According to the UNCF report, Howard University generates $1.5 billion in total economic impact for its local and regional economies. In this 2013 photo, Howard graduates participate in commencement activities. (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

Compiled by WI Editor D. Kevin McNeir

UNCF’s ‘State of the HBCU’ Highlights Impact of Congress and Continuing Need

On March 3, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) delivered its annual “State of the HBCU” Address, while announcing its Congressional Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Honor Roll, which highlights the positive impact of individual federal lawmakers on HBCUs. Because of their legacies and continued powerful combined impact, HBCUs serve a vital purpose in American academia and the U.S. economy. The State of the HBCU Address serves as a way to provide an update on what Congress has done to improve HBCUs, according the UNCF’s policy proposals and share how Congress can continue to support HBCUs moving forward.

UNCF President/CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax delivered the organization’s second “State of the HBCU” Address, thanking federal policymakers for making a permanent, annual $85 million investment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education at HBCUs through the recently-passed FUTURE Act. However, he noted that investment only begins to close the gap between what’s available and what’s needed to ensure all students who want a good college degree can get one.

“It’s my hope that a year from now when we meet again, we will have taken a giant stride to end the HBCU paradox and secure the transformational support that HBCUs have longed deserved and long gone without. On one hand, we know that HBCUs are among the few institutions in America that enjoy consistent bipartisan support. The gamut of American society hails HBCUs and the role they have played in the history of our nation. But despite all of that bipartisan support, HBCUs have always been woefully underfunded throughout their nearly two centuries of history. And in 2020, we are still badly underfunded despite the very real victories we won in Congress last year,” Lomax said.

Highlighting the support of more than 300 members of Congress this year, UNCF also unveiled its HBCU Congressional Honor Roll which recognizes those who supported HBCUs during 2019 by doing things such as authoring legislation, writing congressional letters, making speeches, joining the bi-partisan HBCU Caucus and more.

AG Racine: ‘OAG Legislation to Protect D.C. Residents’ Online Privacy, Security’

On Tuesday, Attorney General Karl A. Racine thanked Chairman Phil Mendelson and the Council of the District of Columbia for passing the Security Breach Protection Amendment Act of 2019. Last March, the Office of the Attorney General [OAG] introduced the legislation to modernize the District’s existing data breach law and strengthen protections for residents’ personal information. The Council passed the bill unanimously.

“This law brings [D.C.] into the vanguard of state and local governments that have required companies collecting vast amounts of personal information to take appropriate precautions that safeguard consumers’ health, financial and other data,” Racine said. “And because laws without enforcement and accountability are toothless, OAG’s Security Breach Protection Amendment Act strengthens the District’s ability to hold companies responsible if they fail to implement reasonable protections for D.C. residents.”

Data breaches often result in the public disclosure of personally identifiable information like names, addresses, and phone numbers, or financial information, like bank and credit card details. Recent years have seen some of the largest and most serious data breaches in history, including the Equifax breach, which exposed the personal information of over 143 million people, including nearly 350,000 District residents.

The new legislation expands legal protections to cover additional types of personal information from identity theft and fraud, requires companies that deal with personal information to implement safeguards, includes additional reporting requirements for companies that suffer a data breach and requires companies that expose consumers’ social security numbers to offer 18 months of free identity theft protection.

Norton Hosts March For Our Lives Press Conference

On Wednesday, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) hosted a press conference with the local chapter of March For Our Lives at the House Triangle to highlight urgent action needed to reduce gun violence.

“The work of D.C.’s March For Our Lives is especially important in our city, which has experienced the most significant increase in homicides in the country,” Norton said.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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