WILMINGTON, DELAWARE – A fiery debate was ignited during Thursday night’s City Council meeting when mayoral candidate Velda Jones Potter leveled false allegations against HBCU Week, branding it as nothing more than a calculated marketing ploy and a political stunt. Potter’s live television appearance at the meeting not only raised eyebrows but also drew sharp criticism, including from her own supporters, in what some perceive as a “LOW” effort to rally support for her political campaign.
HBCU Week is an organization rooted in Wilmington, Delaware, and led by Ashley Christopher. HBCU Week is steadfast in its mission to provide educational opportunities to its constituents. It has made a significant impact by addressing the educational needs of more than 10,000 students in the Wilmington area this year alone. Since its inception, the organization has facilitated over 6,000 college acceptances for local students and distributed over $70 million in scholarships.
Ironically, Potter’s criticism appears to be aimed at the very constituency and families she seeks to win votes from. The stark contrast between HBCU Week’s track record in empowering young people and Potter’s own political career, marked by a lack of substantial efforts to create educational opportunities for local students, has not gone unnoticed.
Ashley Christopher, the organization’s founder and CEO, took to Instagram to express her concerns, stating, “Her misguided and ill-informed views only serve to hinder the progress of the city she aims to lead.”
Christopher also pointed out Potter’s involvement as City Treasurer and her role in the Foxtail scandal during her time in public office, raising questions about her commitment to the city’s welfare.
Potter’s attack on HBCU Week, an organization dedicated to empowering black and brown communities through education, further erodes her credibility, even among some of her own supporters in Wilmington.
Expressing her disappointment, Christopher also noted the silence of City Council members during and after Potter’s attack on HBCU Week, despite their previous invitation to acknowledge and celebrate the organization’s work.
Potter’s attempt to diminish a program that holds significant meaning for underserved communities in Wilmington and the wider HBCU community has not gone unnoticed. Furthermore, this controversy highlights the importance of political discourse rooted in facts and constructive dialogue, especially in the lead-up to the upcoming mayoral election.
City residents argue that Potter’s allegations were not just an attack on Mayor Mike Purzycki and his administration but also on recipients of HBCU scholarships. This divisive approach to campaigning has reached an all-time low.
As Wilmington grapples with pressing matters, many continue to celebrate the positive impact organizations like HBCU Week have on the lives of young people. The controversy serves as a reminder of the significance of responsible and well-informed leadership in the city’s political landscape.