In a couple of days, one of closest friends — Shahara C. Jackson — moves to Harvard (HARVARD!!!) to earn her Doctor of Education Leadership.

Shahara has dedicated her career to creating the change she wants to see, both in our education system and across the world. I’m giddy to see what she does with this coveted opportunity.

Friends and family came together this past weekend to celebrate Shahara. The entire farewell party was incredible (especially the hilarious childhood stories from her cousins!), but it was Shahara’s toast that left a lasting impression.

Though I was too preoccupied with wiping my tears to record the moving message, I’ll paraphrase her words:

"I’m not self-made. None of us are. And anyone who says they are is lying."

She then went on to name the people who have impacted her as so many of the people she’s impacted looked on. 

And on the train ride home, I couldn’t help but think of my tribe: my family, my friends, the mentors, the mentees, the strangers and this community of creators I’m grateful to serve with my work every day.

What makes us human is our ability to find common ground in the things that connect us.

I’m satisfied knowing that as Shahara opens this new chapter, we found common ground in celebrating all the breakthroughs that lie ahead of her.

Congrats and onward, my friend. Tell Malia Obama I said, "hey!"