Ziad Ahmed was filling out his application for Stanford University when he came across a question which he was told to answer in 100 words or less: “What matters to you, and why?”
The possibilities are endless. But to Ahmed, the answer was simple: “#BlackLivesMatter.”
The senior at Princeton Day School in Princeton, New Jersey, believed his answer spoke for itself, and so he decided to write that and only that —#BlackLivesMatter — 100 times.
“When I thought about why, I realized that the insistence on explaining the meaning of the hashtag is inherently problematic and the ‘why’ is embodied in the words themselves,” Ahmed told CBS News in an email Wednesday. “Declaring the humanity and value of black lives is necessitated by the painful reality that the collective humanity is frequently denied when perpetrators of violence enjoy impunity.”
It’s probably not an answer the admissions office sees every day.
The 18-year-old said he wanted to write an application that was “authentic,” something that demonstrated his passion to be a part of making a difference, which includes being an ally with the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I am many things, but I am an unapologetic progressive activist first and foremost,” he said. “To be an ally, to me, means to listen, to show up, and to constructively contribute. That looks like volunteering for organizations that have been on the ground doing change-making, adding my voice to those who are peacefully protesting, amplifying narratives that are grounded in facts not fear, and naming injustice.”
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SOURCE: CBS News, Jennifer Earl