Howard Bison Beat 2020

Page 1

A Monthly Newsletter from the Office of the President

BISON BEAT October 2020 | Volume 9 Issue 6

Dear Howard University Community, In a year unlike any other, Howard Homecoming 2020 reminded us why our traditions are so significant and worth preserving. We are in the midst of a global pandemic that has disproportionately affected the Black community and people of color. The Black Lives Matter protest movement continues to grip our national consciousness, bringing attention to historic injustices and present-day inequalities. And a highly partisan and contentious presidential election has reinforced the importance of civic engagement and political participation. Even though we could not come together for Homecoming this year, we never thought to cancel the event entirely. There is too much at stake. We could not afford to miss an opportunity to connect with one another, to exchange information and ideas, and to have our community coalesce around the idea of collective action. For good reason, the theme of this year’s Homecoming was “Advocacy!” In this moment of our nation’s history, we must rededicate ourselves to the ideals of our University’s founding motto: truth and service. Against a never-ending backdrop of uncertainty and misinformation, the Howard community has a responsibility to elevate the facts, insist on civility and pursue progress. We have to capture the passion of our society and channel it into real and sustainable change for our country. And we also must remind ourselves of the important role we play internationally. Amidst the civil unrest in Nigeria, we are deeply concerned for the welfare of our Howard family that lives in the region or has ties to the country. We are doing all we can to ensure their safety. As we condemn police brutality at home, we must stand up for those same causes overseas as well. We denounce violence and support efforts toward peaceful redress of concerns raised by the people of Nigeria. Never before have we made it more clear what we stand for. In particular, I am grateful to all of our expert speakers and passionate participants who made possible this year’s virtual HU Ideas Symposium, “From Protest to Policy: The Pursuit of Racial Justice.” These sessions demonstrate the vibrancy of Howard’s laboratory of ideas. Our faculty, alumni and students are synthesizing data and theory into forward-thinking policy proposals. And they put forward those ideas in a clear and compelling way to motivate and inspire any they come in contact with. I am proud of our community’s ability to rise above the acrimony of our political environment in order to promote constructive solutions. Homecoming was enshrined in our University’s tradition of being a force for good in the world. The unique circumstances around this year’s festivities remind us of that humbling and all-important purpose.

Excellence in Truth and Service,

Wayne A. I. Frederick. M.D., MBA PRE S ID E N T

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Virtual Homecoming Recap


Unrest in Nigeria: How We’re Supporting Our Howard Family


Ph.D. Student Maika Moulite and Sister Crafting the Stories They Wished to See While Growing Up


Advocacy, Awareness and Health Promotion


Craig Newmark Philanthropies Donates $2.5 Million Gift in Support of Journalism Students


An Update from the Chapel


When We All Vote, with Alumni Priestley M. Johnson


Alumni Robin F. Baker, MS, OTR/L: Advocacy, Locally and Globally


Challenging Voter Suppression at the Ballot Box


Howard University Hospital Honors Breast Cancer Awareness Month


Remembering Lifelong Advocate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg New





OCTOBER 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 3

Virtual Homecoming Recap “ F RO M P ROTEST TO POLI CY: THE P U R S U I T OF R AC I AL JU S TI C E ” The HU Ideas Symposium presented a national conference hosted by the Office of the Provost. The “From Protest to Policy” national conference amplified the important social and racial justice work that already happens every day at Howard in classrooms, in laboratories and research centers, in libraries and archives, and in meetings (both formal and informal) of visionary, historically aware and culturally conscious minds across the campus.


President Bill Clinton and Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton announced that Howard will serve as the virtual host campus for the 2021 Clinton Global Initiative University annual meeting, which brings students from around the world together with global leaders to inspire action.

D R . S TA N L E Y A N D R I S S E

“The state of Missouri took away my constitutional right to vote for the people who will run our country. Why? Because of felony disenfranchisement. I’m still shackled in many ways. … I used education to break those chains.” – Dr. Stanley Andrisse.

D R . B A H I YA H M U H A M M A D

“The policies and practices that we think about and talk about are not on the grassroots level. They don’t touch the children that are impacted by mass incarceration. We often forget about the youngest among us.” – Dr. Bahiyyah Muhammad.

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The Yardfest: Virtual Edition

SI XTH ANNUAL LGB TA R E NAI S SANC E R EC E P TI O N The reception honored students who emulate our motto, “In truth and service,” by facilitating awareness of LGBTQ+ issues and encourage activism in the larger community. Honorees were awarded a scholarship from the Lavender Fund for demonstrating sensitivity to LGBTQ+ issues and promoting visibility and celebration of LGBTQ+ experiences. Congratulations to the 2020 Lavender Fund recipients: Christopher Andrews,

Omari Hardwick co-hosted the virtual

second year dental student; Mina

Yardfest with niece, Ravyn Hardwick, a

Rodriguez, senior organizational

broadcast journalism junior.

communication major, sociology minor; and Jared Belfield, fashion design major.


During the virtual Yardfest, Mountain Dew presented a panel on entrepreneurship featuring DJ Envy, Karen Civil and other Black business owners!

“Students have to be able to access Howard education, and we have to make sure it’s affordable.” – President Wayne A. I. Frederick.

“The undergrad library, I think, will be a showcase site when we are able to return to campus. I first went into the library in 1988 and walking through the library Atlanta hip-hop artist 6LACK performed at Yardfest.

now is absolutely fantastic. This is a world-class renovation.” said President Wayne A. I. Frederick.

