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The ups and downs of the 2024 HBCU commencement season

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As the sun set on 2024 graduation ceremonies at Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country, this season illuminated a scene full of joy, resilience and a poignant reminder of the unique challenges these esteemed HBCUs proceed to face. From the cheers of families witnessing the first generations of scholars take the stage, to the tearful farewells of friends and faculty who’ve grow to be family, this 12 months’s commencement was a living tapestry of triumph and tradition.

But in a 12 months reminiscent of the 12 months most graduates graduated from highschool during the coronavirus lockdown, these celebrations were interspersed with moments of stark reality, highlighting the disparities and obstacles that also stand in the way of true educational equality. Here are seven notable moments from the 2024 HBCU graduation season, where every cap and gown carries with it a story of perseverance, pride and a relentless pursuit of excellence.

The commencement speaker at Clark Atlanta University took attendees to church

At a ceremony at Clark Atlanta University, writer and professor of African American studies, Dr. Daniel Black, delivered perhaps the best commencement speech. In a moving, sermon-inspired speech, Dr. Black made guests feel like they were attending a Sunday service, strengthening and affirming the university’s graduating class of 2024. Regardless of what 12 months you graduated from college, or should you graduated in any respect, his speech was a strong reminder that “if Harriet Tubman runs to freedom, you can run to your destiny.”

Political similarities were underscored by Morehouse College’s 2024 commencement

Some graduates turned on President Joe Biden when he delivered the commencement speech at Morehouse College’s graduation ceremony on May 19 in Atlanta. (Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

Angela Bassett confirms girl power at Spelman University

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Actress Angela Bassett speaks on stage during the Spelman College commencement ceremony at the Georgia International Convention Center on May 19 in College Park, Georgia. (Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

“Lift your head up and step into the role of the queen you were prepared to be,” Angela Bassett told the Spelman College graduating class of 2024. The award-winning actor attended the graduation ceremony at the historically black women’s college as the commencement speaker. In addition to delivering an empowering speech, Bassett received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree alongside Supreme Court Justice Dr. Kentanji Brown Jackson, who received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from an HBCU.

Al Roker and Deborah Roberts teamed up as Fisk University’s commencement speakers

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Deborah Roberts and Al Roker were keynote speakers in Fisk’s early days. Above, the couple attends the November premiere of “Origin” in New York. (Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Black media veterans Al Roker and Deborah Roberts served as keynote speakers at Fisk University’s a hundred and fiftieth commencement ceremony on May 6.

“Deborah and Al are more than just media icons,” says Fisk CEO, Dr. Agenia W. Clark said about the couple joining this 12 months’s graduation ceremony. “They are now valued friends of Fisk University, and their commitment to excellence and social responsibility reflects our core values. We are incredibly grateful for their willingness to inspire our class of future leaders as they embark on their journeys.”

“Courage” class at Howard University

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Howard University had trouble filling seats at this 12 months’s graduation ceremony. Above, 2023 graduates arrive at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. for last 12 months’s ceremony. (Photo: Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images)

This 12 months’s Howard University commencement speaker, Thasunda Brown Duckett, president and CEO of the Teacher Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA), recognized the courage of the graduating class of 2024. Like most of the undergraduate class of 2024, Howard’s graduating class began her college journey in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. From the moment they began their college careers to the moment they took the stage, these students were forced to beat a series of unprecedented challenges.

This 12 months, HU was faced with graduation venue issues, which limited the space available for guests and prevented many families from seeing their family members receive their diplomas. While graduating from nursing school, the university was forced to finish the ceremony before graduates could take the stage attributable to the facility reaching its maximum capability and an outbreak of violence amongst the families that were locked up.

FAMU’s mysterious donation

At Florida A&M University’s commencement ceremony, speaker Gregory Gerami boldly announced an ultimately controversial donation to the university. Despite apparently announced “The money is in the bank” to an enthusiastic graduation audience, Gerami’s $238 million donation subsequently sparked a series of investigations into the institution and, as reported Fortune, could also be worthless. Although FAMU president Larry Robinson he reportedly stated that donations had been “suspended” without further explanation, the speaker’s graduation gift has make clear questionable practices at the university, as staff appear to have missed a number of “red flags” in accepting the donation.

Hampton University celebrated its largest cohort of graduate students

With Hampton University awarding degrees to greater than 665 graduates, the 2024 commencement was a milestone for HBCUs. During the 154th inauguration ceremony, the university honored the largest group of doctoral students in its history, in addition to the youngest graduate, Kyndall Johnsonwho began her undergraduate studies there and received her diploma at the age of 19.



This article was originally published on : thegrio.com
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National No Child Care Day: DC should not balance its budget at the expense of our children

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As a mother and community organizer, I look to my children and others to see the hopes and guarantees for his or her future. I’m also keenly aware of the importance of systems that promote the health and well-being of our children, which makes DC Budget cuts proposed by Mayor Muriel Bowser to the child welfare system, which is the cornerstone of every child’s well-being at an early stage of development, which is deeply disturbing to me and other parents and social activists.

