A Nevada mother has launched a campaign to be the speaker at her daughter’s college graduation, urging supporters to use the power of social networks to launch her onto the commencement stage.

Sumayah Hodges of Las Vegas said her quest began when her daughter, LaMayah, a senior at the all-female Spelman College in Atlanta, expressed her hope for a “phenomenal” keynote speaker at her graduation ceremony. In 2011, it was Michelle Obama. At this spring’s graduation, it was Oprah.

In 2013, “I am going to be that woman,” the businesswoman recalled telling her daughter. “And ever since then I’ve been on a quest to make that dream come true.”

Hodges started an online campaign “Sumayah Takes Flight” to become the 2013 commencement speaker at Spelman, a prestigious historically Black institution. She’s urging the public to support the effort, not with money, but by spreading the word, “liking” the campaign on Facebook, following her on Twitter and viewing her video on YouTube in a bid to engage the attention of the school’s administrators.

“I told my daughter LaMayah that I would be always there for her, just like my mother was always there for me. I kept my end of the bargain, and LaMayah kept hers by studying hard and never giving up,” said Hodges, founder of the Grannz Advanced Cosmetology Community Development Corp.


She urged listeners in her YouTube video, “If you ever had a dream for yourself and your child then this is your chance to help make my daughter’s dream come true.”

Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO