Taraji P. Henson wants to bring mental health resources to every HBCU

Taraji P. Henson is a proud graduate of Howard University. She has spoken to her alma mater numerous times and the school recently announced that the famous actress will deliver the 2022 commencement address for graduates in May.

Next month, the White House Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will be sworn in. Henson is one of 20 members selected to the board, which is made up of presidents, HBCU executives, NBA star Chris Paul, and students.

In a new interview with theGrio’s April Ryan, Henson discussed her role on the advisory board and how she plans to help HBCUs move forward.

The “Empire” actress who is currently working on a musical adaptation of The purple color said it was an “honour” to be asked to serve on the board and that she takes her role seriously.

“I think because they see that I’m a product of an HBCU and my activism in the community, I guess that combination looked like someone who would want to be on the board, and I’m HBCU from the bottom of my heart,” Henson said.

“I want to bring student voices to the table…I’m here as a liaison,” she added.

Dr. Glenda Glover, vice chair of the White House HBCU Advisory Board, told the Grio why Henson will be a critical member of the board.

“She has access to pockets of our society and influence that will help the council’s efforts to advance and promote educational equity, HBCU excellence, and economic opportunity for graduates and Black Americans in their whole,” Dr. Glover said.

The White House Advisory Council on HBCUs was created by an executive order of President Jimmy Carter in 1980. The council is meant to increase HBCUs’ ability to provide the highest quality education to its students and continue to serve as engines of opportunity, according to the White House.

Henson plans to help HBCU students with their mental health, a subject that she has become increasingly passionate about in recent years.

“Mental health is very important…I’m going to make sure we have the resources we need on every HBCU campus,” she told Ryan. “And we need those resources. And now we see why these resources are very important. And it’s deeper than just advising.

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