The work of child care providers has been economically devalued since: the days when enslaved African women forcibly raised white children. Bowser’s budget cuts reinforce the slavery-era belief that black and brown child care employees do not deserve fair wages. These women are the invisible backbone of American communities and economies. They deserve a salary that can provide them with an honest standard of living. The DC Mayor and Council should put money into our children the same way they put money into millionaires. That’s why we’re working tirelessly to stop this from happening again.

May 13 is National Day Without Child Care (DWOCC), a day for child care providers to advocate for our government systems to create cheaper and accessible child care. As proud members of the Raising Child Care Fund, we are going to focus our efforts today on urging Mayor Bowser to say no to harmful cuts to the child care budget.

On April 3, Mayor Bowser proposed a budget for fiscal 12 months 2025 that eliminates it entirely Early Childhood Education Equalization Fund. The Pay Equality Fund (PEF) was established in 2021 under birth law for 3 years for all DC residents enacted in 2018. This program proposed everlasting funding to assist offer direct payments to child care professionals and employers to bring child care employees’ wages and advantages in step with their colleagues in the DC public school system.

In 2019, before the National Federation of Feedbackers DC Average Income was $15.36 for a babysitter in comparison with $33.10 for a preschool teacher and $44.16 per hour for an elementary school teacher. The implementation of the Pay Equity Fund in 2022 and 2023 has helped fill this gap paying $80 million to over 4,000 preschool teachers and their facilities to extend wages and salaries. DC relatively expensive standard of living implies that any potential fall in childcare wages to the minimum wage will force many employees to search out alternative employment.

Another PEF program, Health4CareChild care, provided teachers caring for young children with free or low-cost medical insurance. It is estimated that 16% of child care employees under the age of 65 are uninsured in comparison with 4.23% of teachers. The loss of this program will leave many employees uninsured or underinsured, which could also be the case further and disproportionately widen health disparities impact on Black communities in DC

DC has moreover proposed cutting $10 million from the child care subsidy program, which has helped lower child care costs for low-income families. Only current DC child care offers serve 71% of demand. Lower wages combined with subsidy cuts will result in an excellent greater lack of child care available to DC families.

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These cuts to the child care budget are a profound betrayal of the guarantees made by the DC mayor and council members to early childhood educators, especially provided that DC has increased education requirements and regulations for child care employees.

In December 2023, DC it required all its manpower in little children have child development credentials or an educational degree. Relatively, only five other states require similar minimum credentials. Increasing educational requirements while abandoning guarantees of increased pay for this predominantly black workforce is deeply damaging to the economic and mental well-being of our child care employees.

The DC government justified these budget cuts by stating that DC needed to search out funds to replenish its reserve funds. Bowser’s budget though attached $3.1 million for juvenile justice centers, $32 million for tourism and marketing subsidies and $551 million for downtown Chinatown revitalization.

Additionally, Tazra Mitchell, director of policy and strategy at the DC Fiscal Policy Institutehe wrote on Twitter “In 2021, the CFO’s office told me that DC had only spent about 75% of its cash flow reserve at any given time.”

The DC government decides to chop child care teaching programs that positively impact Black communities in favor of programs that impact corporate profits to be able to solve the money flow problem. This is an unjust act of democracy that we cannot allow to prevail.

As community members who consider in moving DC toward a caring economy, we’re dedicating our time, attention and resources to urging the DC Mayor and Council not to show their backs on child care employees.

On May 13, we plan to host caregivers and fogeys in the Wilson Building, which houses the mayor’s and council members’ offices. We will probably be hosting office hours and meetings with council members Phil Mendelson, Jeneese Lewis George, Kenyan McDuffee, Christina Henderson and others supporting the restoration of the pay equity fund. SPACE in Action may also host automotive brigades and display banners calling on the DC Council to maintain its promise to child care providers.

Proposed budget cuts to the child care system will threaten the physical and economic health of greater than 4,000 child care employees, mostly Black and Brown. This will worsen an already deepening child care crisis that has left so many families unable to search out inexpensive and accessible take care of their children. The tangible consequences of cutting child care will outweigh the imagined advantages gained from increasing DC’s rainy day fund.

At DWOCC, join us in urging the DC mayor and council members to guard our children’s future by protecting our early childhood educators in the present. No child’s educational development or caregivers’ livelihood should be limited to be able to balance the budget.


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This article was originally published on : thegrio.com
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The mother-daughter duo graduated from Rutgers School of Social Work together

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Is Rutgers a good school for social work?

Congratulations are to ensure that one mother-daughter duo.

Latonya Johnson, 43, and Laila Birchett, 21, graduated together from the School of Social Work at Rutgers University on Sunday. the institution made available.

