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New VSU program aims to create pipeline for more African American leaders

"We know that there is a need for more black leadership."
Posted at 12:45 PM, Oct 14, 2020

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Virginia State University announced the creation of a new program aimed at bringing more African American leadership to the Commonwealth Wednesday.

It's called the John Mercer Langston Institute for African American Political Leadership (JMLI).

Wes Bellamy, VSU Political Science Department Chair, said the plan was to create a pipeline for more African American leaders though training, networking, and research.

He said this would kick off with a poll called the 'Black Virginia Voters Poll' to find out the feelings and perceptions about the current electoral process along with any improvements needed in the state.

Results from that poll were set to be released before the presidential election.

Then in February, Bellamy said they plan to kick off the institute -- bringing in their first cohort of about about 25 African American students interested in politics. Those students would then learn about how to run for office and serve effectively.

"We know that there is a need for more black leadership," said Bellamy. "Whether that’s in elected office, policy makers, and so forth. And Virginia State will just be home to this institute."

"As we look at the current political climate, it is imperative that clear avenues for Black political development are available," said VSU President, Dr. Makola M. Abdullah.

Those who want to participate in the poll can access it on the VSU website.

Registration for the institute was set to be available in December.

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