Who knew it was this easy to get into Stanford University?
When asked on Stanford’s application, “What matters to you, and why,” Muslim teen Ziad Ahmed simply wrote, “#BlackLivesMatter” exactly 100 times. And that was that. His acceptance letter arrived shortly after.
"I was actually stunned when I opened the update and saw that I was admitted," Ahmed said according to Mic.com. "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."
“My unapologetic progressivism is a central part of my identity, and I wanted that to be represented adequately in my application," the boy added.
According to a conversation with Mic, Ahmed expounded on his identity:
Ahmed said his Islamic faith and his commitment to justice is intertwined. He believes he wouldn't be practicing his religion correctly if he turned a blind eye to the injustices the black community faces on a daily basis.
"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."
But like any “good” progressive, Ahmed put out a disclaimer that while he is an ally of black people, he can’t speak on behalf of their community. (But it did get him into a prestigious university — if Stanford can call itself that now.)
There was another caveat to Ahmed’s answer, in that he purposely left out an explanation as to why he wrote BLM 100 times, as he explains:
"The insistence on an explanation is inherently dehumanizing. Black lives have been explicitly and implicitly told they don't matter for centuries, and as a society — it is our responsibility to scream that black lives matter because it is not to say that all lives do not matter, but it is to say that black lives have been attacked for so long, and that we must empower through language, perspective, and action."
Now, Ahmed, 18, has a choice because, besides Stanford, he was also accepted to Yale and Princeton. It isn’t indicated if he used the same hashtag-tactic at the other schools. He is still deciding on a major, though, but said it would be along the lines of “international relations, cognitive science, economics or comparative studies in race and ethnicity.”
This Bangladeshi-American teen has several other accomplishments that probably looked good to these schools. He attended a Muslim Iftar dinner at the White House where he as recognized as a Muslim-American change-maker by Barack Obama. He also interned for the Hillary Clinton campaign and before that, Martin O’Malley’s. In 2015, Ahmed gave a TedxTalk in Panama on stereotypes. He is the founder and president of a teen organization on removing stereotypes called Redefy and is the co-founder of JÜV Consulting, a firm for youths.
Cool hashtag, Ahmed.