While it’s great to see all of the high-resolution pictures of videos of these graduates, it’s also important to remember why African-American graduates are important.
1. They show us that opportunities are endless
Graduation brings about times of reflection. A lot can be done during a college career, and African American graduates model that there are no limits. From internships, study abroad programs, organizations, and jobs, melanin graduates have done it all while maintaining their academic work.
They’re also the same people who are securing serious bags post graduation. They’re going to graduate school, medical school, law school or starting their career.
2. They demonstrate the power of being unstoppable
This graduation season has been slightly different, due to the fact that some graduates have been stopped from celebrating their accomplishments. The University of Florida, was recently in the news for yanking African-American graduates off stage due to them dancing after receiving their diplomas. It was reported that 21 African-American graduates, celebrated their accomplishments by doing a fraternity or sorority stroll, or other celebratory dance.
One of the graduates said that he had never been handled in a forceful manner; not even by his own parents. Another African-American student, believes that they were handled in that manner because of their race, due to the fact that other non-black students were not treated the same way. The university president later apologized at another commencement, but some of the students believe the apology isn’t enough.
Although the university’s actions were terrible, this isn’t enough to stop these graduates from being successful. This will only fuel them to be change agents, and ensure other students will not be penalized for celebrating major milestones.
3. They model a revolving door affect
A social media picture, or video may be small to some, but it can go a long way. Think of the people who see these posts and are inspired to believe in themselves, because they see themselves in other graduates. This means that others will be motivated to work for the competitive scholarship, to apply to their dream school or job, and to major in a subject that others say is too hard.
For example, Ieshia Champs, a single mother of five, has gone viral for finishing law school and graduating magna cum laude from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Champs posted a graduation picture of herself holding a sign saying “I Did It,” and her children in the background holding similar signs saying that they helped.
Champs’ photo serves a deep meaning. This shows that her children and other children, teens and young adults will know that their possibilities are endless, and adults will know that anything is possible no matter their age or their stage of life.
These graduates exemplify that African-Americans are capable, confident, intelligent, strong, risk-taking, trendsetters, go-getters, and history makers. There’s nothing we can’t do.