with Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund
Posted Nov 14, 2017
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By 2020, it's estimated that 65 percent of jobs will require a post-secondary degree or certificate. Only 13.8 percent of American Indians have a bachelor's degree or higher. With 40 percent of this population at college age or younger, there is a need for strong support systems to further academic and professional success. Tribal colleges are working to raise college graduation rates while promoting the teaching and preservation of Native American languages and culture. A conversation with Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund.
Interview recorded October 11, 2017.
Traynham: Currently, only 13.8% of American Indians hold a college degree. That´s less than half the national average. Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Comcast Newsmakers." I´m Robert Traynham. Joining me is Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and C.E.O. of the American Indian College Fund. Cheryl, welcome to the program.
Crazy Bull: Thank you.
Traynham: So good to have you with us. Let´s start, first and foremost, what is a tribal college?
Crazy Bull: Well, tribal colleges are post-secondary institutions established by tribes in order to provide higher education to people in their communities, run by their communities.
Traynham: And about how many are there?
Crazy Bull: Currently, there are 36 that are members of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium.
Traynham: And are most college -- tribal colleges on reservations? Are they two-year, four-year, all of the above?
Crazy Bull: They´re all of the above, and the vast majority of them are located on or near Indian reservations.
Traynham: Cheryl, as I mentioned a few moments ago, unfortunately, only about 13.8% of American Indians hold a college degree. Why is the number so low?
Crazy Bull: Well, American Indians face a lot of obstacles in attempting to go to college. Oftentimes, the institutions are not very welcoming, in terms of the identity and culture of American Indians. They´re overcoming real tremendous socioeconomic barriers to getting into education. Transportation, family needs, a lack of financial resources are also obstacles.
Traynham: So let´s talk about how do we achieve parity when we´re having this conversation. What are some of the steps and programs that you´re working on to perhaps raise this number from 13.8% to 99.9%?
Crazy Bull: Yeah, well, we´d definitely like to see that number increase dramatically. At the American Indian College Fund, we support that by providing students with the kinds of support systems that they need, both to succeed in college and also to succeed in whatever career aspirations they have.
Traynham: Can I pause there for a second? I mean, just speaking on behalf of myself, who went to an HBCU, an Historically Black College or University, that experience, the immersion experience and learning about the African-American community, actually, quite frankly, being around folks that looked like me, people encouraging me to fill out the application and so forth, that support structure was, for me, at least, so very important, nurturing, encouraging, sometimes pushing, sometimes pulling me in the right direction. Is it the same with tribal colleges?
Crazy Bull: I would say it´s the same. Tribal colleges do that very thing. They help students see that college is actually something that they can aspire to, and we provide that kind of support at an earlier age. They also provide students with cultural experiences, really reinforce the tribal identity of students, recognize that, as indigenous peoples, our lives are about our kinship and our relationships with each other, so tribal colleges and the work of the College Fund support that kind of experience for the students.
Traynham: And I want to speak for a few moments about the financial aspects of the support that you give. Are they full scholarships, partial scholarships? What does that look like?
Crazy Bull: The vast majority of our scholarships are partial scholarships. We´re able to serve over 4,000 students, which is about 20% of the number of students that are enrolled at tribal colleges. And our scholarships range from $250 to $5,000. We have a few $10,000 and above scholarships.
Traynham: Part Two with Cheryl Crazy Bull is up next. Click the link below to learn more about the efforts to boost access to higher education with the Native American community.
The LGBTQ fight for equal rights became organized in 1969, after the riots at New York City's Stonewall Inn. LGBTQ civil rights activist and author Mark Segal has been involved in the movement from its beginning. Mark joins Robert Traynham for a candid and intimate discussion about his life, his role in the fight for equality, and the state of LGBTQ rights across America and around the globe. Mark is the publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News. Interview recorded on May 17, 2017.
The Asian American Pacific Islander community makes up six percent of the U.S. population, but is growing more than four times as rapidly as the total U.S. population. Asians are the largest group of immigrants to enter the U.S. as immigrants. A conversation with Janelle Wong, Senior Researcher at AAPI Data about the fastest-growing but one of the understudied racial groups in the United States.
The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will be hosted this summer in Seattle, with more than 4,000 athletes and coaches representing 50 states and the District of Columbia. Jason Schriml of the Special Olympics USA Games discussed the impact the games and this organization that highlights athletes with intellectual disabilities through highly competitive sports, uplifting experiences, and demonstrating inclusion for all.
Preparations are underway for the 2020 United States Census. A fair and accurate count of all communities is of major importance, as data gathered is used to determine federal funding, congressional representation and more. For some populations, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the process can be of concern due to immigration status, language barriers and fear of providing personal information. John Yang, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC joins Robert Traynham to discuss the importance of an accurate count, especially for the AAPI population in America.
