Howard University, Obama, and the significance of the “cap and gown” for black millenials

Yes, Howard University’s had Obama as a keynote Speaker, but here is something more significant… We come in all shapes and sizes, some big and…

Yes, Howard University’s had Obama as a keynote Speaker, but here is something more significant…

We come in all shapes and sizes, some big and some small. We all consist of different characteristics and traits. Each and every one of us also comes from different cities, states, and even different countries. Every decade, year, month, week, and day, history is made, and once again a special moment marks it place in the history books. This is not another “A list” music artist coming out with a new album, nor is it a big movie star showing up to the premiere of a new action film. This isn’t Kate Upton once again posing in front of the camera, nor is it Kevin Hart doing stand-up, but it is truly something more than all of that. This is a moment that we all must shed the light on, as well as take the time to look at and embrace.


As of Saturday, May 7th of 2016, Howard University would congratulate more than 1,300 who took the time to put on their caps and gowns, and walk up the stage to receive their bachelor’s degrees, along with 300 who receives their master’s, over 100 who would receive their Ph.Ds., and 400 who would receive their professional degrees in law, medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy. Who would have ever thought out of the 96 who are Doctor of Pharmacy graduates, the very country of Nigeria would be home to 43 of them. You heard that right. The country of Nigeria serving as home to millions, and it is this day when 43 of them would graduate. Handsome and beautiful in every way, kind hearted, inspiring, intelligent, influential, and just absolutely incredible people would this very day  walk up that stage with the rest of their classmates and peers, to mark a very important moment that would change their lives. When each of these intelligent individuals takes the time to look at their degrees, whether in social work, history, political science, pharmacy, if there is one thing they all have in common, it’s that they all say “I did it.” Our nation’s president Barack Obama was chosen to speak at the commencement ceremony where he had the fine pleasure of telling his story of when he earned his bachelor’s degree. He would go on to make the point of the progress America has made in race relations since his time, also highlighting how we mustn’t stop and that we must continue striving forward. “To deny how far we have come would be a disservice to those who went before. There’s still so much work to do, so many miles to travel.”


As this must be a very emotional and influential moment for them, each of the graduates must be aware that they have done more than just change and represent their own lives. They have in fact, changed the lives of their families, friends, and made an inspiring and influential cry, a voice calling out to those who are still trying, still working, still growing, digging out from underneath the ruble, as well as those who still remain uneducated, underprivileged, and oppressed. The second they walk up that stage and take that degree in their hands, they present an image and voice to be seen and heard, showing and telling everyone that they can. As for those who are colored, including those who come from the very country of Nigeria, among other African countries who were represented, not only do I have to say the same for those graduates, but even more so. They have been a true representation of not only themselves, families, and friends, but of colored people everywhere, both in the United States and Nigeria. As this marks another one of America’s very inspirational moments, placing itself among the rest, we certainly still have work to do. I certainly hope that more and more of us are willing to allow people of color, and everyone else, rise up to take their place, to make history, as these wonderful college graduates did at Howard University in the year of 2016.


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