As supporters gathered recently in Southeast to rally and show their respect for the mother of a Black teen shot by another Black teen in Southeast, many said they were grateful that the young man survived but asked the looming question, “When will the violence stop?”
Many among the crowd were mothers themselves who said they felt lucky that neither they, nor their children, had been personally affected by the violence that permeates their neighborhood. And in the midst of it all, a mother who said she decided to move her family away from D.C. attended the rally not only to support the mom who was her friend, but to also visit Howard University where her son will enter as a freshman in the fall. She was bursting with pride to know that her child, who escaped the violence, worked hard in order to attend the college of his dreams where he’ll pursue a degree in computer science and electrical engineering with a desire to secure a career in gaming.
This is just one of thousands of stories proud mothers, fathers and extended family members will share this Saturday, May 11 on the campuses of Howard University and the University of the District of Columbia, as well as other non-HBCUs in the area. Bowie State and Morgan State universities will hold their commencement exercises the following weekend, adding to the several thousand graduates who will receive their hard-earned degrees.
It is a moment of high celebration, as well as a time-honored Mother’s Day gift for many. The specific words may be unspoken but the day’s excitement is found in the collective expression, “We did it.”
Despite the statistics showing the high dropout rates among Black students, the decreasing number of students enrolling in HBCUs and the question of why more Black women are entering college over their male counterparts, the fact remains that education once denied to Black people is still valued and appreciated as a proven road to success.
We realize, however, that for many parents and students, the road is not easy, which is why their success is all the more significant. For this, we celebrate the class of 2019 and wish them continued success.