One year ago these African American and Latino young men were eighth graders, most of them visiting Cal State San Bernardino for the first time to learn about the importance of a college education, how it could help them in their lives at the inaugural Black-Brown Conference.
On Friday, Oct. 28, most of them returned now as high school freshmen for the second annual Black-Brown Conference, which was designed to increase the number of African American and Latino males who enroll and graduate from college.
As they got off buses that brought them to campus, they were greeted with high fives, cheers and handshakes by a “Coyote Mob” of CSUSB faculty and staff who had formed a line from the flagpole at the front of the university along the walkway to the Santos Manuel Student Union, where the conference was held.
The students came from about 20 schools from Colton Unified, Fontana, Rialto, San Bernardino and Victorville school districts for the free conference receiving vital information about what they would need to attend college, meet and talk with CSUSB students, and have the opportunity to talk about relevant issues facing young students today.
Raising the percentages of black and brown male students who graduate from high school and complete a college degree is crucial for the social and economic prosperity of the area and the U.S., according to the conference organizers.
Only 21 percent of black males and 25 percent of Latino males graduated from high school two years ago in San Bernardino County having met the A-G requirements. At the same time, young black females graduated high school at a rate of 31 percent, Latina females at 33 percent, white males 33 percent and white females 43 percent having taken more challenging courses and being better prepared to attend college.
The National Center for Education Statistics has reported that only 12.4 percent of Latino men and 20.8 percent of black men ages 25-29 have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 37.7 percent of white men.
The conference focused on these ninth graders because early college awareness and access is critical to improving college enrollment and degree completion for historically underrepresented students. In ninth grade, said Olivia Rosas, CSUSB associate vice president for enrollment management, students are pondering the college prep courses they need to enroll at a university.
CSUSB is nationally recognized for its leadership role in changing the face of U.S. higher education. A reflection of the region’s dynamic diversity, CSUSB, which has the most diverse student population of any university in the Inland Empire, and the second-highest African American and Latino enrollments of all public universities in California, is considered a model of access and excellence in higher education.
For more information about the Black and Brown Conference, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also view the online slide show, “2016 Black and Brown Conference.”