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Atlanta Hawks to Host Fifth Annual Event Dedicated to Celebrating HBCUs

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Basketball team The Atlanta Hawks recently announced the date of their fifth annual event dedicated to honoring the work and history of HBCUs across the U.S.

Known as the “HBCU Night Presented by Chase,” the day-long celebrations will take place at the State Farm Arena on Feb. 24. The event will open up first with an HBCU blood drive. Spanning the length of five hours, the blood drive will encourage donations to help people with issues such as sickle cell disease.

A panel will also be held by the Hawks. Titled “Evolving the Community: Building a Legacy,” the panel will be moderated by journalist Eric Perry and will include guest talks by CEO of the Atlanta HBCU Alumni Alliance, Dan Ford; Co-founder of the HBCU Culture Legacy Foundation, La Keisha Johnson and Torian Robinson, a director at the mental health organization Alkeme Health. Conversations will largely revolve around the community. 

Continuing the celebrations, a parade will be held with performances by the Clark Atlanta University Philharmonic Society. The choir will perform both the national anthem and “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

When the game is played, Play Pits, a Black-owned business based in Atlanta that specializes in creating eco-friendly deodorant products, will be celebrated for their success.

For the event, the NBA team announced that a five-dollar donation will be given to the Atlanta HBCU Alumni Alliance.

“Our nation’s HBCUs play an integral role in providing Black students access to educational and professional opportunities,” said the Minority Entrepreneurs Consultant at Chase and Clark Atlanta University graduate, Rashida Winfrey, said per a public statement. “Supporting them enables students to build legacies and creates pathways for the next generation, as well. We’re honored to celebrate their legacy with the Hawks.”

Created in the early 1800s, HBCUs have long been praised for the college experiences they offer to students. According to the UNCF, HBCUs nationwide have enrolled 10% of all Black students enrolled in a college in the U.S. and have helped 20% of Black college students graduate. 

The colleges also offer affordable tuition for education. 

According to the same report, going to an HBCU for a degree costs 28% less than other universities that are non-HBCUs. As a result, in a Gallup survey composed of Black college graduates, 40% of the HBCU graduates reported that they felt they had a stable financial situation while attending school. 

The number was significantly larger when compared to the answers of non-HBCU graduates; according to the survey, only 29% of Black graduates that attended a non-HBCU college felt that they were financially secure while attending school.

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