More than 30 presidents of historically black colleges on Wednesday issued a joint letter calling for "peace and unity" after the shootings of black men and of police officers in several cities. The presidents pledged to organize a symposium on gun violence and to raise awareness about "the debilitating impact of trauma on the lives of those who have been exposed to loss as a result of gun violence."
"HBCUs, by virtue of their special place in this nation, have always understood the hard work and sacrifices that must be made in order for America to live up to its ideals," says the letter. "From the moment that our doors first opened in 1842, the roles that our institutions have played were never narrowly confined to educating the men and women who sat in our classes and walked our campuses. Instead, ours was a much broader and more vital mission. We were charged with providing a light in the darkness for a people who had been constitutionally bound to the dark. Our very creation, existence and persistence were and always have been a duality of collaboration and protest. In this respect, America’s HBCUs were the birthplace of the idea that black lives matter to our country."
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