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What's Happening: Educational Programs for Ramapough Lenape Students

From its inception, we at Beyond Clouds have maintained that our purpose is to continue and expand the work and mission of Muriyd 'Two Clouds' Williams. As an Afro Native Muslim who is an enrolled member of the Ramapough tribe, and whose fervent love had always been learning, he understood very well the importance of leveling the playing field for tribal youth. For decades Ramapough students have suffered at the hands of a racist school district which has caused many to drop out as early as middle school grades which helped lead to poor economic and social statuses.

Upon relocating to tribal land in Mahwah, NJ it did not take long for Two Clouds to realize something needed to be done in regard to the children's education then set out to do it. First on the agenda was to enroll himself in Ramapo College under the Ramapough scholarship which allowed one student annually to be accepted free of charge. The endowment had not been utilized in years so it was quite difficult to access. Two Clouds received lots of pushback from the school as well as tribal members who believed he was only there to swindle a free education. That was certainly not true. There were other (easier) options to getting a free schooling, but he was determined to reestablish the scholarship for tribal youth and show them that if he could go to college so could they. Thankfully, the son of the man who created the grant believed Two Clouds deserved it, agreed with his thoughts on restoring it for future students, and fought to have him accepted.

Secondly, when Two Clouds learned that a tenured professor was teaching racist and derogatory information about the Ramapough Lenape people, he moved and was successful in having her fired. He was raised to always work to change something that he saw was wrong, and he did so, for the students who would come after him- Native and otherwise.

Only a few people are aware of what Two Clouds was working towards for Ramapough youth. Now that he is no longer here, Beyond Clouds has taken charge in fulfilling his mission. It is with glee that I, his mother and founder and president of the organization, get to inform you that I had a very productive meeting with President Jeb of Ramapo college pertaining to educational and leadership programs I would like to partner with the college to implement. Thankfully, my son has an impeccable reputation and has worked closely with staff as a colleague over that past several years. Thus, Dr. Jeb and her team enthusiastically agreed to work with us. They were ecstatic to know that his mission is continuing through Beyond Clouds.

The following video will go a little more into detail about our first phase. As you will hear, all parents interested in having their children benefit from free tutoring sessions please send your information (your name, student's name, school, grade, subject for tutoring, phone number, and email address) via text, email, or social media:


Facebook Messenger: Beyond Clouds

YouTube: (not private) @beyondclouds6745

For any high schoolers (11th-12th grades) interested in dual enrollment with Ramapo College, talk with your guidance counselor. Remember, earning credit at Ramapo during high school does not mean you need to apply there upon graduation. Credits are transferable!

Resources from the video with links:

* Education prepares Native youth for active and equal participation in a global market, positive and evolved community members, and equips to become tribal leaders;

* their academic achievement and education attainment lags far behind that of white peers;

* over the past decade they have been the only group that has not improved in reading and mathematics

* “…the state of Native American students is distressing" and that...

When compared to white peers Native American students are:

* 2 to 3 grades lower in reading in mathematics;

* 237% more likely to drop out of school;

* 207% more likely to be expelled;

* For everyone hundred kindergartners seven will earn a BA compared to 34 whites;

* Native Americans have the lowest education attainment of any ratio ethnic group;

* High school dropout rate is doubles compared to the national average;

* High school graduation rate is 49.3% compared to 76.2% of whites;

* 13. 3% of Native Americans have BAs compared to 25% of the general population

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