President Obama made a trip down south on yesterday. He was in Atlanta, GA to deliver the commencement speech to the 2013 graduating class of Morehouse College.
The speech was well delivered from the commander in chief. But social media was buzzing as many highlighted part of his speech. The speech was directed and aimed toward the African American men. The message was heart felt as he addressed the things going on in our society. President Obama made sure to address the guys that were graduating and was sure to charge them with their tasks. Kandi and her boo Todd along with Johnny Gill and Eddie Levert was in attendance to watch Gerald Leverts son get his degree. (Story Here)
Clips of the speech:
But along with collective responsibilities, we have individual responsibilities. There are some things, as black men, we can only do for ourselves. There are some things, as Morehouse Men, that you are obliged to do for those still left behind. As graduates – as Morehouse Men – you now wield something even more powerful than the diploma you are about to collect. And that’s the power of your example.
So what I ask of you today is the same thing I ask of every graduating class I address: use that power for something larger than yourself.
Live up to President Mays’ challenge. Be “sensitive to the wrongs, the sufferings, and the injustices of society.” And be “willing to accept responsibility for correcting [those] ills.”
I know some of you came to Morehouse from communities where life was about keeping your head down and looking out for yourself. Maybe you feel like you escaped, and you can take your degree, get a fancy job and never look back. And don’t get me wrong – with the heavy weight of student loans, with doors open to you that your parents and grandparents could scarcely imagine, no one expects you to take a vow of poverty. But I will say it betrays a poverty of ambition if all you think about is what goods you can buy instead of what good you can do. So yes, go get that law degree. But ask yourself if the only option is to defend the rich and powerful, or if you can also find time to defend the powerless. Yes, go get your MBA, or start that business. But ask yourself what broader purpose your business might serve, in putting people to work, or transforming a neighborhood. The most successful CEOs I know didn’t start out intent on making money – rather, they had a vision of how their product or service would change things, and the money followed.
Some of you may be headed to medical school to become doctors. But make sure you heal folks in underserved communities who really need it, too. For generations, certain groups in our country – especially African-Americans – have been in desperate need of access to quality, affordable health care. And as a society, we are finally beginning to change that. Those of you who are under the age of 26 already have the option to stay on your parents’ health care plan. But all of you are heading out into an economy where many young people expect to not only have multiple jobs, but multiple careers. So starting October 1st, you’ll be able to shop for a quality, affordable plan that’s yours and that travels with you – a plan that will insure not only your health, but your dreams if you have an accident or get sick. That’s good for you, it’s good for this country, and you should spread the word to your fellow young people.
And that brings me to my second request of you: Just as Morehouse has taught you to expect more of yourself, inspire those who look up to you to expect more of themselves.
We know that too many young men in our community continue to make bad choices. Growing up, I made a few myself. And I have to confess, sometimes I wrote off my own failings as just another example of the world trying to keep a black man down. But one of the things you’ve learned over the last four years is that there’s no longer any room for excuses. I understand that there’s a common fraternity creed here at Morehouse: “excuses are tools of the incompetent, used to build bridges to nowhere and monuments of nothingness.” We’ve got no time for excuses – not because the bitter legacies of slavery and segregation have vanished entirely; they haven’t. Not because racism and discrimination no longer exist; that’s still out there. It’s just that in today’s hyperconnected, hypercompetitive world, with a billion young people from China and India and Brazil entering the global workforce alongside you, nobody is going to give you anything you haven’t earned. And whatever hardships you may experience because of your race, they pale in comparison to the hardships previous generations endured – and overcame.
Check the clips here:
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