News Context: On January 4, 2022, eight Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) received bomb threats. On January 31, 2022, another six HBCUs received bomb threats, and on February 1, 2022, an additional 12 HBCUs received bomb threats.
Spokesperson Context: The Common Cause HBCU Student Action Alliance, which includes 30 Democracy Fellows at HBCUs across the country. Alyssa Canty is Director of Youth Programs for Common Cause and in 2019 received an MTV Leaders for Change Grant.
Statement of Alyssa Canty, Director of Youth Programs of Common Cause
Since 1837 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have provided a safe space for Black people to receive an education without discrimination. Over their 185 year history, HBCUs nurtured scholars contributing at the highest levels in their chosen fields, producing artistic and athletic greats who are national treasures, and are now seen as academic and cultural cornerstones for their communities and collectively, for the nation.
HBCUs also produce resilient, determined, and unflinching leaders. Recent bomb threats will not stop that.
HBCUs produce active, engaged, and dedicated voters who know the struggles their ancestors faced to secure the ballot. Recent voter suppression efforts in many states will not stop that. Gerrymandering will not stop that. Voter intimidation will not stop that. Disinformation will not stop that. Hate will not stop that.
The escalation of domestic terrorism specifically targeting people of color, and the dramatic rise in white supremacist hate groups since 2016, aren’t new. Neither are attempts to silence, intimidate, undercount, or completely ignore the votes of Black people. They indicate a resurgence of the darkest parts of the American story, another reminder that when we work together toward a more perfect union, the hate born of the fear of a few stands no chance against the power of the people.
We urge the Department of Justice to prioritize investigation of this sudden increase of bomb threats at HBCUs in multiple states, and the states’ attorneys general in each state to investigate incidents within their state, looking for leads indicating coordination of these threats. Threats also targeted elected officials supportive of HBCUs.
While these threats are not new, they are serious and urgent for the danger they pose to human life and the life of our democracy.