May 10, 2017 4:58 PM

Harvard plans to hold separate graduation ceremony for black graduates

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Later this May, black graduate students from Harvard University will take part in a separate graduation ceremony.

According to a report by The Root, the university plans to hold an individual ceremony for black graduate students on May 23, the first of it's kind.

The ceremony, which took over a year to plan, is promoting "fellowship" not "segregation," Michael Huggins, a graduate student who is graduating with a master's in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, told The Root. According to the report, the ceremony is an effort to acknowledge struggles and resilience that black students have to possess to thrive in higher education.

"This is an opportunity to celebrate Harvard's black excellence and black brilliance," Huggins said. "It's an event where we can see each other and our parents and family can see us as a collective, whole group. A community."

More than 125 students have registered to participate in the ceremony, which will be held at Holmes Field, near Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Mass. More than $27,000 has been raised to pay for the ceremony and a reception.

The graduate students still plan to participate in the school's main ceremony.

“The students are excited and have put a lot of work into this,” Huggins said. “Too often at Harvard, there is not cross-discipline contact between black students. So it can feel like you are the only person of color. At this graduation, we can show each other and the administration that we are here, we are strong and we are not going away.”

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