Class of 2020, we did it!
I hope you are all able to celebrate your accomplishments in whatever way you choose – while staying safe and healthy, of course- because you’ve earned it.
Earlier this month, I was able to listen to the moving speeches President Barack and Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, and many more gave to graduates all over the world. Needless to say, I was beyond inspired by their words to write this and to continue to take action for change, which I hope you will do, too.
This is a crucial time for our world.
We are now witnessing what happens when voices who have been unheard for far too long demand, as they so more than deserve, to be heard. What happens when injustices are not addressed right after they occur and prevented from happening again.
But we are also witnessing something else.
We’re seeing the power of what we can do when we are willing to come together, listen, and fight for change. What can happen when frustrations and anger turn into important action.
Class of 2020, we are coming of age in one of the most powerful times. The world needs us. We are the next leaders.
Don’t keep your dreams and your optimism for better to yourself. We can use what we have learned to better this world. So, the question is, how are we going to move forward? How are we going to help make that progress? Use this time to ask yourself: What kind of world do I want to see and what kind of person do I want to be? Are you going to use your privilege and voice to speak out against the injustices you witness? Are you going to use it to elevate the voices of those who are unheard?
We must believe in the possibility of progress.
Sometimes it is the smallest acts that can begin to create the most change. It can be a talk at the dinner table with those who may not agree with you or simply self-reflecting over what we can, and must, do better as individuals.
I hope that we continue to channel those conversations into action. That we continue having them altogether. I hope that we stand with other allies and continue to be kind and most importantly, open-minded. That we are more than willing to listen to others and what they have to say. To quote Lady Gaga’s commencement speech, “If we don’t listen, we don’t learn.” That we continue to keep the hope that we will see an optimistic outcome and continue to fight for it until those who are unheard are heard.
And when it comes time and we get the chance to step back a bit, I hope that we get to see and leave a world that will be at least a little better than we found it. There’s a lot of work to be done. But I’ve seen the resilience of this class and how we face every challenge put in front of us with everything we have.
So, class of 2020, let’s get to work.