“I’ve always wanted individuals to succeed in life,” explains Bea Gyimah, founder of the local nonprofit America, My Oyster Association, “and I always want to know that at the end of the day, I’ve done something that’s impacted someone’s life for the better.”
Gyimah launched the organization in 2016 with a mission to serve as a sustainable resource for all individuals in exploring, voicing and appreciating the multiplicity of the American experience.
“There’s an old adage, ‘the world is your oyster,’” explains Gyimah, “and we believe that despite the challenges and adversities that exist in America, it still happens to be the land of opportunity. We believe that with tenacity and perseverance and integrity, you can accomplish whatever you wish to accomplish.”
With no “Pomp and Circumstance” to be played or caps to be tossed for the class of 2020, Gyimah felt for graduates who had to make do with simpler celebrations, putting a damper on the depth of their achievement.
“I wanted to do something to celebrate these graduates,” says Gyimah, “because for some students, graduation is the momentum they need to be able to finish what they started. Wearing the cap and gown and seeing their parents cheer for them is the extra boost some students need to continue on with their education.”
So Gyimah decided to give some exemplary graduates a celebration of their own. Beginning on June 19, AMOA began saluting graduates for their exceptional talents and academic achievements with a small ceremonies and special gifts. Through September 30, AMOA plans to continue to salute a grand total of 32 graduates.
Their efforts certainly haven’t gone unnoticed.
“Being honored as a graduate of 2020 by the America, My Oyster Association was a welcomed joy in the midst of this global pandemic,” explains honoree Mya Jacobs. “Graduating during COVID was a very trying experience filled with many low moments. So it was a very refreshing experience to have a reason to celebrate. As a graduate from Xavier University of Louisiana, I continue to live by our mission of championing a more just and humane society. AMOA is aligned with that mission and I’m excited to see the organization’s future impact.”