Karlesha Thurman, the 25-year-old college student shown breastfeeding her daughter during a graduation ceremony, has spoken out over the viral image. Thurman addressed the controversy surrounding the photo, and defended her actions despite the overwhelming praise she received for her actions.
Thurman appeared on NBC’s Today show Monday to discuss the photo she took as she graduated from Long Beach State University in May. The accounting graduate posted a photo of she breastfeeding her three-month-old daughter, Aaliyah, and posted it to a Facebook group titled “Black Women Do Breastfeed” in a bid to bring normalcy to the act. As the image spread throughout social media last week, Thurman was both highly celebrated and criticized.
More from Today.com:
Thurman, who earned her accounting degree, said she never wanted attention because of the photo and didn’t realize that some people have a problem with public breast-feeding. She didn’t think twice about nursing amid her fellow graduates, and has never had a problem nursing where she needed to.
“I honestly thought that as a society, people were more understanding to breast-feeding and understood the importance of breast-feeding,” said Thurman, 25.
“It’s not disgusting, it’s not a bad thing, it’s not a negative thing,” Thurman added. “It’s the best thing for my daughter. More people should do it.”
Thurman also said that no one at the ceremony said anything to her over the public breastfeeding save for a friend who snapped the photo out of admiration. Thurman, who is engaged, has not let the negative reactions to the photo detract her from nursing one bit.
“If you’re able to breast-feed, I don’t see why you wouldn’t regardless of race,” she said. “If you can give your child a gift as great as breast milk, I don’t see why you would deny them that because of society.”
Hit the following page to see Karlesha Thurman’s photos.