Texas Rising Hosts HBCU Empowerment Summit, Uplifts Black Organizing

Texas Rising brought together student activists for the first HBCU Empowerment Summit this Saturday

April 22, 2024

CONTACT: Emily Witt (she/hers), [email protected]

HOUSTON – Texas Rising, a leading statewide grassroots organization focused on mobilizing young Texans and Texans of color, Saturday brought together student activists for the first HBCU Empowerment Summit.

The event provided an inclusive platform for college-age students to build connections, enhance organizing skills, and generate positive change within the Black community in Texas and beyond. The summit was held at Texas Southern University, one of America’s ten largest historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). 

“We have Black and Brown organizers to thank for every inch of social progress made in this country, from Civil Rights to the creation of reproductive justice frameworks. For over a century, HBCUs have been foundations for activism and countless grassroots movements. I am so grateful and beyond blessed to be able to use my resources to bring my Black community together for collective organizing and civic engagement,” said Gracie Israel Texas Rising Regional Program Coordinator for North Houston, College Station, and Prairie View (she/her). “Our goal is to provide platforms and opportunities for dialogue, collaboration, and action to strengthen our social bonds and drive meaningful change in our society. We envision a future where every member of our Black community feels empowered to contribute to the collective well-being and prosperity. There is power in numbers!”

To deepen participants’ understanding and inspire activism, a knowledgeable facilitator delved into the rich history and origins of HBCUs and the context of organizing in Texas. This exploration of heritage fostered a sense of pride and purpose among attendees. 

Speakers included Dr. Karla D. Brown (she/her), a dedicated educator and advocate from the Houston community with three decades of experience, and leader of The Providence on Southmore, Inc., a nonprofit supporting student graduation and promoting civic engagement, and Tanisha Manning (she/her), a community leader, advocate, proud native of Houston’s Sunnyside neighborhood, and founder and executive director of Engaged Voters, a nonpartisan nonprofit based in Houston.

Furthermore, a dedicated session explored the practical applications of Texas Rising in advancing Black organizing within the state. Participants strategized leveraging this resource to unify and amplify their collective advocacy efforts, fostering a united and impactful front. The HBCU Empowerment Summit’s carefully curated sessions and activities inspired, educated, and equipped attendees to actively contribute to the advancement of Black organizing within Texas and beyond.


Texas Rising, a project of the Texas Freedom Network, builds the power of a rising generation of young Texans, with an emphasis on communities of color, by advocating for change in the cities and towns where they live and at the ballot box. To learn more, visit txrising.org.