Nothing is permanent in this world. Everything changes with the passage of time. Even as I am writing this passage, somewhere, something is changing in this world. When I was a child, it was exciting. Now as an adult, it is challenging. But change is one of the only constants in the world. Without it, people cant evolve or improve their surroundings.

Change occurred internationally for black people. Even the term that is used has changed but for me, I still use ‘black people’.  The term changes depending on your personal perspective.  Black people were one of the races that were used by white people for slavery.  They experienced racism for two centuries. But things change!

Now the President of theUnited States of Americais multi-racial – and his wife is the first black first lady. Many black men and women are now in powerful positions and leaders in society. But people had to step up.  People stood up and challenged the social norms. Part of this was recognizing the importance of education. So why should black women seek doctorate degrees?

Education is not just about learning. It’s about critical thinking and problems solving – finding answers. Higher education gives us the tools to strengthen our ability to move within society, to be part of the decision making process and take a lead in making a difference. It also is recognition of our strengths, our talents.

Years ago, I saw a film based on the first black marine officer in theUSAmilitary. It illustrated his fortitude, his dedication to the ethos of theUSAand the military. It also illustrated the challenges he faced simply because of the color of his skin.  More importantly, it illustrated his determination to succeed and be accepted because of his skills. He didn’t ask for any favors. He simply did! It was inspirational!

This inspiration is further illustrated in the achievements of black women in recent years. In theUSarmy, there are currently 167,000 black women. This represents 31% of the women currently in theUSarmy which proportionately in theUSrepresents 19% of the female population. This is an incredible commitment. But without a degree, these women fight the battle of gaining seniority and if they chose to leave the military, have limited career opportunities.  It is time to recognize the importance of this next step.

It is up to each individual to take that step; to fight for an education identity. Each black woman should recognize that they need this ‘piece of paper’ to strengthen their professional recognition in society.

There are many challenges and changes facing us all, but for me – a black woman – I recognize that a doctorate gives me a greater voice not only in society but leading my own changes! When a black woman is properly educated, she can pass on the strengths of education and the inert desire for self improvement on to her children. This will allow future black generations to rise out of the mire of self loathing to create a bright future.