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New Black Stereotype - 15 Inspiring Stories from the Class of 2015

New Black Stereotype - 15 Inspiring Stories from the Class of 2015

Since our inception in 2013, our goal has been to refute stereotypes through positive imagery that not only challenges the negative narratives but also highlights our accomplishments and our limitless possibilities.

In addition to our ancestors and icons, we have found countless realtime examples of individuals throughout our community who are building on their legacy. These are the stories we are working to promote as we build a platform that is 100% positive, uplifting and real.

What better way to kick off this expansion than with 15 inspiring stories we collected from graduates who are working to create a #newblackstereotype. 

Warning: You may need kleenex :)

"Two years into college, my big sister put her dreams on hold and dropped out of school so that she could get her homeless 16 year old little brother off the road to destruction. 7 years later, and A LOT of bumps in the road, I am a changed man and a college graduate. For me to be able to share this moment with her meant the world to me. We shared the same struggle as children and she was still selfless enough to put me before herself. In the midst of everybody trying to take pictures with me after graduation, I just wanted to find my sister. When I found her, we hugged and both started crying. She told me she was proud of me and I told her I wouldn't have made it this far without her." - James, University of Missouri


"Whew ...ok so I was making good money in Detroit, about $45K after taxes, but I knew if I lost my job I would have to be lucky to get another one making that kind of money without a degree. So, I got my Associate's degree, thought about the Bachelor's degree but wasn't willing to be in debt for it. Then I received a FULL academic scholarship to Jackson State University. How could I say no?? But how could I give up my job, break my lease and start completely over??? But I did! I got a job making $8 doggone dollars an hour (plus commission). I took no less than 18 credits each semester, 15 for all spring and summer intercessions, 21 last semester and get this...this past semester I took 10 classes!! 29 credits! I would go to school, go to work, then BACK to school, then mom duty, then study! I maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.9, made two national honor societies, and exceeded all of my sales goals at work. I worked part-time but made as many sales as a full-time rep because I had bills just like the next person. My daughter was in ballet, she got at LEAST 3 home cooked meals a week, a bedtime story and a bath faithfully. I took her to the ER when she was sick, dentist, shots, and took her to the movies every chance I got. Her hair stayed done and her clothes stayed clean. She got cupcakes at school for holidays and her birthday. I didn't miss a beat!!! I cried so many nights, in the tub, in the car and stepped out of class sometimes. I was exhausted, but God pulled me through to the very end! I'm so thankful for the people that kept motivated the whole time. Thank you all!! I did it man, I really did it!" - Joi


"Physically, my father (Cody's grandfather) couldn't attend the graduation ceremony, but his shoes were there.

I texted this picture to my mom (Cody's grandmother) earlier and she immediately said, 'I can't believe Cody took his picture in these shoes.' Me, not having a clue what she was talking about, wanted to know, 'why, what's wrong with these shoes?'

The shoes belonged to my dad, who can no longer wear them because of his diabetes... so he gave them to Cody who was determined to wear them in his announcement pictures and on graduation day, in spite of one of them ripping along the seam. Walking across the stage and receiving his degree in those shoes meant something to him. I was speechless, I still kinda am." - Cassandra (proud Mom)


"I recently graduated from Northeastern University at the age of 20 with a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering as the only woman of color in the CHME Class of 2015 and I did it Summa Cum Laude. I have been on a journey for 4 years to prove to my family and friends that anything is possible with determination and perseverance. After achieving my goal, I have decided to pursue a PhD in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology in the Fall. To whom much is given, much is expected. I give all the Glory and honor to the Most High." - Claudia


"Going into my senior year of high school I decided to hold myself back an extra year in order to pursue my dream of obtaining a track scholarship. My grandmother did not like my decision because she told me she did not know how much time she had left and she did not want to leave without seeing me graduate high school. Well, a few years have passed and now she has witnessed something better than a high school graduate. She witnessed her first college graduate of a 4 year institution in the family!! Words can not express how happy I am that she could see this day. The moment I saw my grandmother post graduation, I held her tight and we cried together. Thank you God for allowing her to see this day!" - Jeffery


