Delayed But Not Denied: A Belated Commencement for Buffalo State's Resilient Class of 2020

In 2019, I found myself at a crossroad. I was standing at the precipice of my senior year at Buffalo State University formerly known as Buffalo State College, navigating the trauma of a recent unfair encounter with the justice system and seeking a way to channel my energy into positive action. It was in the moment of uncertainty that dooProcess was born.

dooProcess, a clothing brand created during the first semester of my senior year, became my response to adversity. A clothing brand that stands as a testament to resistance and empowerment. Born out of personal inexperience and a desire to create meaningful change, dooProcess was conceptualized to challenge the stereotypes that surround the victims of injustice, leveraging the power of fashion as a platform to spur dialogue and inspire change. Yet, just as I was preparing to cap off my collegiate journey and step into the world of entrepreneurship, the universe had other plans.

As my senior year progressed, I poured my heart and soul into my brand, envisioning an exciting transition from student life to a world of entrepreneurship after graduation. However, 2020 had different plans. The COVID-19 pandemic struck, shifting our lives and the world as we knew it. The Class of 2020, prepared to embark on new chapters of their lives, was suddenly deprived of the age-old act of walking across the stage, a public testament to our accomplishments. As for myself, it was more than just a walk—it was a symbolic stride forward, a declaration to the world that a wrongful arrest would not define me.

Three years have passed since then. Today, I'm thrilled to share that in collaboration with Buffalo State University, we are planning a belated commencement ceremony for the resilient Class of 2020. This event is not just a graduation ceremony - it is a symbol of triumph over adversity and recognition of the strength that we, the Class of 2020, have shown in the face of significant challenges.

This initiative holds special significance especially for first-generation college students, for whom this walk across the stage carries an additional weight of accomplishment. It stands as a testimony to the family's pride and generations of aspirations. Graduations hold immense significance in my family, and this sentiment resonates deeply with me. My mom visited Buffalo just once - to drop me off for my freshman year of college. This belated ceremony offers her the long-awaited opportunity to return to Buffalo, this time to watch me walk across the graduation stage!

This event is not just a graduation ceremony - it is a symbol of tragedy to triumph, similar to why I started my brand. Moreover, it's a salute to the resilience and tenacity demonstrated by us, the Class of 2020, in the face of considerable challenges.

Our hope is that this belated commencement becomes more than just a personal celebration for Buffalo State's Class of 2020. It can serve as a blueprint for universities and colleges globally to honor their graduates who were similarly affected by the pandemic. The "forgotten" class of 2020 was certainly not forgotten – we were merely delayed. Now it's time to commemorate that resilience and achievement.

It's time we take our walk. It's time we celebrate. In the face of adversity, our resilience echoes, declaring we are far from forgotten. The stage is set. It's time we take our walk!

If you're a part of the Buffalo State Class of 2020 or simply a supporter of this initiative, please share this message. Together, let's give the Class of 2020 the recognition it rightfully deserves.

Written by: Chad Williams, Founder of dooProcess

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