“I took my first college course in 1999.” said Johnson, a divorced mother of six whose children range in age from 4 to 26. “From 1999 to the present, I have tried to go back in time six times, but to no avail. I couldn’t manage my time properly because I was a wife, mother and worked full-time.”

In addition to being a full-time mother before enrolling at Rutgers, Johnson worked full-time and took classes part-time. Birchett suggested that they attend school together, prompting her mother to cut back her working hours and enroll at university in September 2022.

“Her journey has been truly inspiring,” Birchett said of her mother. “It encouraged me to work harder in college.”

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The former Montclair State student knew she desired to pursue a field that may allow her to assist others, especially the homeless and the elderly. Johnson previously worked as an authorized alcohol and drug counselor.

At Rutgers, the mother-daughter duo attended different classes but had the identical teacher. They relied on one another for support, from computer technology to real-life experiences.

“There were times when I struggled to cope in school,” Birchett said. People Magazine reported. “But I always thought if my mom could do it, I could do it.”

Johnson and Birchett will enroll within the Rutgers Master of Social Work program this fall.

“My family — my kids, my mom and dad — they’re all proud because it’s two generations going to college together,” Johnson said, in keeping with Rutgers. “I never thought that in one million years I’d go to high school with my daughter and graduate from the identical university and the identical field. It’s a bit of surreal, but it surely has brought us closer together because we’ve got connected on a level I never thought I’d have the option to attach with my children.


This article was originally published on : thegrio.com
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A Virginia school board voted to restore Confederate names at two schools. I bet even Robert E. Lee is confused.

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Panama Jackson theGrio.com

Many years ago, I took my wife on her first trip to the Deep South, during which we made an 11-hour trip from Washington, D.C. to Huntsville, Alabama, to visit my parents. My wife, who is from Ghana and moved to New Jersey at age 11 before attending Howard University, had never been to the South before. Sure, she was in Miami, but I think we will all agree that Miami and anywhere in Alabama should not the identical.

Like many individuals from, well, anywhere else, she was very anxious in regards to the trip. Between all of the documentaries in regards to the Civil Rights Movement, history, racist white people, and the final notion that “the South is a place where racism thrives,” she was quite concerned about being kicked with the n-word, potentially kidnapped, and was an ancestor just crossing the imaginary border to the “South”. I assured her that wasn’t the case, but we soon had our first (humorous) encounter with racism.

No greater than two hours outside of DC, we stopped for a rest stop so my kids could use the restroom. We were just outside the border of Northern Virginia, which is not an independent state, but anyone who lives within the DC area knows the difference between “Virginia” and “Northern Virginia,” which is just like the difference between Atlanta and Georgia. A whole group of motorcyclists with Confederate flags on their shirts were parked at the facilities. I talked to one in all the bikers in regards to the weather and we each went our separate ways, but she felt justified. Racism was waiting for us as soon as we hit Virginia. I laughed it off, but I couldn’t disagree with it either.

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This memory is the very first thing I considered when I read the recent news in regards to the all-white school board in Shenandoah County, Virginia, voting againwrite down the names of the two schools originally named after racists and losers – Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Turner Ashby. The two schools in query, now Mountain View High School and Honey Run Elementary School, were renamed within the wake of George Floyd’s murder in 2020, when people made the historically correct decision to remove Confederate symbols and rename schools named after LOSERS CIVIL WAR.

I cannot emphasize enough how idiotic I think it is to honor the losers of the war that tore the country apart, but white people will likely be white people, you recognize? I bet even Stonewall Jackson and Nem will likely be like, “Really??? Wow… what a bunch of idiots. We lost. If we had won, we certainly wouldn’t have had any schools named after Union generals!” Robert E. Lee even against monuments after every little thing was said and done. Why? Because putting up monuments and stuff like that it could be too divisive. What are we even doing here?

Despite what number of community members didn’t want to change the names back to Stonewall Jackson High School and Ashby Lee Elementary, the conservative school board stated, “Yes, we definitely need to put these racists back on the field! LEGACY, NOT HATE!” Forget what message this sends to students of color in these schools; it is more vital to honor the LOSERS of the Civil War because clearly the defenders of slavery and racism were people of high moral standing and character, more so than the school board that modified names after the 2020 murder of George Floyd.

My God.

It’s bad enough that racists have gained momentum through the years with “critical race theory” bans and reversing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, but now districts are actively bringing racists into schools? Deliberately? White people never stop to amaze me with their boldness and audacity. Especially since everyone knows what happens from here; the proven fact that something like this happened on this case signifies that other school districts may follow suit, not for a very good reason, but to make some extent. The proven fact that I hate it here really doesn’t describe how I feel.

The aliens (and Robert E. Lee) have to be very confused.


Panama Jackson theGrio.com

This article was originally published on : thegrio.com
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