Jonathan Holifield: Trump Names Executive Director for the HBCU Initiative. After insistent calls to name an Executive Director for the White House Initiative on HBCUs, the Trump Administration named one on the morning of September 18. It was Jonathan Holifield, a name that was not all that familiar to many in the HBCU advocacy community. The news was first reported by Jarrett L. Carter, the founder of the widely read site HBCUDigest.
“The White House Initiative has new opportunities to work across the government and within the private sector building new partnerships in service of our mission. That mission is to increase the overall competitiveness of the United States,” Holifield said. He will begin to serve as the White House Executive Director on HBCUs on October 2nd.
“We all know our nation has many challenged but we also have unique opportunities. Global competition, billions of talented workers from around the world are competing with us head to head for jobs and opportunities,” Holifield remarked.
“HBCUs and their millions of graduates have impacted every sector of our economy from medicine and law, sports and journalism,” said Omarosa Manigault-Newman to the assembled audience.
“Educations have an obligation to be inclusive of all people and perspectives but this wasn’t always the case. The racist environment that forced the founding of HBCUs is a regrettable chapter in American history. A stain on our national conscious. For too long, too many students had no other option accept for an HBCU and for too long before that that had no option at all,” said Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos at the summit.
“Now as washed up elements of bigoted beliefs seem to grow louder in American public life, together we must confront problems head on… I have an important role to play here and so do you,” DeVos continued. She also spoke on the problem of inequality in education.
Regarding the appointment of Holifield as the HBCU Initiative, Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC), a co-Chair of the HBCU Caucus in Congress, commented.
“As co-chair of the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus, I extended an invitation to Mr. Holifield to come to Capitol Hill to learn more about the Caucus and our legislative priorities. I look forward to working with him to advance meaningful change for our HBCUs,” Adams said in a statement.
This week, during CBC Week, Rep. Adams will hold a special panel on issues facing HBCUs.