OCTOBER 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 5

Unrest in Nigeria: How We’re Supporting Our Howard Family The global coronavirus pandemic has reinforced Howard’s

initiative for open discussions with staff and faculty to

guiding principle to ensure the safety and wellbeing

better understand any unique concerns and challenges so

of our students, faculty and staff – those who live in

we may identify ways the University can be additionally

Washington, D.C., across the United States and around

supportive. Our Division of Student Affairs is poised to

the world. Amidst ongoing unrest in Nigeria, we are

offer support and assistance as needed. The staff in the

making every effort we can to support our Howard family

University Counseling Center is available to provide a

that is affected by violence in the country.

place of healing.

Howard has a long, rich history of welcoming, hosting

It is not lost on us that the tumult in Nigeria over the

and educating Nigerian students, who are an important

EndSARS movement protesting police brutality has

part of our community. Additionally, the University

coincided with our country’s own protest movement

has conducted various humanitarian, research and

decrying police violence. In America, in Nigeria and in any

training projects in Nigeria, where we have established

country anywhere, we condemn and denounce violence

a nonprofit entity, Howard University Global Initiative in

and brutality, and support efforts toward peaceful redress

Nigeria (HUGIN), employing several staff. It is these deep

of concerns. Just as Howard is committed to putting

ties that prepare us to support our Howard University

forward policies to solve the many problems the United

students, faculty and staff in Nigeria.

States is facing, so too will we leverage our institutional expertise and power to bring forth solutions to issues

We are in communication with our staff in Nigeria, who are all safe, and we are providing any necessary additional support. We are in constant contact with our students who have been continuing their Howard education remotely from Nigeria. We have started an

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around the globe.

Ph.D. Student Maika Moulite and Sister Crafting the Stories They Wished to See While Growing Up Maika Moulite, a first-year doctoral student in the Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies, has partnered with her sister, Maritza, to author two young adult novels. The two novels, “Dear Haiti, Love Alaine,” and “One of the Good Ones,” follow two different stories related to the Black experience. “Dear Haiti, Love Alaine,” follows the journey of a high schooler who visits her family in Haiti after being suspended from the elite private school she attends. “In her family’s homeland for the first time, Alaine is immediately put to work at her aunt’s startup helping native children in need. Alaine meets locals, interacts with kids connected to donors, and is shown the ropes by Jason, a fellow intern whose charming ways are making work a bit more challenging. What she doesn’t expect to find are letters, articles, emails and diary entries that she compiles into a final project that will not only save her academic standing in school, but also help her finally know the

Maika and Maritza Moulite

mother she’s never really understood.”

Apple Books:


Pop Sugar:





The TODAY Show:



“One of the Good Ones,” debuting in January, “is an incredibly timely story about a young social activist who dies under mysterious circumstances while in police custody and the journey her surviving sisters embark on, using ‘The Negro Motorist Green Book’ as their guide.” says Moulite.

OCTOBER 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 7

Q1). Tell us a bit about yourself and what led you to where you are today, as an author and Ph.D. student studying media studies at Howard. A1). I am originally from Miami, the eldest of four sisters and daughter to Haitian immigrants. Prior to becoming a Bison, I worked in digital media. Throughout my marketing career, it’s been very evident to me that organizations very rarely understand the impact media has on Black audiences. My curiosity around representation and mass communication has only continued to grow, especially as an author of children’s novels, leading me to my new role as a Ph.D. Student in the Communication, Culture and Media Studies program.

Q2). How has being a graduate student at Howard University had an impact on your writing? How has your media studies program impacted your writing? A2). I started my Ph.D. studies at Howard University this Fall, but it’s already playing a role in my writing life. My co-author and sister, Maritza, and I are working on our third novel, and I’m so excited about it. I can’t get into details just yet, but what I can share is that we’ll be tackling the intersections of race and class in our next project. As I learn about the various ways that white supremacy has bled into all aspects of media and daily life, I am becoming equipped with the language to properly tackle the issue head on. I’m then able to break this down in a way that is digestible for young audiences. It’s very empowering.

Q3). What inspired you and your sister to become co-authors and write two novels together? A3). Growing up, my parents were very strict and didn’t allow my sisters and I to watch television during the weekdays. To keep us entertained, our mom and dad would take us to the library every weekend, and my sisters and I would each borrow as many books as we could. We loved so many of these stories but very rarely saw any protagonists who looked like us or shared our experiences. Years later, Maritza and I were talking about this, and we asked ourselves, “Why don’t we write the books we wanted to read when we were younger?” And that’s how “Dear Haiti, Love Alaine” came to be! We’ve kept things going with “One of the Good Ones,” and it’s our hope that we’ll be writing together for many more years to come.

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Q4). Your forthcoming novel, “One of the Good Ones,” tells the story of a social activist who dies while in police custody. Her sisters then go on a journey following “The Negro Motorist Green Book.” a. In your words, what is the significance of writing fiction stories that relate so closely to the Black experience in America? A4a). When Maritza and I began writing “One of the Good Ones,” we knew that we wanted to discuss how Black women are so often overlooked in society. As we started our research, it became very clear to us that this oppression couldn’t only be told in a contemporary setting. We had to take it back. The roots of injustice in this country run so deep. It felt like a web that we couldn’t untangle, each tug led us to something else that we had to tackle as well. It’s our hope that people will read stories like “One of the Good Ones” and see Black people’s— and more specifically Black women’s—humanity.

b. What does advocacy mean to you and how do you practice that through your art? A4b). Advocacy looks different for everyone. We all have a skill that we bring to the table that helps us to elevate the people who are so often overlooked. It could be through protesting and marching in the street, donating your time or money or pouring it into your art like I do with my writing. No matter the method, just don’t quit!

Q5). What do you want the Howard community to know about “Dear Haiti, Love Alaine” and “One of the Good Ones”? A5). “Dear Haiti, Love Alaine” and “One of the Good Ones” are my and Maritza’s attempt to put stories out into the world that center Black people. We can be the love interests. We can be the superheroes. We can be the villains too. We hope that when people read our novels, they see themselves, and maybe even people who are different from them, reflected on the page. No matter the reader, we want everyone to know, Black people are more than enough to be the main characters.

