Public service is at the heart of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.'s core values, and the organization's Jackson Alumnae Chapter is embarking on a mission to assist Mississippi's HBCU students.

The chapter recently gathered the presidents of the state's 4-year HBCUs—Jackson State, Rust College, Alcorn State, Tougaloo College, and Mississippi Valley State—to launch a fundraising scholarship. Mississippi's 2-year HBCUs, Coahoma Community College, and Hinds Community College, are not involved in the fundraiser.

The campaign, dubbed "When They See Us: HBCUs," is taking place from mid-January to the end of May, and the Jackson-based Deltas are endeavoring to raise $100,000 for the five involved HBCUs.

"HBCUs serve such a high purpose in our community," Gwen Handy, the president of Delta Sigma Theta's Jackson Chapter, said. [The campaign] will impact students. It will allow scholarships for those high school seniors who are trying to attend an HBCU. It would also help those students who are currently attending HBCUs continue their education."

"It's rare, believe it or not, that all of the [4-year] state HBCUs are together in a specific forum," Jackson State University President Thomas Hudson added.

Hudson also said that despite differences and even rivalries between some HBCUs, they all share the same common goal: fostering Black excellence.

"We're different. We have different interests. We have different missions, but we all have the same overall, overarching mission, and that's to help educate African Americans and to really bring about equality in this state and the United States," he said. "It's wonderful to get that recognition that HBCUs deserve."

"We've been here for a long time educating students [and] really being that bright light in the community," he continued.

The campaign, which just launched less than two weeks ago, has raised over $7,000 of its $100,000 goal. Donations are being accepted through May 31st.