Filipino Americans make up the third largest subgroup of Asian Americans today, with millennials comprising nearly a quarter of this population. And while there about 4 million Filipino and Filipino Americans living in the U.S today, this population is underrepresented in political and leadership roles. Brendan Flores, National Chairman of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations joins Robert Traynam to discuss the welfare and well-being of Filipino Americans and efforts to strengthen the personal and professional development of young Filipino Americans.
According to the Pew Research Center, the U.S. Asian population increased 72 percent between 2000 and 2015, resulting in the fastest growth rate of any major racial or ethnic group. And as this population continues to grow, there remains a lack of involvement in politics and corporate leadership positions. Kendall Kosai, Deputy Director at OCA National discussed programs designed to help high school students explore their identity, and encourage them to become future community leaders.
By 2020, it's estimated that 65 percent of jobs will require a post-secondary degree or certificate. Only 13.8 percent of American Indians have a bachelor's degree or higher. With 40 percent of this population at college age or younger, there is a need for strong support systems to further academic and professional success. Tribal colleges are working to raise college graduation rates while promoting the teaching and preservation of Native American languages and culture. A conversation with Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund. Click here for part 1 of Native Amer Education and Culture.
All parents want their children to excel in school academically, but many aren't able to afford expensive school supplies for them to do so. This becomes an even greater issue for students entering middle and high school, quickly approaching college application season. Henry Saxon joins Robert Traynham for an intimate discussion on the how the Boys and Girls Club of America is providing students with quality school supplies.
Henry Saxon joins Robert Traynham for a discussion on the how the Boys and Girls Club of America is helping families provide students with quality school supplies.
Interview Recorded June 14, 2017. Hosted by Robert Traynham.
Read a partial transcript of this interview below:
Traynham: This fall as elementary school students head back to class, parents can spend up to $200 per child on school supplies. For parents of middle and high school students, that figure jumps to more than $330. For families struggling to make ends meet, these costs can be out of reach. Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Comcast Newsmakers." I'm Robert Traynham, and joining me is Henry Saxon, director of organizational development for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Welcome to the program, Henry.
Saxon: Thank you, Robert.
Traynham: You know, I'm pausing for a second here because I just -- When I say those type things and read those stats, it's really depressing that there are some parents out there that really can... look, write a check, and whatever their child needs or children need, they can make it happen. For others, who are living paycheck to paycheck, folks that are struggling between literally food, medicine, the mortgage, car payment, and school supplies, it's a bit of a struggle. How pervasive is this problem?
Saxon: Well, thank you for your question. And it is very concerning to all of us and certainly at Boys & Girls Clubs of America, where we have nearly 4 million kids who faithfully come to our clubs each and every day. Many of them are in the demographics that you just described, so... But what's more troubling is, without those critical resources that you cited, young people have a tendency to fall behind if they're not adequately prepared at the start of the school year. And we all know the implications of not having adequate preparation, and they fall behind in some of the things that impact them, particularly academically.
Traynham:?The parent who is struggling -- they're probably saying to themselves, "I want my child to do well, but I cannot afford this. And I want my child to soar academically." And they're crying out for help. What can they do? How can they turn to perhaps the Boys & Girls Club of America for help?
Saxon: Well, one of the things that we're focusing on is we've just launched an after-school initiative called Back2School, and this is where we're having really a call to action, quite honestly, to the public to go to our website, bgca.com, and look at supporting young people by donating after-school supplies and resources so we can distribute them at our nearly 4,000 Club houses across the country. That's one start where we can get critical resources to the kids that you're talking about.
Traynham:And, Henry, for the folks that are watching this program either on their smart device or perhaps at home, what does those school supplies look like? Is it just as simple as a pen? Is it a laptop? Are there books? I mean, what is it?
Saxon:They're reference materials, paper products, pens, calculators, reading materials, dictionaries, reference materials, as I mentioned -- "A" to "Z." If we're fortunate enough to take things like laptops, we'll certainly get those and accept those as well, but our website has all of that information and some of the things that we advise you to provide for us.
As the youngest minority group in America, the Latino community faces many challenges, including language and cultural barriers. Adult mentors who understand the unique culture and needs of Latino youth provide living examples of how to successfully bridge two seemingly different cultures.
John Sanchez joins Robert Traynham in discussing the ways in which Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is working with the Latino community through heavy involvement in mentoring.
Interview recorded June 14, 2017.
The AANHPI community is the fastest growing population in the U.S. with immigration playing a significant role. However, Asian Americans are not well-represented in public service positions. Victoria Tran, chair of the Board of Directors for the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership discusses efforts to empower Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) youth by increasing access to public service opportunities and building a strong AANHPI public service pipeline.