Celebrate Black excellence by voting for your favorite nominees by Feb. 24! VOTE NOW
Americans now hold over $1.7 trillion in outstanding student loan debt, with women accounting for two-thirds of all outstanding student loans. Black women take on the most substantial debt burden with an average of more than $41,400. We are bringing together Black borrowers, organizers, experts, and elected officials to make clear why the student debt crisis must end.
Learn more about the student debt relief application and what you need in order to take advantage of this opportunity.
Correspondent, CBS News
Correspondent, CBS News
Jericka Duncan is a national correspondent and anchor of the Sunday edition of the "CBS Weekend News." She's based in New York City.
Duncan, who has been a CBS News correspondent since 2013, has reported such significant stories as accusations against R Kelly, Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein; the shooting deaths of four Marines and a Navy sailor in Chattanooga; the 70th anniversary of D-Day and Normandy; as well as a variety of national breaking news stories. In 2018, she spent time in Washington D.C. covering the White House.
Most recently, Duncan reported from Pennsylvania for the 2020 presidential election and interviewed the mother of Breonna Taylor, including breaking the news to the CBS audience that no one would be charged directly with Taylor's death. She also was one of the first network correspondents on the ground in Alabama to cover the passage of that state's most restrictive abortion bill since Roe v. Wade. In 2018, she spent time in Washington D.C. covering the White House. Duncan has also reported a variety of national breaking news stories that have taken her outside of the United States.
Duncan is an Emmy-nominated journalist who has received several awards for her reporting, including two National Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association and honors from the Associated Press and the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, which named her Journalist of the Year in 2012.
Before joining CBS News, Duncan spent three years at KYW, the CBS-owned TV station in Philadelphia. At KYW, she earned first place from the Associated Press for a series of reports on disabled adults who were held captive in a Social Security scam. Duncan also covered Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Before that, Duncan was a reporter for WIVB (CBS) in Buffalo, N.Y., from 2007 to 2010. While there, she received a local Emmy Award in the best morning show category for her winter storm coverage in 2008. In 2009, she was one of the first reporters at the scene of a plane crash near Buffalo that killed 50 people. Her coverage contributed to the station winning two national Edward M. Murrow Awards. She began her career in 2005 in nearby Elmira, N.Y., where she covered the search for Ralph "Bucky" Phillips — the longest manhunt for a fugitive in state history. Duncan received a New York State Broadcasters Association Award for Best Spot News Coverage in 2007.
Duncan graduated from Ohio University in 2005 with a degree in communications. She recently received a Juris Master in American Legal Studies from Liberty University. Duncan is a 2005 NAACP Image Award recipient. In 2006, she was a fellow at a North Carolina A&T conference on childhood obesity.
Duncan is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and has volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Boys and Girls Club and the Black Leadership Commission on AIDS. In her spare time, she enjoys running, reading and spending time with her family.
Secretary of Education
Secretary of Education
Dr. Miguel A. Cardona was sworn in as the 12th Secretary of Education on March 2nd, 2021.
Secretary Cardona previously served as the Commissioner of Education in Connecticut, a position he held after being appointed by Governor Ned Lamont in August 2019. In this position, he faced the unprecedented challenge of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and led the safe school reopening efforts in Connecticut. To do so, Secretary Cardona and his Department provided school districts with the balance of guidance, local autonomy, and oversight needed to ensure equitable and meaningful educational opportunities for students while also prioritizing public health mitigation measures. Secretary Cardona and the State of Connecticut focused on equity by arranging for student access to technology to support remote learning, helping the state become the first in the nation to provide learning devices to fulfill the identified need for all students. Recognizing the increased importance of providing resources for the social-emotional health of students and staff, Secretary Cardona and his team collaborated with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and other stakeholders to provide free social and emotional learning courses.
Secretary Cardona's approach to leadership in Connecticut focused on partnerships: within his Education Department; between State agencies; and with local boards, educator unions, school administrator associations, child advocates, and most importantly, students and families. He attributes his success in Connecticut in part to the strong backing of those partners, as well as support from the members of the Connecticut State Board of Education and his staff at the Connecticut State Department of Education.
Under Secretary Cardona's oversight — despite the pandemic — Connecticut launched a statewide FAFSA Data Dashboard; procured a comprehensive statewide Special Education Data System (CT-SEDS); announced the State's highest ever extended graduation rates for students with disabilities and English Learners; reached a new stipulated agreement in the landmark school integration case Sheff v. O'Neill, established the first national requirement for high schools provide courses on black and Latino studies; and initiated systemic improvement protocols that can reach every corner of the state. His focus on equity and excellence for all learners has driven his work at all levels.