"I began working on my degree in the summer of 2013. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in September. I had surgery that morning and class that evening. I never missed a class. Through treatments and tiredness. God is so good. I graduated Saturday with my Ed.S in School Counseling." - Yolanda

"This morning I woke up officially a Chemical Engineer. I had the distinct honor of graduating from The Howard University with a Bachelor's of Science in Chemical Engineering. This fall I will be furthering my education, entering the BSE/MBA program and pursuing my Master's in Business Administration. What this tells me is that we are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream. What this also tells me is that anyone who has the vision, perseverance and resolve to actively seek knowledge possesses true power." - Ike

"My grandmother. 77 years old. Arts degree. 3.9 GPA. Only recipient of the Outstanding Honors Award in her department. I couldn't be prouder!!! It's never too late to follow your dreams. She's living proof!" - Shondrick (2015 graduate of East Carolina University & proud Grandson)

"Last Saturday I graduated with my PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision from the University of Toledo in Toledo, OH. It wasn't easy beginning a graduate program while working with a 6 month old, but when I looked at my son, as an African-American male in this country, I knew I had to keep pushing. I wanted him to know that he can do anything he puts his mind to. I wanted him to know the importance of education. I wanted him to have endless opportunities. As a licensed professional counselor and licensed school counselor he has also impacted my interest in working with minority adolescents and being able to train the next generation of counselors to work with "our" children. Going into academia will give me that platform to further research in these areas and ensure multicultural issues and social justice is adequately addressed within the counseling profession.

I am excited that we are both beginning a new chapter in our lives together. I hope he will be able to look back at these pics and use it to motivate himself to always strive for greatness." - The Pre-K & PhD Graduate, Dr. Neyland and Micah


"Pictured is a group of amazing new graduates from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine! These women are starting careers in Orthopedic Surgery, Internal Medicine, Psychiatry, Emergency Medicine, Pathology and Family Medicine and are beginning residency all across the U.S.!!!" - Sarah


"I spent 4 years in the trenches with these gentlemen. We help fight the many diseases facing our patient population, along with stressing the importance of patient advocacy. I am proud that my university has embraced the importance of diversifying the face of medicine. We look forward to fighting the doctor shortage that is facing minorities in our country and optimizing healthcare for all.

Surgeons, Family Medicine Physicians, Internist/Pediatrician, and Emergency Medicine Physicians, and Anesthesiologist. Ohio State University College of Medicine Class of 2015." - Chigo


"I'm Iman and my sister Najwa and I are 18 months apart. On May 16, 2015 we both graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. In lieu of the Islamic law revival in the 1980s, our mother left Sudan, an arranged marriage, her native language, her family and culture for the freedom of choice and for the love of my father who was a young marine at the time from 9th Ward New Orleans. After over 30 years of marriage, our parents got to watch their two youngest children walk away with degrees from the #1 public university in the world. If our parents taught us anything, it's that their early sacrifices for our future were worth it and that no success is sweeter than the one you get to enjoy with your most loved ones: family." - Iman


"We are the 11th graduating class of the re-established Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, College of Law! We received our Juris Doctor on May 2, 2015!" - Te'Reisha


"We came in as strangers but left out as sisters. These four years of medical school were tough; we cried, we laughed, we prayed, we studied hard and now we are ready to take on the role of Doctor. Some of us are married and have children which made these four years even more of a challenge, but we made it!!

Say hello to your future Physical Medicine and Rehabiliation (PM&R), Obstetric & Gynecology (ObGyn), Internal Medicine, Family Medicine and Pediatric physicians." - Emelia


"Words cannot express how much this young man standing beside me means to me. I had my son my senior year of high school and then I went off to serve my country in the Army in which I still serve. Now I'm graduating with my Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics the same year he is graduating from Kindergarten. We are accomplishing goals together!" - Father and Son, Maxie and TJ


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