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Black women are now America's most educated group.

They're the most educated group in America, but they're still grossly underpaid.

This month, there was some pretty great news for black women.

Celebrate with Michelle Obama!


Black women are now the most educated group in America, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

A higher percentage of black women — 9.7% to be exact — are enrolled in college than any other racial or gender group, including white men, white women, and Asian women.

It's the first time in American history that black women are leading the way in education.

And it's kind of incredible for a multitude of reasons, including the fact that education reduces poverty, promotes gender equality, and helps to lessen the spread of various health issues.

So just what are these educated black women doing?

The number of degrees conferred to black students has steadily been on the rise for two decades. And in the U.S. between 2009 and 2010, black women specifically earned 68% of associate’s degrees awarded to African-American students.

Of black students, also earned 66% of bachelor’s degrees, 71% of master’s degrees, and 65% of all doctorate degrees, too.

So yeah, black women are killing it.

#BlackGirlMagic is totally real. GIF from Apple.

But here's a kicker: While black women are the most educated group in America, they're still making substantially less than their white male counterparts.

About $20,000 less per year, to be exact — a ridiculously large gap.


Oprah says, "Not on my watch." GIF via "Oprah."

Unfortunately, this isn't super surprising. Every other demographic in America makes less than white men, too, but black women are on the significantly lower end of the wage bar.

What does this wage gap look like?

On average, an American woman earns about $39,000 per year compared with the $50,000 an average man earns.

If a woman were to work for 40 years, this would add up to a lifetime of around $430,000 of wages lost. For black women, that number jumps to almost $878,000 in wages lost overtime a lifetime.


Absolutely not.

When any demographic is underpaid or understaffed, the effects are pervasive, and we can see that firsthand with black women.

While the numbers of black women in higher-paying jobs are steadily increasing, black women are still largely underrepresented at the top of top-paying industries like engineering and computing. Of the estimated 24% of women in the STEM workforce, a mere 2% of black women are represented in that group.

Black women not having a seat at the high-wage table can be particularly damaging for their families, too.

More than 50% of black women with children are either the sole or primary breadwinners of families, compared with 40% of all of women.

But currently, 38% of black children live below the poverty line, a rate that has remained steady over the past few years while other groups have decreased.

Equalizing wages could make a huge difference in the lives of African-American children by giving them access to better schools, healthier lives, and increased opportunities.

As Viola Davis stated in her historic Emmy’s speech:

"The only thing that separates women of color from everyone else is opportunity."

Viola Davis teaching us all how to live at the 67th annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

The good news is, black women don’t back down from a challenge.

Right now, black women are voting at higher rates than the rest of the population, starting more businesses than any other groups of women, and creating opportunities for other black women to achieve even more.

They have been doing to work to improve minority lives for years.


Yes, girl. GIF from "Sister Act 2."

And when minorities are given a seat at the table of opportunity, we create a society that is strong, more understanding, and increasingly innovative.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.

Family

Two sisters ask their stepmom to adopt them with sweet memory book

"We were already calling her mom because it felt so natural."

Gabriella Ruvolo/TikTok

Gabriella and Julianna Ruvolo asked their stepmom to adopt them in a touching video.

Sisters Gabriella and Julianna Ruvolo know that they're extremely lucky. Their stepmom Becky Ruvolo has been there for them for most of their lives and it's clear that they're grateful to her for it. On May 9, Gabriella posted a video to TikTok to share the very special way the young women honored their stepmom for Mother's Day.

In the short clip, you can see Becky flanked by the two girls, flipping through a book. On the video are the words "After 12 years… we finally asked our step-mom to adopt us." As Becky goes through the pages, you can see her becoming increasingly more emotional before she gets to the last page. By then, all three of the women are crying.

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