“Dear Haiti, Love Alaine” is available in hardcover wherever books are sold. The paperback is available for pre-order and will be out Dec. 1, 2020. “One of the Good Ones” is out Jan. 5, 2021 wherever books are sold. Now through Jan. 4, 2021, Inkyard Press will donate $1 to the Center for Black Equity for every pre-order of One of the Good Ones. Be sure to upload your receipt here to be counted.

OCTOBER 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 9

Advocacy, Awareness and Health Promotion The mission of the Howard University Center for Sickle

not available due to COVID-19) is a free program, through

Cell Disease (HUCSCD) is to provide state of the art clinical

which anyone can get tested and find out their sickle cell

services, community outreach, screening/testing, genetic

status. Screenings are also offered through health fairs

counseling, research and education.

organized in the community. People who participate in this program also receive educational materials and are

HUCSCD was founded in 1972 by the late Roland B. Scott,

informed about SCT

M.D. The Center was one of the first Centers of Excellence

and its consequences.

funded by the National Institutes of Health. As such, it is

The Center also offers

a major provider of medical care to underserved patient

genetic counseling,

communities in the region. Howard University medical

which provides more in-

professionals currently care for more than 350 adults and

depth information about

children with the disease, making it the single largest care

SCT and SCD, as well as

provider for adults with sickle cell disease (SCD) locally.

reproductive risks and options.

SCD is an inherited condition that affects more than 100,000 individuals

The HUCSCD hosts two large-scale annual events, one

in the United States,

to commemorate World Sickle Cell Day on June 19, and


the other to recognize Sickle Cell Awareness month in

Africans and

September – this year’s event was the Cure Sickle Cell


Now Move-On Event. During World Sickle Cell Day, the

Approximately 1 in

Center invites renowned speakers to present their research

12 African-Americans

or their experience working with sickle cell patients. This

have sickle cell trait

year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the September

(SCT), many of whom don’t know they are carriers of the

event was converted to a virtual platform, and throughout

gene mutation; the numbers are as high as 1 in 4 people

the month, there were daily facts posted on social media

with SCT in some West African countries. When both

about SCD and SCT, fitness activities such as yoga, boot-

parents are carriers there is a 25% chance that their child

camp, boxing and Zumba, as well as one-hour DJ sessions

will be born with SCD. There is a great need to reach

to accompany participants while walking, running or doing

out to our students and our community and provide

their everyday chores.

information about SCD and SCT. In a continuous effort to improve the everyday lives of In terms of spreading awareness and education about SCD,

patients with SCD, the HUCSCD partnered with the

the Center has implemented different strategies through

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through

its stated mission. The SCT screening program (currently

the 1867 Health Innovations project.

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The purpose of this project was to develop and propose new ways to use technology and data to better understand the trends and needs of the SCD population, to address the long-standing challenges and how to improve their health outcomes. To kick off this three-year partnership, Howard University and HHS held an SCD innovation contest, called the Health+ Sickle Cell Disease Healthathon. The virtual event took place Sep. 7-25. Patients, advocates, clinicians, researchers, designers, technologists, government employees, payers, policymakers and members of the public participated in the event. For more information on the event and the winning proposals, visit: https://data4scd.

In line with Dr. Scott’s vision of almost 50 years ago, the Howard University Center for Sickle Cell Disease continues to lead the way in providing optimal care for people with sickle cell disease, engaging in innovative, translational research to improve the lives of those with the condition and increase awareness of sickle cell disease and the sickle cell trait on a local and national level.

Craig Newmark Philanthropies Donates $2.5 Million Gift in Support of Journalism Students Howard University and Craig Newmark announced that Craig Newmark Philanthropies is making a $2.5 million gift to support aspiring journalism students. “We are deeply appreciative of this generous gift from Mr. Craig Newmark and Craig Newmark Philanthropies,” said President Wayne A. I. Frederick. “The nation is in desperate need for media professionals who are trained to seek out truth with integrity now more than ever before. This gift will have a profound impact on our students, allowing them to focus on their studies and prepare for the workplace.” Trustworthy journalism and the information ecosystem are among the pillars of Mr. Newmark’s philanthropy to serve the public interest. He selected the Howard University Cathy Hughes School of Communications (CHSOC) for its history of exceptional work instilling values into the next generation of diverse journalists.

“All Americans deserve fair treatment, and to that end we need journalism that tells the truth, the diverse truth, in a way that benefits everyone. The Howard University journalism program will play a large role in telling that truth,” said Newmark.

OCTOBER 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 11

The Newmark gift will support several areas of need: The Craig Newmark Journalism Endowed Opportunity Scholarship Program ($1.5 million) will support journalism majors with demonstrated financial need (with priority given to juniors and seniors); The Craig Newmark Journalism Endowed Student Experience Fund will enable the kinds of professional development opportunities that are vital to students to get jobs after college and advance in their careers. “We are honored and humbled to receive this generous donation from Craig Newmark and Craig Newmark Philanthropies to support students in our journalism program,” said Gracie Lawson-Borders, Ph.D., dean of the Cathy Hughes School of Communications.

“We are at a pivotal moment in society in which good journalism serves as a cornerstone that supports democracy, reports history as it unfolds and gives voice to Blacks and other marginalized communities. Fifty years after the 1968 Kerner Commission report, our relevancy is heightened by the tenor of our times. It is essential that our school continues to prepare student journalists to provide context and give voice to all communities across this country. In the School of C, our awarding-winning faculty work to train and prepare successful journalists for the application of their craft. Thank you, Mr. Newmark.” The Cathy Hughes School of Communications is the third largest of the University’s 13 academic schools and colleges. It was named a “Top 20 Best Journalism College for the Money” by College Factual. For nearly 50 years, CHSOC has trained communication and media professionals, speech pathologists and members of the professoriate through undergraduate and graduate programs such as advertising, public relations, legal communication, audio production, journalism, film and broadcast. CHSOC graduates are known at the local, national and global levels for their leadership within and across diverse communities through communication research, professional practice, innovation, job creation, social justice and service via cutting-edge knowledge, skills and technology.

