It's More Than
(Imagine your custom 2 colors)
Mission: It’s More Than A T-Shirt. It’s A Movement. To promote equity, dignity, self-care, and sustainability of Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) by donations from its HBCUish apparel and merchandise with over 50% of proceeds benefiting the movement.
Vision: Direct financial gifts to HBCU students and staff to help them meet their basic needs.
Value: Equity, Self-Care, Dignity, and Sustainability.
Notice of Non-Affiliation and Disclaimer:
This Movement is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially or unofficially connected with any HBCU, other institution of learning, or Greek Letter Organization or any of its subsidiaries or its affiliates.
The names Finest 4 Pearls, HBCU-ish, and the tag line It's More Than A T-Shirt. It's A Movement., as well as related names, marks, emblems, and images are registered trademarks of their respective owners.
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Join the Movement
because . . .
“I’m HBCU-ish because I know the vital role HBCUs play in a thriving community and I want to support them as they help narrow the racial wealth gap in our society”.
Years after having graduated from not one but two non-HBCUs with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a masters degree in Criminal Justice Administration, I discovered the real importance of HBCUs to the Black community. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) were institutions during segregation that offered one of the only routes to a college degree for Black Americans. To help Black Americans pursue a professional career in an inclusive environment. Today, HBCUs still play a vital role in higher education. And I owe a great deal of gratitude for this installation of information to my Black Greek Lettered organization, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
In my immediate family, I am the first to achieve and accomplish many firsts such as having the privilege to attend college. However, I don’t feel I asked enough questions in high school and I failed to do the research to obtain the proper knowledge of how HBCUs are so valuable to the Black student experience in higher education. But because of what I know now, I ensure that my children are well versed in the knowledge that HBCUs also provide a connection with other Black students, solid networks to draw from after graduation along with narrowing that racial wealth gap in society. My children know that HBCUs are an option for a rewarding experience and will partake in the college tours to experience our rich heritage and see thriving Black excellence.
Although I did not attend an HBCU and with all that I now know, I want to help sustain them by spreading the word. To make sure others are educated on HBCUs and their importance to the Black community by giving students the chance to attend a financed HBCU tour.
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I normalize Black Excellence. We are a culture of greatness and it is important for generations to understand and experience the support of a healthy, safe, and thriving community”.
I grew up in South Los Angeles and was surrounded by predominantly Black school administrators and community members. Many were HBCU alumni and there was no doubt that I would pursue higher education. I thrived both academically and athletically, graduating from high school with high honors and one of the top track and field intermediate hurdlers in the United States. I was awarded a full scholarship as a student athlete and I chose the University of Washington. My K-12 academic experience was filled with Black excellence, support from the Black community, and Black community leaders mentoring me to evolve my leadership skills to support the next generation - it is that excellence and experience that I carried to the University of Washington, serving as an example of Black Excellence from South Los Angeles.
Today I am the Chief Executive Officer of a legacy nonprofit organization and I am the first African American to serve as CEO in the organization’s 80-year history in our county. I am a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the National Coalition of 100 Black Women - Silicon Valley Chapter, and founding member of Rise Together Santa Cruz County, and the Insights, Grace & Grit: Black Indigenous Latinx People of Color Leadership Series. My commitment to Black excellence is why I choose to support HBCUs and the next generation of glass ceiling breakers, barrier tacklers, and social game changers.
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Growing up as a military child often times in the suburbs where the neighborhoods and schools were predominantly white, my mother who was raising her two black daughters, was dedicated to ensure we knew and learned about our heritage. At the age of eight my family became members of Seattle’s first African American Baptist Church where the pastor was a graduate of Morehouse and his wife of Spelman so on Scholarship Sunday’s continuing education was praised, recognized, and important for all students; however the magnitude of the cheers & the length applauses was not the same when it was announced you were attending a HBCU versus a predominantly white college so naturally, I wanted that moment to make my church proud and thought for sure that’s where I’d go.
Unfortunately that moment didn’t happen for me because when it came down to selecting a HBCU, an athletic scholarship, or an academic scholarship, I chose the academic route and graduated from the University of Washington (UW) with a B.S in Environmental Health and a minor in Chemistry. One year later, I returned to UW and received my Masters in Health Administration.
Today I’m a Strategic Operational leader within the Health & Wellness industry but have remained committed to financially supporting HBCUs and my predominantly white university that has an exchange program to give black students the unique opportunity of attending a HBCU for a year to experience our nations rich culture and history.
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Elaine McGraw Brannon
The first college I ever knew about was founded to educate African Amercians. My mother grew up on the same block as that HBCU and my father in a neighboring town. Though they were active in extra curricular activities in their high school, where they met, excelled academically; and valued education, my parents did not attend college. They made a conscious decision that their children would attend college and worked to provide the means. Their motto: "no sitting out, no flunking out, no transferring".
My sister attended that HBCU when I was 8 years old. She was involved in activities (including initiation into Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.) and excelled academically. I knew people who either went or taught there. During some holidays and summers until she graduated, I was on that campus and attended activities pretending like I belonged. I admired those who ensured people who looked like me were afforded a college education even in the face of adversity. I thought it only natural to attend a HBCU. Due to unforseen circumstances, I did not get the opportunity to attend a HBCU, but I vowed to support with my time, talents, and finances. I attended Southeast Missouri State University and San Diego State University. I work professionally as a Licensed Master Social Worker. I am a Certified Advanced Social Work Case Manager and a Board Certified Case Manager for Health Care. I volunteer for an organization that prepares middle and high school students for a HBCU education.
I never imagined at this time in my life that I would meet sorority sisters who not only had a burning desire to do more for HBCUs, but would answer my call in a Zoom Chat to put their ideas into action. We were strangers to each other then, but now have formed an unshakeable bond to carry out our mission. We realize the struggles students, faculty, and staff have affording incidentals and we are determined make a difference by helping to make things easier. I am committed to being of service to Social Work students, especially those with an interest in health care.
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