Louisiana trans woman is first trans POC to achieve doctorate in social work 

Alaiya Williams on her graduation day. Photo courtesy c/o Skylar Barnes.
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Alaiyia Williams has made history as the first Black and transgender woman to earn a doctorate in social work in Louisiana from Tulane University.

In a news release, members of The BACH Group, an organization dedicated to empowering people, communities, and organizations, expressed their enthusiasm, stating, “This groundbreaking achievement marks a pivotal moment in the state’s history, underscoring the power of diversity and inclusion in the field of social work.”

They further emphasized, “Ms. Williams’ journey to this remarkable achievement is a testament to her unwavering resilience, commitment to social justice, and dedication to improving the lives of marginalized communities.”

Williams herself shared her thoughts, saying, “I am incredibly honored to be the first Black trans woman to earn a DSW in Louisiana. This achievement is a reflection of the unwavering support I have received from my family, friends, mentors, and the Tulane University community from which I completed my studies. I am committed to using my knowledge and skills to make a positive impact on the lives of others and to advocate for the rights of the LGBTQ community.”

Reflecting on her experience at Tulane, Williams added, “To have an institution embrace and support me as I am is such an invaluable experience. Tulane has prepared me to step into the role of a researcher and has instilled in me the rigor, training, and skills necessary to generate powerful data through empirically based research that has the power to change the world.”

This accomplishment holds significant personal meaning for Williams. She shared, “This honor is sacred to me due to my own journey to get here. What many don’t know about me is that after transitioning at age 15, I struggled to adjust to how society treated me. By age 16, I had dropped out of school completely because I was not protected in that learning environment.”

“To have lived through the ways in which society fails transgender and gender-diverse people, then turns around and penalizes us for their failure, is a testimony in itself. But to aspire and thrive to this extent after navigating the toils and snares of this life, showing up at the many intersections of my identity, has been a truly humbling experience. This accomplishment will show my nieces and nephews that with love, drive, and determination, anything is possible!”

About Korina Estrada 186 Articles
A writer and an advocate of self-love and body positivity. She loves baking cookies, practicing her calligraphy, and creating short stories of local folklore.

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