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Student Leader Commissioning Service Howard Forever: A Legacy of Resilient and Hopeful Leaders Coordinated by the Office of the Dean of the Chapel, the Student Leader Commissioning Service was held virtually on Sunday, Sep. 27. This service united the entire Howard University community – administration, faculty, staff, alumni, community members and students – for a time of prayer and encouragement for students in leadership across the University as they accepted the responsibility and entered the legacy of Howard University. President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA, and Cynthia Evers, Ed.D, interim vice president of student affairs, commissioned student leaders who joined the live event from around the country. Rev. Matthew Watley and Ms. Stefanie Brown James, both Howard alumni, inspired students in a two-part service and ceremony.

This year’s theme exposed how student leaders remain committed to advocacy while tackling both the racial and coronavirus pandemics. More than 60 student organizations were present. The president and vice president of the Howard University Student Association, Rachel Howell and Michael Franklin, responded for all students with thanks and words of hope for the future. The rebroadcast of the service can be viewed on the Rankin Chapel YouTube page.

OCTOBER 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 13

Howard University Homecoming Day of Service Saturday, Oct. 10, commenced the Howard University Homecoming season with Virtual Howard University Homecoming Day of Service. This service project was coordinated by the Office of the Dean of the Chapel in partnership with the Office of Student Affairs and united the entire Howard University community through community-focused service. Howard’s 2020 Homecoming theme “Advocacy!” captured the essence of our institution and speaks to Howard’s long-standing legacy of developing the faith, service and social justice leaders who change the world, despite the changes happening around them. Homecoming Day of Service focused on voter engagement and registration. More than 1,000 Howard undergraduate students were contacted – including some students who were not yet registered to vote. Students were grateful to hear from Howard students, faculty, staff and alumni who conducted wellness checks, helped students check their voter registration status and ensured that students had the information they needed in order to coordinate a voting plan.

Homecoming Gospel Concert Bison family and friends gathered their testimonies and joined a celebration of what anchors us, resilient faith. The Homecoming virtual gospel concert featured the premier performing arts ensembles of the University including Afro Blue, the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel Choir, the Howard University Community Choir, the Beacon Liturgical Dance Ministry and the Showtime Marching Band. It headlined the Howard Gospel Choir of Howard University and a special guest, BET Sunday Best’s Geoffrey Golden. In addition to soulstirring ministry of music and arts, the program included various clips of advocacy work centered on the importance of voting including words from First Lady Michelle Obama and a clip from the Men’s Basketball Team on why Black Lives Matter. This uplifting evening of inspiration and encouragement was presented by the Office of the Dean of the Chapel.

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Communal Lament Services

Virtual Social Justice Tutors Now, more than ever, advocating for access to educational resources

A Communal Lament is a YouTube-

faculty and staff who have been trained as Virtual Social Justice Tutors

streamed program coordinated by

with students to support. The Office of the Dean of the Chapel’s Virtual

The Office of the Dean of the Chapel

Social Justice Tutors are trained to support students in grades K-12.

is critical. The Office of the Dean of the Chapel is connecting Howard

that offers Howard students a space to share their range of feelings about

To apply and receive more

the continued stress of the pandemic,

information, email

extrajudicial killings of Black life and

attending classes virtually. During Still Advocating, the third installment of this biweekly series, students from organizations with a history of advocacy at Howard’s campus offered their pain, frustrations, hope through prayers, reflections, music and words of consolation and comfort to uplift members of the Howard community. This program can be viewed on the Rankin Chapel YouTube page.

The Wellness Collective Please join the Office of the Dean of the Chapel for the Wellness Collective, an experience for the mind, body, spirit and soul featuring experts in mindfulness, meditation, self-care and spiritual care. Beginning on Oct. 26, the virtual interactive series will take place bi-weekly and is open to the entire Howard University community. The first guest expert was Dr. Sará Yafah King. She is a UCLA-trained political and learning scientist, neuroscientist, entrepreneur, public speaker and yoga and meditation instructor. Dr. King specializes in researching and teaching about the relationship between mindfulness, community healing and social justice. She presented “Mindful Tips for Coping with Impatience During COVID-19.” Additional upcoming speakers for the Office of the Dean of the Chapel’s Wellness Collective include Tara Brach, Ph.D., an internationally known teacher of mindfulness, meditation, emotional healing and spiritual awakening. She will present “Introduction to Mindfulness” on Nov. 9, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. Ronald E. Hopson, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, holds a joint appointment in the Howard University School of Divinity and the Department of Psychology. He will present “Managing Anxiety” on Nov. 23, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. Register here to experience the Wellness Collective.

