West Point Clears Cadets: No Disciplinary Action Will Be Taken For Raised Fist Viral Photo

West Point has cleared all 16 black female cadets of any wrongdoing after a photograph of the cadets posing in uniform with raised fists went viral. NPR reports the young women will graduate May 21, without being penalized.

West Point released the following statement,

“The inquiry concluded that the photo was among several taken in the spur-of-the-moment. It was intended to demonstrate “unity” and “pride,” according to the findings of the inquiry. In addition to concluding there was no violation of DOD Directive 1344.10, the findings state, “that based upon available evidence none of the participants, through their actions, intended to show support for a political movement.” 


They Did It

For me, the take away from the photo was a collective “Yes, we did it!” Isn’t that part of comradery? I even added a “Way to go!” shout of my own in  support of the cadets. Their names weren’t listed but I wanted to know more about each of them. Before I could get grounded on my mission to see who the women behind the uniform are in their civilian lives, controversy ensued. In this instance, it didn’t have too. Sometimes people just want to have to have something to fuss about.

Cadets In Sisterhood

The issue seems to be that the black fist raised  in solidarity isn’t decoded enough for “everyone” to feel comfortable. What I do know without having met the young women is that they are bonded for life. I saw 16 strong, courageous, black women who have relied on each other to make it through a program that you better show up ready for. The memories that they have made can probably fill a few photo albums.  I like the thought of that.  Come May 21 there will be more picture taking and hopefully lots of celebrating as they graduate. I hope each picture is filled with  pride and sisterhood.


Featured Image: Getty/Spencer Platt

C. Imani Williams is a human rights and social justice activist. She writes to empower and give voice to those silenced through systematic oppression. Her work has appeared in Between the Lines, Michigan Citizen, Tucson Weekly, Harlem Times, Dope Magazine and various news and popular culture blogs. Follow the unapologetically black political culture critique @ https://twitter.com/Imaniwms and https://www.facebook.com/You-Have-The-Right-540358412796352/?fref=ts