Before former President Barack Obama helps celebrate the commencements of all college students graduating this year, there’s just one thing he’s scheduled to do first: honor students graduating from the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). “Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition” — part of a larger #GraduateTogether initiative that was also announced in part by LeBron James — was scheduled to take place on Saturday afternoon as the live-streamed mass graduation ceremony was being held on the internet because COVID-19 social distancing guidelines have prevented traditional in-person ceremonies from taking place.
Saturday will be the first of three virtual ceremonies celebrating the class of 2020. “Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition” will come before another online graduation for America’s high school seniors Saturday night for the “Graduate Together: America Honors the Class of 2020” with Obama and James.
Finally, Obama and a number of celebrities and dignitaries will address every graduating senior on all academic levels on June 6 at the official 2020 commencement ceremony online.
While it was unclear exactly what viewers — and graduates — could expect on Saturday, what was abundantly clear was that someone obviously thought it necessary to single out Black college graduates, an important and impressive group that traditionally go on to play outsized roles in society.
It’s no coincidence that the Obamas were involved in an event celebrating Black colleges, considering the former president delivered three commencement addressed at HBCUs during his two terms. While he was in office, Obama also issued an executive order that the official White House press release said “demonstrates the President’s strong appreciation for the historic role these institutions have played in educating our citizens and the Administration’s commitment to assisting HBCUs with accomplishing their mission.”
The lineup of speakers for “Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition” is impressive. It includes actors, singers, professional athletes, CEOs, elected officials, musicians, civil rights activists and more. Aside from Obama, some of the notable speakers include but are not limited to: California Sen. Kamala Harris; NBA star Chris Paul; Steve Harvey; rapper Rapsody; actor Omari Hardwick; Kevin Hart; rapper/actor Common and dozens of others.
“I’ve always loved joining commencements––the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice,” Obama tweeted when “Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition” was announced earlier this month. “Even if we can’t get together in person this year, Michelle and I are excited to celebrate the nationwide Class of 2020 and recognize this milestone with you and your loved ones.”
“Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition” is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday. It will be live-streamed on Chase’s YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn channels. A live stream of the event has been embedded below for convenience.
The “Graduate Together: America Honors the Class of 2020” virtual ceremony begins at 8 p.m. ET and will be streamed on TVOne.tv, MYCLEO.tv. as well as on YouTube. You can watch it below.