OCTOBER 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 15

When We All Vote, with Alumni Priestley M. Johnson WHO I AM

arrangements for family

My name is Priestley Marie Johnson. I am a daughter,

coming in town and the

a sister, an aunt, an activist, Howard alumna and God’s

existential dread of having

creation. I am from Hartford, Conn., raised with Jamaican

no plans for my future. I

parents. All of these identities, combined with graduating

went to the event with

magna cum laude with my B.A. in political science in

my resume in hand, and

2016, made me who I am today. I now serve as the deputy

firstly Ms. Jarrett kicked

director of partnerships for Michelle Obama’s voting

all of the men out of the

initiative, When We All Vote.

room (including her secret service detail!). This allowed us all a safe place to openly


talk about entering the world as young Black women. Her

Two words that I heard and experienced almost daily on

resounding message was to always be your own biggest

campus were “hustle” and “struggle.” From the moment

advocate. I flagged down Ms. Jarrett’s staffer after the

you step on campus, you are in a competitive environment

event, handed her my resume and pitched myself to her

with people that have already proved themselves to be

as a promising young professional. She smiled generously

the best. The Mecca is where I perfected my grit. On

and gave me her card. After two months of intentional

top of a full educational schedule each semester, I had

outreach, thousands of dollars in last-minute flights to

an internship, a job and I participated in a student-led

Washington, D.C., and a lot of bravery, I landed in the

organization. Although my time commitments increased,

Obama Administration’s White House Office of Public

I was always seeking more and more opportunities to


advance my skill set. The second quality is well-known in the Howard millennial community as “The Howard Struggle.” There was a consistent theme of needing to

This defining moment of perseverance propelled my

overcome this struggle, whether it be waiting in line for

career. I went on to advocate and plan hundreds of

medical clearances, having midterms simultaneously as

convening events for the White House Council on

Homecoming or waking up early to get all the classes you

Women and Girls, strategically connected hundreds

need to graduate. The struggle is real, but if you continue

of organizations to thousands of people seeking

to overcome it, your struggle will eventually pay off. When

essential resources and fundraised over a million

that day comes, you better be ready.

dollars professionally to benefit the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs. If it were not for “The

My day came just 10 days before graduation. Ms. Valerie

Howard Struggle,” I would not have been born in the

Jarrett, senior advisor to the then president and my

image of the “Howard Hustle.” Life has come to show

commencement speaker, President Barack Obama, came

me, as long as you hustle harder than the struggle, it

to speak to the graduating senior women. At the time,

will always be worth it.

I was dealing with many stressors, including graduation

PAGE 16 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter OCTOBER 2020


air quality, your friend’s interactions with the justice system

As the deputy director of partnerships, I oversee more than

and your access to vital resources like health care. It is your

400 partners, including all nine organizations of the National

right to be represented by people that reflect your values.

Panhellenic Council; nonprofits such as the National Urban

For this to be true, you must have your voice heard in each

League; and global brands like Postmates, and

and every election. Your vote does matter.

Lyft, among others. I ensure that all nonprofit, corporate, community-based, local or national organizations have the

I do this work with When We All Vote to ensure that

tools and resources needed to register voters; promote

everyone’s voice is heard and that all people understand

accurate voting information; and mobilize thousands of their

their power.

members, employees and staff to get out the vote. In 2016, 100 million eligible voters did not cast their ballots and for


that reason, in 2018, Michelle Obama launched When We

The word “mbongi” comes from Bantu-Kongo and means

All Vote, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. We are on a

a “house without rooms.” I learned this in Dr. Greg Carr’s

mission to increase participation in every election and close

class freshman year at HU. He used this as a framework to

the race and voting age gap by changing the culture around

develop each class as a convening space where we openly

voting, harnessing grassroots

explored and delved deeper into our Black identity and its

energy and leveraging

unique dimensions. In the cafe on “Soul Food Thursdays” or

strategic partnerships to

in Burr during a pep rally, these open-convenings of Black

reach every American.

thought happened daily on campus in and out of class. Howard’s entire structure was our “mbongi”: a place to learn,

In 2018, we saw the most

discuss, inquire and exist freely. A house without rooms.

massive turnout of young people in decades for a midterm election. Unfortunately, still nearly two-thirds of young

When you leave Howard, finding those safe spaces for your

people did not cast their ballot.

identity to be appreciated, be valued and be an asset in

Voting is not marriage. Voting is like getting on the nearest

professional environments is

bus heading closest to your destination. Activism and

difficult, but it’s necessary. My

advocacy are the few extra blocks you walk to arrive at your

presence and voice alone in

destination. Voting is a form of protest. Both concepts go

political spaces have allowed

hand in hand, particularly for Black people whose ancestors

me to advocate for inclusive

have fought hard for this right. In 2020, we continue to

representation in partners,

see suppression manifest in various shapes, sizes and

resources, staff demographics,

forms. From closed polling places to lines that circle entire

digital content, socio-economic backgrounds and funding

neighborhoods and absentee ballots that never arrive, the

allocation. I strive to make each environment I enter my

challenges so many voters have faced this year aren’t an

own “mbongi,” so that wherever I exist, there too exists a

accident: they are tactics of voter suppression. If voting

place without restrictions, a structure embracing innovation

wielded no power, people would not go out of their way to

and creativity, and a sense of belonging for ALL – an

dissuade you from having your voice heard. We elect people

environment where I show up every day as my full self: A

in office to reflect our views and represent us. From the

Black Woman.

White House to our local district attorneys, each elected position can directly influence your nephew with asthma’s OCTOBER 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 17

WHAT’S NEXT? “Sankofa.” Sankofa is a word in the Twi language of Ghana that translates to “Go back and get it.” Sankofa is symbolized by a bird with its head turned backward, carrying a precious egg in its mouth, while its feet are faced forward. During my matriculation at Howard, I learned of this in our preparation to go to visit the African Burial Ground National Monument in the heart of New York City. In the 1700s, the design was found in the center of the burial ground carrying the remains of over 419 slaves. I believe our ancestors were telling us to continue our progress while always going back to sow seed within our community. In this vein, I continuously help elevate others through mentorship, speak to students in the Political Science Department and even provide employment opportunities. “Sankofa” is reflected in every public or private sector endeavor I take on. Yet, there is still impact to be made in innovation, representation, technology, content, resource allocation and so many more fields.

“I encourage us all to do our part in looking back in order to move our entire community forward.”

