Betsy DeVos To Deliver Commencement Speech At Historically Black University

By: Taryn Finley

Taryn Finley reports in a recent article published in Huff Post Black Voices that “U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is set to deliver the commencement speech at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida, the school announced on Monday.”

Finley quotes Preident Edison O. Jackson’s statement in a press release:

“The legacy of Dr. Bethune is that she was not constrained by political ideology, but worked across all parties to support B-CU.”

Finley also shares BCU graduate Domininik Whitehead’s Change.org petition to prevent DeVos from speaking at the ceremony that is to be held May 10th:

“Having DeVos speak at the commencement ceremony is an insult to the BCU graduating class, students, alumni, family, friends, and Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune’s legacy. We, the proud alumni of Bethune-Cookman University, do not want Betsy DeVos to have a seat at our table. Please rescind her invitation to speak at the graduation ceremony.”

According to Finley, the petition has more than 4,500 signatures as of Tuesday morning, more than five-hundred short of the goal.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Being a Black Student on a White Campus

By Rhonesha Byng, HuffingtonPost.com

In an emotional video released earlier this week, students at the UCLA School of Law gathered to share their stories of being among the few black students on campus as part of an awareness campaign simply titled “33.”

According to the video, out of roughly 1,100 students, 33 of them are black, that’s three percent of the school’s student population. Official statistics reveal there are a total of 994 students enrolled getting their Juris Doctor, however, an official from the school says the video’s 1,100 figure likely includes students receiving their LL.M. (Master of Laws). (. . .)

The students expanded upon their feelings of isolation, and feeling like they have to represent their entire community.

“It’s a constant burden of pressure. I’m constantly policing myself, just being aware of what I say and how it can be interpreted because I essentially am the representation of the black community.”

One woman felt she had been automatically characterized as an “angry black woman” after she disagreed with the views of a particular professor and openly vocalized her thoughts.

“The fact that I was a black woman played a lot into why people stopped listening to me. I felt like if there were maybe more black women in the class, maybe just five of us, people could have seen more of a variation in our responses to what was going on in class and what I felt like was sexism in the classroom.” (. . .)

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