The foundation that was laid at last year's inaugural Black-Brown Conference will be built upon on Friday, Oct. 28, when Cal State San Bernardino brings back to campus about 350 African American and Latino ninth-grade young men for the second annual conference.
Designed to increase the number of African American and Latino males who enroll and graduate from college, the students, representing five Inland Empire school districts, will receive critical college information, get connected with CSUSB students and have the opportunity to talk about relevant issues facing young students today.
Colton, Fontana, Rialto, San Bernardino and Victorville school districts will be sending youths from about 20 schools to the free conference, which will be held at CSUSB's Santos Manuel Student Union Events Center from 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. The conference also will provide lunch for the students.
Raising the percentages of black and brown male students who graduate from high school and complete a college degree is vital for the social and economic prosperity of the area and the U.S., say 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 focuses on this 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.