PAGE 18 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter OCTOBER 2020

Alumni Robin F. Baker, MS, OTR/L: Advocacy, Locally and Globally Serving the community locally and globally can improve conditions for vulnerable populations, empower communities and reduce gaps in access to care resources and wellness. Through collaboration, groups are better able to advocate for themselves by identifying their specific needs. Recently, we had the opportunity to meet with Alumni Robin F. Baker, MS, OTR/L who embodies the University’s pillars for service and mission of advocacy. Robin is the owner of a nonprofit organization, GO Therapy, Inc., that has a mission to “improve access and quality of occupational, physical and speech therapy services for persons living with disabilities and chronic health conditions in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Q1). Tell me about your business? A1). GoTHERAPY is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to enhance the lives of individuals living with chronic health conditions, such as stroke, by improving their access to quality rehabilitation services. Through our Stroke Community Re-Integration Program (SCRIP), we provide stroke survivors in the Shai Osudoku district of Ghana with communitybased occupational, physical and speech therapy services as well as health monitoring and health and wellness education. Essentially, we are helping individuals walk again, talk again and engage in meaningful daily activities after surviving a stroke. In March, GoTHERAPY and the Shai Osudoku District opened the first community occupational therapy center in Ghana to serve adults living with chronic illness and children with special needs.

Q2). What motivated you to attend the University, and how has that influenced your interest in occupational therapy? A2). Throughout undergrad, my mother battled stage 4 breast cancer; however, two weeks into my senior year she transitioned to hospice care. She was provided with a home occupational therapist who helped her establish end of life goals. My mom’s goals included independently washing her face, brushing her teeth and walking to her favorite chair. I loved the intimacy of the OT profession, and I appreciated the intentionality of the OT who helped my mom participate in activities that were meaningful and purposeful to her up until her death. After my mom passed away, I pivoted from pursuing athletic training post-graduation and started looking into OT programs.

OCTOBER 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 19

I chose Howard University to: 1.

be surrounded by the brightest and culturally diverse minds;


be taught by Black women trailblazers within the profession (i.e., Dr. Shirley Jackson, Dr. Felicia Banks); and


find the nurturing community that would see my fullest potential and aid me in achieving it.

Q3). Provide one major experience at Howard University that molded you into the health care entrepreneur you are today? A3). During the last year of my OT program, I completed a clinical rotation to San Jose, Costa Rica. During that experience, I realized that illness is universal but access to quality health care and, more specifically, rehabilitation, is not. That experience sparked my interest in rehabilitation initiatives abroad. As a Liberian-American, I had an interest in exploring rehabilitation services in Black nations, so I participated in volunteer trips to Haiti, Liberia and Ghana.

Q4). How did you get abroad? Was it through a program at Howard? If so, which one? A4). After my experience in Costa Rica, I made a commitment to explore international opportunities at least once a year. In 2016, I volunteered in Ghana for the first time and was introduced to the chairperson of the OT program at the University of Ghana, who was preparing to graduate the first cohort of OTs in the country. I was presented with several exciting opportunities that would allow me to participate in community-based programs and aid in the establishment of the OT profession within the country. In 2018, I made the move to Ghana to gain more in-country experience and pilot GoTHERAPY’s flagship program. Since then, I split my time between the DMV and Accra, Ghana.

GoTHERAPY has also worked with the HU OT Department to create clinical opportunities for students participating in Alternative Spring Break to Ghana and sponsor students via our Social Justice Fund. The collaborative and community outreach demonstrated by alumna Robin Baker and her organization continue to represent not only advocacy, but the mission of truth and service.

PAGE 20 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter OCTOBER 2020

Challenging Voter Suppression at the Ballot Box In this critical election year, political leaders Stacey

Abrams. “In the 2008 election, everyone was excited.

Abrams and Spencer Overton joined political

But because there was not active participation

strategist Donna Brazile for a conversation

in 2010, all of those advances were halted. State

about combatting voter suppression. The virtual

legislators were taken over because of the census and

conversation took place as part of the 2020-21

redistricting. We are watching the same thing happen

Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair in


Public Policy Lecture Series, chaired by Brazile. Esteemed political analyst, and moderator for the Overton, president of the Joint Center for Political

evening, Donna Brazile, closed out the poignant event

and Economic Studies, opened with a conversation

by encouraging voters to visit or vote.

on the way disinformation online leads to voter

org to get the most accurate information on their

suppression at the polls. Overton discussed what he

voting status and information about absentee voting.

called “new voter suppression,” referencing examples where ads targeting the Black community led to voter suppression in the 2016 elections. The ads from this Facebook page targeted Black

Gwendolyn S. And Colbert I. King ENDOWED CHAIR IN PUBLIC POLICY Lecture Series 2020 – 2021

users to discourage them from participating in the elections. Overton also discussed barriers to confront disinformation online that leads to voter suppression, noting President Trump’s use of presidential power to discourage social media platforms from stopping disinformation. In addition, Overton debunked the myth of voter fraud and encouraged voters to get ahead of some of the real barriers to successfully casting their vote.

Challenging Voter Suppression at the Ballot Box 5 p.m. Eastern Time Thursday, October 8, 2020

2020 is a census year; Abrams stressed the particular importance of not only voting but completing the census and participating in local elections to meet community-based needs.

Donna L. Brazile Former Interim Chairperson Democratic National Committee(DNC) Moderator

Stacey Abrams Founder Fair Fight Action

Spencer Overton President Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

Register in advance for this webinar:

“Because this is a census year, we are not only redoing After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

the outcome of 2016, we’re also redoing 2010,” said

OCTOBER 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 21

Howard University Hospital Honors Breast Cancer Awareness Month October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Howard University Hospital (HUH) is committed to raising awareness for this deadly disease, which impacts the lives of so many women and men in our country. More than 400,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. In the U.S. today, there are more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors – the largest group of all cancer survivors. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, HUH is pulling out all of the facts to help educate the local community about breast cancer awareness in hopes that more people get tested.

