What’s Next for Native American Scholarships
By MICHELLE BECKERT, Reuters and NICHOLAS JOHNSONAssociated PressAn African-American college student, a former high school football player and a retired military officer will all receive funding from the Smithsonian Institution in an initiative called the sequoias fund.
The fund, which is being funded by a $15 million donation from the Obama administration, is designed to encourage more African-Americans to pursue higher education and give them the opportunity to become the next generation of the nation’s first African-born Supreme Court justice.
It is part of an effort by President Donald Trump to expand the number of African- Americans in positions of public office, particularly at universities.
“It’s a great opportunity to provide more African Americans with a chance to be the next justice of the Supreme Court,” said Jennifer Taylor, director of the Smithsonian’s African American Institute.
“The African- American community is one of the most powerful in the country.
So, there is a tremendous amount of opportunity.”
Taylor said the money will be used to expand scholarships for students in African- and Southeast Asian-American communities, including the ones that are underrepresented in higher education.
The funds will also be used for outreach and education, she said.
“The sequoiam fund will be a platform to promote inclusion, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, especially in areas like law school, law school admissions and legal representation,” Taylor said in a statement.
The sequos will be among the first black justices to be appointed to the court, and they will represent the highest court in the land for nearly 200 years.
The funding will be part of a $3.9 billion plan to build a new Supreme Court building in the South.
Trump said he wanted to use the money to create “a truly inclusive court” and improve the judiciary’s ability to serve African-America.
“We’re going to make the court the most diverse in history, and that’s going to be accomplished by creating a truly inclusive institution where African Americans are not the minority, they’re not the majority, they are not just the third-generation, they will be the majority,” Trump said at a news conference.
“So, we’re going create a court that will reflect the needs of African Americans, that will be built on the values that I’ve put in place,” he said.
The Supreme Court is a lawmaking body that is the highest federal court in America.
The court hears cases and rules on the constitutionality of laws.
Trump, who was elected to a second term in November, has said he is intent on using the funds to create a more inclusive court.
“I will not be using any funds from this fund to support any candidate or candidate group that supports the candidate,” he told reporters at a Capitol news conference on Friday.
Trump has been criticized by the NAACP for not using the fund to hire more black justices.
The Obama administration will also provide $3 million to the Smithsonian to create an office that will serve as a platform for African- americans to be heard in high-profile cases.
Taylor said it was important for African Americans to be represented on the Supreme and that the institution should be the one that gets to pick the next president.
“These funds will be utilized to expand our capacity to provide a voice to African Americans on the Court and on other federal appellate courts and judicial decisions,” Taylor told Reuters.
The $3 billion will also help expand scholarships and other educational opportunities for African American students at historically black colleges and universities.