A couple of weeks ago, thirty-four Black women graduated from the military academy West Point. This tops last year’s number of twenty-seven Black women graduating. Everyone has taken notice of the success of these women. From news organizations like NBC and CNN to presidential hopefuls like Senator Kamala Harris.
One of the graduating cadets, Tiffany Welch-Baker spoke to Because of Them We Can and expressed her sentiment. “My hope when young Black girls see these photos is that they understand that regardless of what life presents you, you have the ability and fortitude to be a force to be reckoned with,”
This moment also marks from two years ago when Simone Askew became the first Black woman to lead the Corps of Cadets. Which is impressive considering that West Point’s population is only 20 percent women.
In 2014, West Point came up with the initiative to diversify its cadets, graduates, and leadership positions. They aimed this proposal to women and African-Americans specifically for the academy to reflect more of the population.
According to the school’s statistics, only 20 percent of cadets are women, and 10 percent of the undergraduate population at West Point is Black.
This shows that West Point has come a long way from when it was first founded in 1802. The academy didn’t graduate its first Black cadet until 1877 during the Reconstruction Era. And now, 110 Black cadets graduated this year, double that figure from six years ago in 2013.
This shows that there’s always room for improvement and taking a step forward. But these women are especially helping lead the pack and future ahead.
Congratulations to these thirty-four women for being our future military leaders and hopefuls!