David Milledge, II the GM Multicultural Marketing Assistant Manager and Ashley Christopher, Esq., the founder of HBCU Week. Photo by Menra Mapfumo/The Atlanta Voice

HBCU Week has gained a new sponsor. The General Motors Company (GM) has joined many other sponsors in HBCU Week’s mission to, “to encourage high-school aged youth to enroll into HBCUs, provide scholarship dollars for matriculation and sustain a pipeline for employment from undergraduate school to corporate America.” 

HBCU Week hosted a college fair in Atlanta during October where thousands of students from many of the country’s HBCUs attended. Prior to that, the HBCU Week Foundation held a VIP reception inviting sponsors, scholars, and HBCU recruiters.  

During this reception, GM unveiled their new “Make History with GM and HBCUs,” commercial, highlighting diversity, equity, and inclusion within GM. Alumni and students at HBCUs in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), such as Prairie View A&M University, Jackson State University, Southern University, Grambling State University, Bethune-Cookman University, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Florida A&M University, Alabama State University, Alcorn State University, and Texas Southern University. 

In addition, the founder of HBCU Week, Ashley Christopher, Esq., the GM Multicultural Marketing Assistant Manager, David Milledge, II, and the Majority Creative Director of the GM Commercial, Jess Noel were also in attendance. 

Noel, a FAMU alumni, verbalized commercial, “The vision, initially, was how do we continue to elevate the commitment that GM has to HBCUs into the SWAC, while also maintaining authenticity, keeping our diverse audiences in mind, and to tell an artful, beautiful story of HBCUs and their legacies and their contributions to society.”   

Christopher is a double HBCU alumni of Howard University and the University of the District of Columbia.  

While talking to Christopher, shared that HBCU Week came to life as an idea back at her home in Wilmington, Delaware. She wanted to use HBCU Week to expose high school students to HBCUs.  

When talking about the partnership with GM Christopher expressed, “The partnership has been a dream from the start,” she continued, “When my foundation looks for partnerships it is never just transactional, we have to align with our moral compasses and our missions, and GM does just that,” Lastly, she added, “We are impacting the world with diversity, equity, and inclusion and to have a partner with a platform as large as GM to help us expand that message has been a gift. 

Milledge, who is an alumnus of Tuskegee University, voiced that GM inspires to be the most inclusive company which is a reason the partnership with HBCU makes sense. 

To close off the reception, GM issued a statement to the Atlanta Voice saying, “Our 2023 sponsorship of HBCU Week is a natural extension for us to lean into an organization that supports individuals and communities of color through their deeds and focus on developing a diverse pipeline of talent.”