The graduating class at Indiana University School of Education will be noted for making history this year. Eight African-American women from the class are candidates to receive doctorate degrees in Education together.
“We understood very early on that we had a distinction, a commonality, a thread between all of us and so we began to meet as a group,” said PhD candidate Nadrea Njoku.
The women known as “The Great Eight” include Demetrees Hutchins, Nadrea Njoku, Jasmine Haywood, Johari Shuck, Tiffany Kyser, Jada A. Phelps-Moultrie, Juhanna N. Rogers, and Shannon McCullough. They are scheduled to walk across the stage in May 2016 to get their well-deserved degrees, and will also spend the summer defending their dissertations.
“We often deal with this idea that we always have to do more. And our collective black female community here we were able to tell each other you’re enough,” said Jasmine Haywood.
The Great Eight hope that other women of color can flourish after them, and that occurrences displaying Black women in a positive light become more common than not.
“Standing in solidarity with each other as women and as black women but also opening up a space where we’re standing in solidarity with other historically underrepresented marginalized groups in the university,” said Tiffany Kyser.
“If we get more images of showing us in these positive lights, then we can truly say this is nothing special because it happens all the time. So until we get to that point we’ll be the great eight and we’ll shine that light on it,” said Demetrees Hutchins.