According to Mic, Muslim teen Ziad Ahmed had a very simple answer when the Stanford University application asked, “What matters to you, and why?” All he could think of was: Black Lives.
Ahmed’s story went viral after he shared the news that he was accepted to Stanford. His story is more special than most because he chose to write #BlackLivesMatter exactly 100 times on the college application essay. Doing so was a gamble, but it surely paid off for the New Jersey teen.
— Ziad Ahmed (@ziadtheactivist) April 1, 2017
“I was actually stunned when I opened the update and saw that I was admitted,” Ahmed said in an email. “I didn’t think I would get admitted to Stanford at all, but it’s quite refreshing to see that they view my unapologetic activism as an asset rather than a liability.”
As of Tuesday, the tweet sharing the acceptance letter holds nearly 4,000 likes and more than 1,500 retweets.
Working Together In Activism
A senior at Princeton Day School in Princeton, New Jersey, Ahmed told Mic that being an ally of BLM is essential to his work in moving the world forward.
“To me, to be Muslim is to be a BLM ally, and I honestly can’t imagine it being any other way for me,” Ahmed said. “Furthermore, it’s critical to realize that one-fourth to one-third of the Muslim community in America are black … and to separate justice for Muslims from justices for the black community is to erase the realities of the plurality of our community.”
For those concerned that Ahmed is new to activism, he’s already got a hefty resume. He was once invited to the dinner at the White House during the Obama administration. During that time, Ahmed was acknowledged as a Muslim-American change-maker. He then interned for both Martin O’Malley and Hillary Clinton during her presidential campaign.
The Bangladeshi-American teen is also the founder of a global organization of 300 students looking to fight against stereotypes.
Stanford has refused to comment on Ahmed’s application. But, it’s easy to see why school officials would be proud to include him as a student.
The most profound statements are often the briefest. Three words – Black Lives Matter – helped a Muslim teen gain admittance to one of the nation’s top institutions.