Propel Braddock Hills senior Shaheed Ansari asks a question during the HBCU forum at CCAC, March 30. (Photos by J.L. Martello)

Soon-to-be college student Shaheed Ansari knows what he wants to do in life—become a defense attorney. And he made it clear at a recent community forum that when he steps onto a college campus this fall, it will be at a Historically Black College.

“There’s 50 people in my class,” said Ansari, a senior at Propel Braddock Hills. “I made every single person apply to a HBCU because a HBCU is a group of African Americans trying to better themselves and their community. No other college can truly say, ‘we are for a community, we are here to help this community.’”

FORUM—Dr. Christopher Robinson, Vince Elliott, Cynthia James (Youth Places) and CCAC president Quintin Bullock collaborated on the event.

The panel discussion was held March 30 at Community College of Allegheny County, where representatives from nearly a dozen HBCUs spoke about the advantages of attending those colleges and universities. HBCUs represented were Delaware State., North Carolina Central, Lincoln Univ., Tuskegee Univ., South Carolina State College, Prairie View A&M, West Virginia State Univ., Hampton Univ., Jackson State Univ., Bennett College and Alabama State Univ.

“It’s people who are educated, who are bright, who are Black like me who want to help the world, who want to do something with their lives,” Ansari said about his desires to attend a HBCU. “People who have risen above their circumstances and said, ‘hey, I want to do something, I want to build something.’”

High school and middle school students were in attendance, some brought by Jeanine Baxter, Youth Outreach Specialist for Housing Opportunities Unlimited in Oak Hill. She helped students in the program research different HBCUs prior to the event.

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