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NSU Alumnus Sparks Online Campaign to Join NSUAA

by Doris Shadouh -

LinwoodJohnson-(2).jpgNSU alumnus Linwood Johnson ‘11 joined millions of other Americans who took to the streets this spring to protest against racial injustice and police brutality after the tragic death of George Floyd.

Floyd’s fatal encounter with four police officers from Minneapolis was captured on camera sparking weeks of civil unrest in America and all over the world. After spending several days protesting, Johnson still wanted to do more to make a positive impact on his community.

He logged onto his Twitter account and someone asked him an important question.

“Everybody said what’s the plan? What are we going to do?” says Johnson.

He realized that helping his community started with a simple yet powerful action: becoming a member of the Norfolk State Alumni Association.

"The past few days I've felt a lot of emotions," Johnson wrote on social media. "I have been protesting every day, but I knew it was more I could do. I can't be out here fighting for black and brown people without doing my part. As an HBCU alumnus, I was a hypocrite for standing up for justics and not even donating to my university. So I simply paid $25 and joined."

Not only did he sign up for himself, he also reached out to others in the HBCU community and asked them to join him.

“The campaign started simply by me joining and asking my friends to join as well. Shayla Schaefer, a former SGA president, was the first to contribute. I wrote why I did it and posted it to Instagram. I thought about all of my successful and influential NSU alumni and called or messaged them. Everyone said yes. I think our school is underrated yet always at the forefront of change,” says Johnson.

So far, Johnson has been able to encourage over 60 members of the alumni community to sign up and he’s not stopping there. His social campaign to support HBCUs has spread beyond the borders of the NSU alumni community and other schools have also adopted his campaign. 

This is not the first time he has created a buzz around campus. Johnson, who studied mass communications as a student at NSU, was very active in the NSU Student Government Association, served as campus director in 2008 for Barack Obama's Presidential Campaign, and he was also a student ambassador. Now he wants his former classmates to take the lead in supporting and elevating HBCUs.

“I think my generation at the school is going to change the way people look at HBCU alumni,” says Johnson.

Johnson, who also works in education, credits his NSU network for helping him early in his career. Before COVID-19 impacted industries all over the world, he was helping high school seniors secure scholarships to attend college. Now he is doing his part to help students at Norfolk State by empowering other alumni to support NSU.

“That’s just one thing that I can do. I want to show people that they can do something,” says Johnson. “This moment in America is the perfect time for movements like this.”

If you would like to join the challenge to become a member of the NSUAA, please click here