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(@DorianTroy93 on Twitter)

Hoods have acquired quite the meaningful image since the tragic murder of hoodie-wearing Trayvon Martin, becoming a symbol of Black revolution. Now, we can add another powerful symbol to the bunch and this time, it relates to higher education: #BlackAndHooded.

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The two recent graduates first used the hashtag in late April, which was perfect since it was the peak of graduation season. It soon became a household staple on Twitter.

The movement was started by Indiana University alumnus Anthony Wright and Columbia University alumnus Brian Allen, each of whom recently completed their respective masters’ programs. They decided to flaunt their black excellence via a hashtag that all black grad students can emulate and enjoy.

“[A conversation I had with one of the black undergraduate students I advised] made me think about how in my time in undergrad, I didn’t have that type of representation or example and how it almost deterred me from applying at all,” Wright told HuffPost. “Seeing people like you in any educational or professional space is important in planting the seed of believing you can be there, and by using the hashtag across social media platforms, I sought to create a large pool of that representation across regions, institution types and areas of interest.”

According to a National Center for Education study, only about 13 percent of black people graduated with a master’s degree in 2015.

“I think it’s clear that the higher education system was not constructed with Black folk in mind and their success was definitely not a factor that was considered either,” Allen noted. “I believe #BlackAndHooded displays the infinite possibilities of black excellence and shows that Black people around this nation are doing amazing things, specializing in all fields and disciplines, and that we are no longer adhering to the confines of lack of access and opportunity that many of our ancestors experienced before us.”

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“Celebrating black accomplishments is always important in my opinion. Everyone has that inner auntie with the disposable camera in them waiting to cheer on another black person who is out here achieving great things,” Wright, who hopes that this series creates a general sense of pride, whether you seek higher education or not, said. “This hashtag just serves as a reminder to some and an eye-opener for others, that black people are more than just the negative images displayed on television and that we are and will continue to make positive contributions to society ― in this case through our scholarship.”

You can learn more about the #BlackAndHooded movement on the official website as well as submit your very own black grad photos to their ongoing photo series by emailing them at [email protected]

Have you recently graduated? Share in the comments!

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Tonja Renée Stidhum is a writer/director living in Los Angeles by way of Chicago. She is the co-host of the movie review podcast, Cinema Bun Podcast. She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice… with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre. You can follow her on Twitter @EmbraceTheJ, on Facebook FB.com/tstidhum, and Instagram @embracethej. You can find more of her work on her About Me page, https://about.me/tonjareneestidhum.

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