#BlackandHooded started as a simple idea that representation is a powerful and transformative tool that can effect change. Like many First-Generation and Black graduate students, co-founders Anthony Wright and Brian Allen experienced our own challenges with the graduate school application process, navigating the culture of academia, and realized we had a very limited network of Black people who have gone on to pursue post-secondary education. Through the creation of the hashtag, Anthony and Brian sought out to not only acknowledge the achievements of Black graduate students from around the world, but also to offer aspiring Black grads with a network and connection of support that can help them successfully navigate their own graduate school experiences.
In May 2017 our idea became a virtual social movement and today the hashtag has been used thousands of times across social media with Black graduates across the world joining in to display their accomplishments and support the mission of our organization. After seeing such a robust response across social media, we set out to create a database of Black graduate students (both currently enrolled and alumni) to further assist prospective students in their graduate school process. The #BlackandHooded Database is home to over 60 different institutions, 20 different degree types, and several hundred people willing to be a resource.
In addition to the database, we created the #BlackandHooded scholarship in August of 2017 as an additional resource to incoming Black graduate students. While networks and information are crucial, financial barriers often are one of the biggest barriers of access to higher and post-secondary education. Through fundraising and merchandise sales, #Blackandhooded has provided 12 incoming first-year, Black graduate students with a $500 scholarship to put towards their educational experience.
We exist because we want to highlight our collective academic achievement, increase representation, and provide support. You are not in this journey alone.