+

Completing a master's degree, doctoral degree, or professional program is a big deal. When you're all done, a celebration is in order.

This is especially true for black students, who are still underrepresented at the highest academic levels. That's why these recent graduates are shouting each other out in an awesome way.

[rebelmouse-image 19526847 dam="1" original_size="400x222" caption="GIF from "The Daily Show."" expand=1]GIF from "The Daily Show."


Since the commencement regalia for master's, doctoral, and professional students often includes a hood, black graduates are posting selfies and giving each other well-earned props using the hashtag #BlackAndHooded.

It's a celebration of black joy, persistence, and talent.

The new grads behind the hashtag, Anthony Wright and Brian Allen, earned their master's degrees in higher education and student affairs from Indiana University and Columbia University, respectively, this spring.

While talking with one of his undergraduate students, Wright was reminded of the importance of black graduate student representation. He teamed up with Allen, a friend from his undergraduate days at the University of Wisconsin, and came up with #BlackAndHooded. It's intentionally inclusive of all black students across gender expressions, fields, institutions, and geography.

"Black excellence exists in all facets of education and we're pretty much killing the game," Allen says. "I think [the hashtag] really works to combat the negative notions of inadequacy in academia."

Wright and Allen expanded #BlackAndHooded into an online photo series too.

Recent grads can submit their photos via email and share their institution and field of study. The site is pages and pages of black excellence. At the time of this writing, Wright and Allen have more than 200 graduates on the BlackAndHooded site and are even honoring "Grads of the Week."

"The hashtag is cool, but ... they go away after a few weeks," Wright says. "I wanted to have something consistently available — all the images and not just tweets."

The number of black students earning advanced degrees is on the rise, but we're not done yet.

Black enrollment at post-secondary institutions has increased since the 1990s and advanced degree attainment has followed suit. In 1990, 5.6% of master's and 4.7% of doctoral degrees were conferred to black recipients. In 2013, those numbers jumped to 13.6% and 8%, respectively. They're baby steps, but they're headed in the right direction.

A community-conscious, action-oriented EDUCATOR ✊🏾💙 #BLACKANDHOODED #ZΦB #MasterOfEducation #MASTERED

A post shared by Jessica L. Williams (@jleannaw) on

We'll get there. Because behind that data are real living, dreaming black people. Disregard us at your own peril. These students are putting in work and making the impossible possible in a system that was not designed for their success. This celebration is for them, and they've certainly earned it.

Wright and Allen both hope this project inspires black people to pursue their dreams, not just in academia but wherever they may lead.

The road to success doesn't always go through higher education, and that's OK. But seeing their black peers work hard and accomplish their dreams across different fields and disciplines may be just the motivation someone needs to go for it.

"I hope it inspires people to push themselves to achieve their goals, regardless of what those goals are," Wright says.

For every happy, proud smiling face you see in this photos, there's a lot you don't see.

Earning an advanced degree requires years of research; tough projects, teaching, or work assignments; sleepless nights; and enough reading to make your head spin. There are days when you don't know if you'll make it. There are days when you question yourself and your abilities. But you persist, not just for yourself, but your family, your community. And you do it for a moment like this:

An advanced degree is much more than a piece of paper, it's an achievement earned by the best and brightest. And no one can take that away.

Hats off to the class of 2017, and the people who love and support them.

This is your time. Go ahead and show out!

True

Innovation is awesome, right? I mean, it gave us the internet!

However, there is always a price to pay for modernization, and in this case, it’s in the form of digital eye strain, a group of vision problems that can pop up after as little as two hours of looking at a screen. Some of the symptoms are tired and/or dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain1. Ouch!

Keep ReadingShow less
popular

Artist captures how strangers react to her body in public and it's fascinating

Haley Morris-Cafiero's photos might make you rethink how you look at people.

Credit: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Artist Haley Morris-Cafiero describes herself on her website as "part performer, part artist, part provocateur, part spectator." Her recent project, titled "Wait Watchers" has elements of all her self-descriptors.

In an email to us, Morris-Cafiero explained that she set up a camera in the street and stood in front of it, doing mundane activities like looking at a map or eating gelato. While she's standing there she sets off her camera, taking hundreds of photos.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

This Giving Tuesday, Furbo makes it easier than ever to support dogs in need

Every Furbo purchase helps provide additional support for dog shelters & rescues.

Image via Furbo

Furbo is using Giving Tuesday to support dogs in need

Every year, six million lost or abandoned animals end up in shelters or rescues. Thankfully, 76% of those pets are adopted by their forever family. Of course, the dream is to find every stray animal a loving home, but getting there takes time, money, and resources.


If you’re a dog lover, especially with a rescue pup, you understand the importance of supporting animal rescue organizations and shelters. Like you, Furbo Dog Camera wants to ensure all dogs are safe and happy at home. That’s why they founded Furbo For Good, the company’s charitable initiative that supports rescued dogs. And this Giving Tuesday, they’ll be doing more for pets in need than ever before!

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Woman reunites with her family 51 years after being kidnapped

Melissa Highsmith never even knew her real family was searching for her.

The family celebrate their reunion following a decades long search

In 1971, Melissa Highsmith was kidnapped from her home in Fort Worth, Texas. Her disappearance has been one of the oldest missing person cases in America. Now, she gets to celebrate a long-awaited reunion with her family in what she calls a “Christmas miracle.”

As ABC affiliate WFAA reported, Melissa’s mother, Alta (who now goes by Alta Apantenco) had put out an ad for a babysitter to watch over her then 21-month-old while she was at work. A white gloved, well-dressed woman going by the name of Ruth Johnson responded to the call, but she was no babysitter. After Johnson picked up baby Melissa from Apantenco’s roommate, the two were never seen again.

As any parents would do in this situation, the Highsmiths worked tirelessly to find their little girl, involving the Fort Worth police and even the FBI. Sadly, it was all to no avail. The only glimmer of hope remaining was that there was no evidence of harm, so maybe, just maybe, their Melissa was being well taken care of. And for 51 years, the family held onto that possibility.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Dwayne Johnson 'rights a wrong' at the 7-Eleven he used to shoplift from as a kid

The Rock admitted to stealing a Snickers bar every day for almost a year.

Johnson bought every Snickers bar in the store to "right a wrong"

Dwayne Johnson is a celebrity known for his generosity. Sure people know about his one-of-a-kind eyebrow raise an insane gym schedule, but it’s also common knowledge that he regularly makes surprise appearances to those in need. Not to mention his gifts are legendary—from puppies to trucks to houses.

So, it might not seem that out of the ordinary for the wrestler-turned-actor to buy every single Snickers bar at a 7-eleven and give them to customers for free. However, this was more than a good deed—it was an act of redemption.

As the “Black Adam” star shared in a video posted to his Instagram, this was the 7-Eleven he used to shoplift from while growing up in Hawaii.
Keep ReadingShow less