There are not many 1-year-olds that can say they were attending graduation, especially at Harvard Law School. Well, little Evelyn can.
This pretty 1-year-old girl earned her toga and the academic cap by supporting her 25-year-old mom with her graduation, having attended some classes with her.
Briana Williams, the mother of this lovely baby, with tears in her eyes, received her Juris Doctor degree while carrying Evelyn in her arms.
“To say that my last year of law school, with a newborn, and as a single mom was a challenge would be an understatement,” she said. “I went into labor in April—during the final exam period. I immediately requested an epidural so that my contractions wouldn’t interfere with my Family Law grade. And, with tears in my eyes, I finished it.”
“Some days I was so mentally and emotionally fatigued that I did not leave my bed,” she admitted.
Raising her infant and preparing for her exams was a great challenge for her. At times, she was leaving her baby in a stroller at the Dean’s office just so she can attend a class. And sometimes, her daughter Evelyn was sitting together with her in class.
“I did not think that, at 24 years old, as a single mom, I would be able to get through one of the most intellectually rigorous and challenging positions of my life,” she confessed.
“Thank you for giving me the strength and courage to be invincible,” she wrote to her child. “Let’s keep beating all their odds, baby.”
Briana describes herself as a “small-town girl from Atlanta.” She is the first one in her family of 6 children to get a college degree.
When she got into Harvard Law School she was scared to be studying along with the world’s smartest minds. Plus, she was afraid she wasn’t going to make it because she was also working as a waitress.
However, her father was encouraging her the whole time: “You got something they don’t have — you’re street smart. You’re book smart AND you’re street smart.”
Briana used her brilliance to motivate and uplift the rights of black people and women. So, during her third year of studies, she became a director for communications for the Harvard Black Law Students Association.
“I made sure to engage in courses that contextualized the law with my blackness, femininity, and income strata,” she said.
“At first, I was the anomaly of my [marginalized] community. Then, as a single mother, I became a statistic. Next, I pray that for the sake of my baby, I will be an example.” – Briana Williams