Secretary Cardona has two decades of experience as a public school educator from the City of Meriden. He began his career as an elementary teacher. He then served as a school principal in Meriden in 2003 where he led a school with outstanding programming for three to five-year-olds, students that were bilingual, and students with sensory exceptionalities. He proudly served in this role for ten years. In 2012, Miguel won the 2012 National Distinguished Principal Award for the State of CT and the Outstanding Administrator Award from UCONN's NEAG School of Education. Secretary Cardona then transitioned to lead the work of Performance and Evaluation in the district. He then assumed the role of Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, overseeing teaching, learning, and leadership alignment.
A lifelong Meriden resident, Dr. Cardona attended Meriden Connecticut Public Schools and graduated from Wilcox Technical High School. He attended CCSU for his Bachelor's degree and UCONN where he completed a Master's in Bilingual/Bicultural Education, Administrator Preparation Program, Doctorate in Education, and Executive Leadership Program (Superintendent) Certificate. Secretary Cardona is very active in his community, serving on several non-profit charitable organization boards of directors. He has had several articles published in AASPA Perspective, National School Boards Association, District Administration, and the Scholars Strategy Network.
His greatest source of pride, however, is his family. Secretary Cardona and his beautiful wife Marissa are the proud parents of two children.
President and CEO
President and CEO
Derrick Johnson serves as President and CEO of the NAACP, a title he has held since October of 2017. President Johnson formerly served as vice chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors, as well as state president for the Mississippi State Conference NAACP. A longstanding member and leader of the NAACP, Mr. Johnson has helped guide the Association through a period of re-envisioning and reinvigoration.
Under President Johnson's leadership, the NAACP has undertaken such efforts as the 2018 "Log Out" Facebook Campaign, pressuring Facebook after reports of Russian hackers targeting African Americans, the Jamestown to Jamestown Partnership, marking the 400th year enslaved Africans first touched the shores of America, and the 2020 We are Done Dying Campaign, exposing the inequities embedded into the American healthcare system and the country at large.
As the Biden Administration took office in 2021, President Johnson led the charge in calling for a Cabinet-level position focused squarely on advancing our nation's longstanding issue of racial justice. President Biden signed an Executive Order establishing an interagency effort to eliminate systemic racial barriers and ensuring federal policies are rooted in equity, optimizing the well-being of all in public policies.
The height of the NAACP is yet to be seen. It is our opportunity to seize upon our collective energy to make democracy work for our future. There will always be tools and devices, whether it's technology or otherwise that we can leverage and use, but there is no greater tool or device than the collective whole working in unison towards a goal of securing civil rights for our future generations.
President Johnson also continues to be on the frontlines on some of the most pressing civil rights issues of our time, calling out Virginia Governor Ralph Northam for his use of Blackface, condemning the burning of Black churches in Tennessee and Louisiana, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in opposition to Attorney General William Barr's nomination, and overseeing the NAACP's vote to impeach President Donald J. Trump at the 110th National Convention in Detroit.
President Johnson elevated the Association's visibility and voice as we called for a national response to the coronavirus pandemic that was informed by existing racial disparities in health care outcomes, access, coverage and services, as well as the disparate impact of COVID-19 on African Americans and other people of color.
Recognizing the critical importance of quality health care, he has long advocated for expanded Medicaid eligibility, affordable health insurance options, and investment in community-based health care infrastructure through a strong network of equitably-located, well-resourced community health centers.
Born in Detroit, Mr. Johnson attended Tougaloo College in Jackson, MS. He then received his JD from the South Texas College of Law in Houston, TX. Mr. Johnson has also furthered his training through fellowships with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the George Washington University School of Political Management, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has served as an annual guest lecturer at Harvard Law School, lending his expertise to Professor Lani Guinier's course on social movements, and as an adjunct professor at Tougaloo College.
Mr. Johnson is a veteran activist who has dedicated his career to defending the rights and improving the lives of Mississippians. As State President of the NAACP Mississippi State Conference, he led critical campaigns for voting rights and equitable education. He successfully managed two bond referendum campaigns in Jackson, MS that brought $150 million in school building improvements and $65 million towards the construction of a new convention center, respectively. As a regional organizer at the Jackson-based non-profit, Southern Echo, Inc., Mr. Johnson provided legal, technical, and training support for communities across the South.
President Johnson is frequently featured on CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC and many others, advocating on behalf of the Black community and all those who are affected by systemic oppression and prejudice.
Join the Conversation
The student debt relief application is now open! Leaders will discuss and take your questions on the debt relief plan, eligibility, application process, financial empowerment, and more.
Join us as we discuss:
- Campaign to cancel student debt
- Closing the economic wealth gap
- Biden-Harris plan, $10,000 of student debt relief for all borrowers who earn less than $125,000 annually and $20,000 for borrowers who received a Pell Grant in college
- Launch of debt relief application, the application process, next steps
- Impact on student financial burdens
- Financial literacy, financial empowerment
- Debt relief as economic stimulus