BREAST CANCER FACTS THAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW: Early detection is the best protection.

1 IN 8

women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.


Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is


1 in 1,000



PAGE 22 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter OCTOBER 2020

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS? Any change in the size or shape of the breast. Pain in any area of the breast. Nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood). A new lump in the breast or underarm.


If you are taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills, ask your doctor about the risks.


Breastfeed your children, if possible. HUH ADVOCATING FOR HEALTH AWARENESS WITH STATE-OF-THE-ART MAMMOGRAM SCREENINGS Each year, breast cancer impacts the lives of millions of women and men and their families. The American Cancer Society reports that more than 400,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer annually, meaning one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. For African-American populations, the numbers are even more dire. African-American women younger than 45 have a higher breast cancer occurrence than their white counterparts. AfricanAmerican women also have a 31% breast cancer mortality rate – the highest of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S. An early diagnosis through services such as routine mammograms have helped to reduce breast cancer mortality by 40% since 1990. Howard University Hospital is taking on the fight against breast cancer by offering patients 3D mammography technology that vastly improves early detection. The state-of-the-art equipment is designed to provide detailed, high-quality, 3D images and a more comfortable mammogram experience. 3D mammography takes images of the breast in slices from many different angles and provides a detailed view of dense breast tissue, making it easier to detect the size, shape and location of any potential abnormalities. The technology is proven to be more accurate than 2D mammography in locating invasive cancers as well as reducing false-positive findings and the need for additional tests. 3D mammography is recommended for all women between the ages of 35 and 50, especially for individuals who may have denser breast tissue, those who may have a family history of breast cancer and anyone who may be at a higher risk for developing the disease.

OCTOBER 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 23

Remembering Lifelong Advocate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg On Sep. 18, 2020, the Howard community joined in a moment of national sadness at the news of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing. In her 87 years of life and 27 years of service on the United States Supreme Court, she was a tenacious champion of equality – for women and for all underrepresented and marginalized communities. Standing at only five feet tall and weighing in at only 100 pounds, she was a relentless fighter on behalf of her judicial philosophy and moral barometer, proving again and again that one’s stature is not determined by the shadow we cast, but by the power of our voice and the causes that compel us to use it. Later in life, her legacy seemed to finally catch up to the impact she had throughout a monumental and groundbreaking legal career. Known as Notorious R.B.G, she became a cultural icon. For years, her no-nonsense expression and the legendary collar that adorned her black justice robes became ubiquitous across social media and emblazoned on the backpacks and t-shirts and bodies of the young people who idolized her. Justice Ginsburg’s titanic influence, however, could not be reduced to Internet memes; her importance and relevance persisted beyond the typical transience of contemporary popularity. Culminating with two feature films in 2018 – one documentary and one fictionalized account of her life – her widespread fanbase learned more of her life and the true essence of the change she helped to usher into the legal profession and our society at large. Before she ever sat on the Supreme Court or the United States Court of Appeals, she was a trailblazing lawyer who fought for discrimination on the basis of sex to receive the same standing and legal recognition as discrimination on the basis of race. By combining her brilliant legal intellect with an understanding of how to persuade the male justices who sat on the bench before her, she was able to win crucial and hard-fought rights for women that paved the way for their greater participation in our society, our economy and our country.

PAGE 24 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter OCTOBER 2020

As a judge, she would go on to further enshrine these principles in the law with her numerous court opinions. In many cases throughout her career, she sought to build coalitions with her fellow justices, writing majority opinions that set down important legal precedents. Her friendship with conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016, was well known in Washington, D.C., and more broadly. Despite their strongly contrasting judicial philosophies as well as their disagreements on many of the cases they heard together on the court, they were able to maintain a deeply personal respect and fondness for one another. Their friendship became an inspiration to many who resented the increasing polarization and partisanship of our country and hoped that respect could exist even among individuals who disagreed. But especially later in her career, Justice Ginsburg became known for her blistering dissents, her willingness to speak truth to power and stand up for what she believed in, despite falling in the minority on the court. She became the leader of the liberal bloc and an unyielding advocate for progressive causes. Her passion and energy never seemed to wane, despite the numerous health issues she experienced. Following stints in the hospital, she would always return to work, ready and eager to fight. Justice Ginsburg was the first Democratic appointee to the Supreme Court since Thurgood Marshall, our esteemed alumnus of the Howard University School of Law, was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson. Many say that she picked up his mantle and pursued equality for women with the same fiery intensity that Justice Marshall pursued justice for Black Americans. Howard University was privileged to welcome Justice Ginsburg to our campus in 2017 for the “Singing of a New American” event that honored the legacy of Howard graduate and civil rights lawyer Pauli Murray. Often throughout her career, Justice Ginsburg would cite Murray as an inspirational figure and describe the strong influence the iconic lawyer had on her. In passing as in life, Justice Ginsburg will continue to have an abiding and consequential presence on the lives of many. She was a significant figure for numerous different communities who held her with the utmost reverence, respect and esteem. As one of our country’s most prominent Jewish figures, it is fitting that Justice Ginsburg’s death coincided with the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and one of the holiest days on the Hebrew calendar. It is a holiday associated with reflection and rededication, renewal and rebirth. It was an ideal opportunity for the country to contemplate Justice Ginsburg’s ever burnishing legacy and the world we should strive to perfect in honor of her blessed memory.

Rest well, Justice Ginsburg.

