So if you hear people expressing bigoted views or talking down to those people, it is up to you to call them out because we won’t solve anything. I was in my late 20s. But also by the rumbling of the age old fault lines that our country was built on the lines of race and power that are now once again. There will always be those who want to keep you silent. Michelle Obama: (16:20) I would have given anything, anything to bring them back. So it’s your time. So it’s up to you to speak up when you or someone, you know isn’t being heard, it’s up to you to speak out against cruelty, dishonesty, bigotry, all of it. We all have no choice, but to see what has been staring us in the face for years, for centuries. This is an important time of transition in light of the current state of our country. But trust me, graduates that kind of life catches up to you. It’s the news, without the news. We see how these inequalities are playing out on our streets, and it’s not just the communities most affected by these challenges that see it now. The tough part is nobody has all the answers. Well, then how do you begin to chart your own course? Well, the reality is a lot more complicated than that because for too many people in this country, no matter how hard they work, there are structural barriers working against them that just make the road longer and rockier. Read the full transcript of her DNC speech here. I want you to be safe and I can’t wait to see you take the reins. Because right now, all that superficial stuff of titles and positions, all of that has been stripped away. I believe in you all. I love you all. Others choose to focus on their education and use that degree to address these issues and build a better life for themselves and those around them. Here’s the thing, you have the opportunity to learn these valuable lessons faster than the generations before you. If you can’t even approach the police without fearing for your life. It starts where change always starts in your own home, in your own social circles, in your own neighborhoods, at your own dinner tables. So if you’re spending a lot of time, just hashtaging and posting right now that’s useful, especially during a pandemic, but it’s only a beginning. Dr. King was angry. If you’re living in a constant state of fear, how much farther behind will you be after months in quarantine and without a job. I think we all are. Michelle Obama 2020 DNC Speech Transcript. We’re seeing the consequences of that right now. So if any of you are scared or confused or angry or just plain overwhelmed by it all, if you feel you’re searching for lifeline just to steady yourself, you are not alone. So graduates, I hope that what you’re going through right now can be your wake up call that it pushes you, not just to think about what kind of career you want to build. So we cannot allow our hurt and our frustration to turn us against each other, to cancel somebody else’s point of view. Now, I’m not naive. I’ve seen your creativity and your talent and your resourcefulness. Congratulations. They got fluent in the language of power. Graduates this is how you can finish the work that the generations before you have started, by staying open and hopeful, even in the tough times. That kind of thinking only divides us and distracts us from our higher calling, it is the gum in the wheel of progress. The first is this life will always be uncertain. If we’re only willing to do what’s easiest, we’ve got to make hard choices and sacrifices in our own lives. I know that not only can you do better than those who came before you, you will. Sojourner Truth was angry. That leads me to my second lesson, in an uncertain world time tested values like honesty and integrity, empathy and compassion. Graduates, it’s all important and we need every bit of it. The truth is when it comes to all those tiny stories of hard work and self determination that we’d like to tell ourselves about America. Michelle Obama: (06:00) Ask your friends, your family, ask everyone you see in your neighborhood. Do you know when your primary elections are held? For those of you who feel invisible, please know that your story matters, your ideas matter, your experiences matter, your vision for what our world can and should be matters. If you listen to them, then nothing will ever change. To have you be seen, but not heard. I’ve seen you marching with peace and with purpose and that is why even in tough times like these, you continue to be what gives me hope. I can tell you that our democracy is sturdy and yes, it still works, but it doesn’t work if you silence yourselves. So please enjoy this moment. But I have traveled the world and seeing the governments and people in so many other countries. It needed to be carried, not just by the housekeeper and the shift worker, but by the senator and the congresswoman and yes the President of the United States. Don’t deprive yourselves of all that. And sometimes it’s almost impossible to move upward at all, because if you’re required to work during a pandemic, but don’t have enough protective equipment or health insurance from your employer or paid sick leave, what is more essential, your work or your life. Michelle Obama Commencement Speech Transcript 2020, Congressional Testimony & Hearing Transcripts. Sometimes it’s easy to stand with strangers that are protests than it is to challenge someone in your own backyard. Michelle Obama: (13:03) Michelle Obama: (14:05) It’s okay if you don’t understand exactly what you’re feeling, we’re all sorting through this in real time. Look, I’ve been there many times in my life. It can be a useful force, but left on its own it will only corrode and destroy and sow chaos on the inside and out. It needed to be voiced, not just on the streets, but in the halls of power. Michelle Obama: (15:17) You rob yourself of the things that matter most. Here is former First Lady Michelle Obama's speech, delivered Monday, on the first day of the 2020 Democratic National Convention. Read former President Barack Obama's speech to the 2020 Democratic National Convention, as prepared for delivery: If we don’t agree with every last bit of their approach. God bless you. If you don’t feel safe driving your own car in your own neighborhood or going for a jog or buying some candy at 7-eleven or bird watching. I’ve seen you gathering donations for those in need during this pandemic. They built coalitions with folks like them and different from them. Now what’s happening right now is the direct result of decades of unaddressed, prejudice, and inequality. Every time we look at our phones or hear helicopters circling our neighborhoods. I know that you can climb a long way up the ladder selling falsehoods and blaming others for your own shortcomings, shunning those with less privilege and advantage. But if you hold strong with the same faith that carried all of those giants before you toward real measurable progress, you will change the course of history. I’ve seen you speaking out in gun violence and fight climate change. It’s up to you to couple every protest with plans and policies, with organizing and mobilizing and voting and that’s my final piece of advice. We see what’s happening in stark relief. A lot of us are reckoning with the most basic essence of who we are. Some want to march right up in front, others prefer to stay back, some kneel in the pews, others on the street corner, some canvas their neighborhoods, others run for office. Over these past couple of months, our foundation has been shaken, not just by a pandemic that stole too many of our loved ones, up ended our daily lives and sent tens of millions into unemployment. Michelle Obama: (01:02) The vibrancy that comes from a diversity of ideas and perspectives, the chance to leave this world a little better than you found it. It is an honor to be here with you to help celebrate this amazing milestone in your lives. What kind of person do you want to be? It’s folks all across the country who for too long have had the luxury and privilege of looking away. Go further, send all your friends a link to register to vote, text everybody you know to join you in exercising, their constitutional right to protest. I am feeling all of that too. If my generation did trust me, we’d have fixed the whole of this long time ago, but that doesn’t mean we should feel hopeless. So don’t ever, ever let anyone tell you that you’re too angry or that you should keep your mouth shut. Read former first lady Michelle Obama's speech from the 2020 Democratic National Convention, as prepared for delivery: Lucretia Mott, Cesar Chavez, the folks at Stonewall, they were all angry, but those folks were also driven by compassion, by principle, by hope. Michelle Obama: (11:51) Read the full transcript of her speech here. I struggled to find the right words of wisdom for you today. You deserve this celebration. These are uncomfortable questions, questions that have dogged this country for generations, but are now staring us in the face. Deep and loving connections with others, honest work that leads to lasting contributions to your community.

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