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636054013875238980-TDABrd-07-14-2016-Advertiser-1-A008--2016-07-13-IMG-TDABrd-07-12-2016-Ad-1-1-G6EVRSHF-L844588934-IMG-TDABrd-07-12-2016-Ad-1-1-G6EVRSHF(The Advertiser) – After shootings and protests this month in Baton Rouge, Minnesota and Dallas intensified a national debate on race relations, policing and gun violence, leaders of historically black colleges and universities are uniting to help lead the conversation.

More than 30 sitting presidents of HBCUs, including one in Louisiana, signed an open letter last week calling for a reduction of gun violence.

Louisiana students are no strangers to this issue, especially in light of recent events. That’s why Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard University in New Orleans, added his name to the letter.

He pointed out that the state and New Orleans at times hold negative and violent titles, ones he can’t ignore.

“‘Incarceration capital’ and ‘murder capital’ — I can’t be a president of an institution in Louisiana and be blind to that,” Kimbrough said.

The letter published on HBCU Digest is impacting schools that haven’t signed it, such as Southern University and A&M College, about 10 minutes from where Alton Sterling was shot and killed by Baton Rouge police July 5.

William Broussard, assistant to the president for institutional advancement at Southern, is using the letter to spark dialogue with his African-American literature students this summer.

Read the full story here.

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