OCTOBER 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 25

New Appointment Rashad Young, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer On Oct. 12, 2020, the University announced the appointment of Rashad Young as the new senior vice president and chief strategy officer. In this role he will oversee the implementation of the University’s strategic plan: Howard Forward. He will also provide oversight on external affairs as it relates to the federal government and on real estate as it pertains to our non-core assets. “I am pleased to welcome veteran administrator Rashad Young to Howard University in the new role of SVP and chief strategy officer,” said President Wayne A. I. Frederick. “Mr. Young has a proven track record of managing strategic initiatives for complex organizations by improving efficiency and implementing solution-oriented processes. His wealth of experience will be a great addition to our leadership team.” Young joins Howard after having been the longest serving city administrator in DC Government history. With a workforce of about 35,000 employees and a budget of $16 billion, Young ensured efficient, accountable and wellmanaged service delivery to all residents, businesses and visitors on behalf of the mayor. His focus areas included improving the District’s government operations and oversight, providing for continuous quality improvements in government programs and services, ensuring responsibility and transparency in the budgeting process, and improving interagency coordination, collaboration and communication.

PAGE 26 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter OCTOBER 2020


On Beat with @HUPrez17 Morgan Stanley The University is proud to participate in the @Morgan.Stanley HBCU Scholars program, which will begin in the Fall 2021 semester. This generous commitment from Morgan Stanley will provide full scholarships and living expenses for 60 students at the nation’s top historically Black colleges and universities. Including five academic and needs-based scholarships to Howard students over the next four years.

Homecoming 2020 theme ‘Advocacy’

Although we could not gather in person, I was excited about this year’s virtual Homecoming. “Advocacy” captures the energy of this moment in our society and the need to ensure that our great University will continue producing the scholars and leaders our society needs to continue forward.

Lilly Endowment

I am delighted to share that the Howard University School of Divinity (HUSD) has received a $1M grant from the Lilly Endowment, Incorporated, a private philanthropic foundation that supports the causes of community development, education and religion. This is the largest gift made to the School of Divinity in its recent history, and I am grateful this contribution has come in the school’s 150th anniversary year. This contribution will specifically support HUSD’s new Ethical Leadership and Racial Justice Initiative, which will support students in their quest to use their theological training to solve the nation’s socio-political, economic and moral crises. The funding will go toward creating a cohort program for students whose academic interests align with ethical leadership and racial justice.

#MentalHealthDay 2020

This year has been challenging for all of us. Being confined and unable to be around loved ones has the ability to affect our mental health. On #MentalHealthDay2020, let’s take some time to encourage others – and ourselves – to communicate how we feel.

OCTOBER 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 27

JHUAN Giving Initiative The Jamaican Howard University Affinity Network (JHUAN) was formed through the collaboration of Jamaican Ambassador to the United States Audrey Marks and President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA. Ambassador Marks, with President Frederick’s co-sponsorship, asked that an organization be formed to provide greater support to Jamaican students at Howard University, and they charged a Jamaican and Howard University graduate, Don Christian, to serve as the founding chairman. Ambassador Marks and President Frederick established the key mandates of the organization as follows:

Identify ways to give back to Howard University. Serve as mentors to Jamaican students enrolled at Howard University. Assist students financially through the establishment of a fund at Howard University.

JHUAN was formally launched in the Summer of 2018 with the formation of an Executive Committee charged with fulfilling the mandate of the organization. Howard University and the Jamaican community have had a long-standing relationship for more than 100 years, and Howard has been the University of choice for hundreds of Jamaican nationals who have either remained to work in the United States, returned to the island and have done extremely well professionally, or have made their mark in other areas globally. With rising costs of a college education and ever declining resources available to college-bound children and their families, JHUAN is bound by the principle that it will provide students with the opportunity, where possible, to complete their studies with the hope that they too will give back to others in the years to come.

Give Now at:

PAGE 28 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter OCTOBER 2020

Howard University Alumni Association: Giving Give Today

Howard University’s tradition of providing a first-class education for people of diverse backgrounds dates back to its founding in 1867 when the institution began to prepare leaders to address some of the most urgent needs of our nation and beyond. When you give to Howard, you have the power to contribute to research that saves lives, graduates who become leaders in their professions and policies and programs that have and will continue to better communities on every continent of the globe. The University encourages all donors to use their giving power to make personally meaningful and informed decisions about their contributions. Please, take a moment to review Howard’s Annual Report to learn about the impact of gifts in action and read through our gift policies to learn about the steps Howard is taking to ensure the responsible acceptance, administration and stewardship of gifts made to Howard.

OCTOBER 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 29



Enclosed is my gift of $ Name: _____________________________________________________________ Title: _______________________________________________________________ Company/Organization: ______________________________________________


“The Journey” This month on the podcast “The Journey,” guests included Donna Brazile, political strategist and former chair for the Democratic National Committee, and Dr.

Address: ___________________________________________________________ City/State/Zip: ______________________________________________________ If new address, please check: ¨

Home Phone: _______________________________________________________ Office Phone: _______________________________________________________ Mobile Phone: ______________________________________________________ Email: _____________________________________________________________ Class Year:__________ College/Program:________________________________ PLEASE CHARGE MY CARD: Visa


American Express


Shelly McDonald-Pinkett, chief medical

Name on Card:_____________________________________________________

officer with Howard University Hospital.

Credit Card Number: _______________________________________________

The conversations highlighted the latest news in politics and what can be expected during this political cycle as we approach the presidential election, our HUH health care workers on the frontlines, HUH’s continuing the use of resources to the best serve District residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, and more.

Exp Date:_______________ Security Code:______________________________ Address: __________________________________________________________ City/State/Zip: _____________________________________________________ If same as above, please check: Signature: _________________________________________________________ Date: _____________________________________________________________ My and/or my spouse’s employer will match my/our gift. For online giving, visit: DIVISION OF DEVELOPMENT & ALUMNI RELATIONS HOWARD UNIVERSITY 2225 GEORGIA AVENUE NW, ROOM 901 WASHINGTON, DC 20059


Will you answer the call? PAGE 30 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter OCTOBER 2020

OCTOBER 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 31

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