dr. Sheryl Davis, in the same statement. 

“Our local higher education partners have been actively involved and are central to this project. These efforts have been a long time coming from both community conversations to design the Dream Keeper Initiative and recommendations from the Reparations Advisory committee. I am heartened to see where the work goes from here,” Davis continued. 

The African American Reparations Advisory Committee is an advisory group for the board of supervisors, the mayor, and the Human Rights Commission to create a Reparations Plan to address inequalities in the City. 

“I feel like we don’t really have a space for us, in society unless we create spaces that we had to fight to get created. So I think HBCUs offer this really unique place where we can just be ourselves and enjoy our culture,” Edmonds-Drati said.

The Foghorn will continue to report on updates to USF’s involvement with this initiative. 

Editor-in-Chief: Megan Robertson, Chief Copy Editor: Sophia Siegel, Managing Editor: Jordan Premmer, News Editor: Niki Sedaghat 

One thought on “HBCUs Make Way to Downtown SF

  1. Eine aufregende Entwicklung für San Francisco! Diesen Sommer werden Partnerschaften mit Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) eingeführt. Die Dream Keeper Initiative der Stadt hat kürzlich ihre dritte jährliche Konferenz veranstaltet, bei der die Öffentlichkeit eingeladen war, mit Stadtbeamten und Interessenvertretern über Errungenschaften und zukünftige Projekte zu diskutieren. Diese Partnerschaften zielen darauf ab, dauerhafte HBCU-Satelliten-Campuse in San Francisco zu etablieren. Die Unterstützung der lokalen Universitäten und anderer Bildungseinrichtungen zeigt ein starkes Engagement für Vielfalt und Bildungsgerechtigkeit. Es ist ermutigend zu sehen, wie San Francisco einen Schritt unternimmt, um HBCUs zu unterstützen und gleichzeitig die Vielfalt in der Stadt zu fördern.

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