The Atlanta Hawks will host their third annual HBCU Night presented by Chase on Wednesday, Feb. 24, at the award-winning State Farm Arena. The team dedicates this night to celebrating the educational excellence and unique culture of the more than 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), originally founded as institutions of higher learning for African Americans, and the Black Greek Letter Organizations of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, collectively referred to as the Divine Nine (D9). The game against the Boston Celtics, tipping off at 7:30 p.m., is the team’s final Unity Night of the first half of the season and will feature the Hawks MLK Nike City Edition uniforms and matching court.
“The Atlanta Hawks are thrilled to highlight the legacy and influence of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the Black Greek Letter Organizations of the Divine Nine in Atlanta and throughout the world,” said Camye Mackey Chief People, Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the Hawks and State Farm Arena. “The wealth and breadth of talent from these important institutions have made huge contributions to our staff, business partners, and community, those deserve to be celebrated as a part of our rich culture.”
With the reduced number of fans able to attend games due to the ongoing pandemic, the Hawks have expanded their recognition of HBCUs and the D9 to several virtual platforms. On Monday, Feb. 22 the Hawks will host a chat on Clubhouse at 9 p.m. The room moderator, multi-media personality Rashan Ali, will guide the conversation focusing on stories from room participants about their decisions to attend an HBCU or join a D9 group. Clubhouse is the newest and most talked about social media network, based on a podcast-like format where participants can talk, listen, and learn about a variety of subjects with users from around the world.
Just prior to the start of the game on the Wednesday, the Hawks will host a Zoom panel with several HBCU alumni and D9 members around “Entrepreneurship in the Time of COVID”. This virtual discussion will on focus on creating and adapting independent business strategies in the midst of the pandemic. This panel, also moderated by Ali will feature the following:
· Comedian and social media influencer, Vena “Pretty Vee” Excell
· Head of Google for Startups, Jewel Burks Solomon
· Chase VP of Minority Entrepreneurs, Rashida Winfrey and
· CEO and President of the Russell Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (RCIE), Jay Bailey.
This discussion is part of the Hawks on-going focus on economic equity for the Black community supported through several financial commitments from the team led by principal owners Tony Ressler and Jami Gertz. In October 2020, the team announced both a $5 million contribution to RCIE, the largest non-profit center for Black entrepreneurs in the nation, from the Ressler Gertz Family Foundation, as well as the donation of proceeds from the sale of its MLK City Edition jersey back into economic empowerment programs for communities of color in Atlanta. In December, the Hawks refinanced the $35 million construction loan on its state-of-the-art practice facility with a consortium of Black-owned banks in a history-making agreement, a first for any major league sports team.
After the game, fans can join the Hawks official in-arena DJ Big Tigger on his Instagram page @biggtiggershow for a live virtual dance party.
For more information on how to register for the pregame panel please visit Hawks.com/HBCU