My Closing Remarks At The 2008 P.S.U. Multicultural Graduation
Thank You. Congratulations to everyone for your accomplishment. I know first hand how long and difficult the journey can be to finally graduate from college. Each of you should be proud of yourselves and more importantly proud of those that help you achieve such a monumental task. As we end tonight’s celebration I would like to take one more opportunity to applaud those who have supported you throughout this long and challenging time. A special thank you to the Moms, Dads brothers, sisters, husbands, wives and the community that carried you to the finish line.
When given the opportunity to speak tonight I took the time to reflect back on the year since I myself was a student at this very graduation. I thought about all the people that helped me finally graduate after a 20 year pursuit of my degree. I thought about the opportunities that those relationships have given me today, to continue doing what I consider my life’s work.
And I thought what I can offer to you as you go forward. What can I give you that you can use as you go out into the so-called real world?
Then it hit me. I have to try and give to you, what has been given to me. I have to give to
The single, most important, thing in this world
The most powerful, most life altering, most empowering single thing any of us can ever
Have, hold, experience, but more importantly that we can give to anyone and everyone.
The one thing that Senator Gordly, Dr. Millner, Dr. Miller Jones, Angela, and so many
Others gave to me unconditionally with no strings attached, with no down payment.
I want to give it back to you tonight as you go forward in your life.
As you chase your dreams, as you search for your place in this world.
I want you to have it, and to use it and to give to others, because I’m here to tell you the
World needs more of it. The world is running out of it I sometimes think, until I see a
Miracle and my hope is restored, but still I realize it’s up to me, and it’s up to each one of
You in this room to continue to spread this thing I will give to you tonight.
I see it missing when I teach my Diversity class at the Police Academy.
It is sometimes absent when we have impassioned discussions about Race and racial
Profiling, in our own community.
When we continue to dehumanize our brothers and sisters from the South,
It is missing when we continue to ignore those who are dying in Darfur,
It’s missing in Israel and Palestine.
It’s missing when we look at our local Police officers and when they look back at us as a community.
There is a drought in this country and it’s not water, it’s something else, something that
Gives us the same nourishment, and sustainability as water and air.
Something we can not live without, something we need in order to continue to survive and flourish.
It’s the one thing our poor, and less fortunate need most, the one thing that our mentally
Disabled yearn for.
It’s what our parents gave us when we were young and what the Black studies
Department gave me, from the moment I walked through their doors
And they give it to me still today.
If I can leave you with one thing, one gift for you to take forward, I decided to go Big.
I don’t know a lot of things, but I do know this.
If you always have love in your heart, if you always give back the love you receive,
If you allow yourself to be vulnerable at times with your love,
In the end you will be empowered by love.
I leave you with this: From Merle Shain
“The roots of love sink down and deep and strike out far,
They are arteries that feed our lives,
So we must see that they get the water and sun they need so they can nourish us.
And when you put something good into the world, something good comes back to you”.
We send you out tonight to put love into the World; we will wait and watch as your roots
Grow and spread, we will wait for your return. Do not forget us,
WE ARE COUNTING ON YOU.