#BlackLivesMatter. Thanks to this hashtag, that he wrote 100 times on his application essay, Ziad Ahmed, an 18-year-old American student originally from New Jersey, got admitted into Stanford for the class of 2021.
Who said getting into Stanford was difficult? Sometimes all you need is to be audacious, and Ziad Ahmed understood that. Originally from New Jersey, this young American decided to give it a try and to send his application form to one of the most prestigious universities in the United States, Stanford. In April 2017, he received his admission letter.
After having duly filled in the application online and indicated his academic and professional careers, the young man reached the question “What matters to you, and why?”. That is when he got the idea to write 100 times #BlackLivesMatter as an answer. As he explains in an interview for CNN “First, there was a word limit on the question prompt – you couldn’t have less than 100 words”. However, if this constraint did encourage him in his idea to write the sentence, his principal reason to do so lies in the fact that he felt like he hadn’t had the chance to share his own convictions and beliefs in the application. He says to CNN “As I completed my application, my academic work, volunteer activity, extracurricular and activism created a picture, but it became apparent to me as I neared that final question that the picture lacked my voice”. It was fundamental to him to express how he feels about what he considers an “issue” in the United States, saying he is “impatient for justice”.
Admitted to the class of 2021 at Stanford, the admission letter he received praised his “passion, determination, accomplishments and heart” as we can read on Ahmed’s Twitter account. His boldness is however not the only reason he got admitted to the university. Indeed, despite his young age, Ahmed has already accomplished much: in 2015, at age 14, he created Redefy. Based on his own experience – a young man who suffered from racism due to his origins – he founded this organization to “do something about the injustices he saw all around him”, as written on the organization’s website. Its main objective? Fight against racism, hate and clichés to encourage indulgence for a “better tomorrow”. Ahmed had also talked to a TedX conference in Panama to share his life, the life of a Muslim teenager in the United States. To him “The Islamophobia is heavily present” in America and is linked to “the legacy of racism and oppression that the black community continues to face”, he said to CNN.
Ahmed has also been accepted by two other prestigious universities in the United States: Yale and Princeton, which proves that the young man has the potential to do great things in the future. Although he still hasn’t made his choice between the different universities, no doubt Ziad Ahmed will build himself a bright and successful future, hopefully inspiring young people to believe in themselves and fight for what they think to be right.