By Deborah Bailey, Special to the AFRO

The Maryland HBCU Matters Coalition teamed up with Morgan State University student leaders a week before the midterm elections, to send a message to candidates running in Maryland.

“We can actually affect change if we  go out and vote for candidates who express support for our HBCU’s, so we can obtain what we deserve,” said  Morgan Student Government Association (SGA) president Kenold E. Pierre.   Pierre spoke to  scores of student leaders, faculty and staff gathered on the plaza outside of the Earl Richardson School of Business this week to hear an update on the HBCU lawsuit and appeal.

Maryland HBCU’s (Courtesy Images/Logos)

The groups held a rally protesting the State’s decision to appeal of the Maryland HBCU Equity case,  a US District Court ruling (2017) that would benefit the state’s four HBCU’s.  Oral arguments for the appeal are scheduled to be heard before the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth District in Richmond, Va., the week of December 10.

Zanyjah Riche,  student representative from the Political Science Association and Black Girls vote, who spoke at the rally, said she is dedicated to delivering the message.

“We must have these conversations in the dormitories; in the cafeteria,” Riche said. “We have to light a fire under students with a knowledge of this court case, Riche emphasized.”

“Through my involvement with the Political Science Association and Black Girls Vote, we will definitely make the connection between what is happening with the HBCU court case and next week’s vote. We have to vote for candidates who understand and are dedicated to supporting HBCU’s,” Riche said.

HBCU Matters Coalition member and Morgan alumni Sharon Blake is working on the next event to  inform the Morgan community about the status of the Maryland HBCU trial and appeal.

“I’m going to do what I can to move the agenda around HBCU’s.   Our goal is for all four campuses to hold an event to inform and update our HBCU’s about the trial and appeal,” Blake said.

Blake said the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) will hold an HBCU Matters rally on November 17 and Morgan State will host an additional activity before the appeal hearing and dates for campus activities at Coppin State and Bowie State are still pending, Blake said.

HBCU Matters Chairman, Marvin “Doc” Cheatham said he is looking for students, alumni and friends of Maryland’s HBCU’s to pack the 4th Circuit US Court of Appeals the week of December 10. “We don’t know the exact date, but we are reaching out and calling on at least 200 HBCU supporters to join us in Richmond,” Cheatham told the AFRO.

Pierre said he and other Morgan classmates who live in the region are ready to travel to the be present at the appeal, even though it is scheduled at the end of the semester, a time when many students are preparing to head home.

“I live in PG County so it’s not a long distance for me. I am willing to travel to Virginia and I encourage my classmates who can to make the sacrifice and join me,” said Pierre.