Former President Barack Obama encouraged HBCU graduates virtually over the weekend.
JPMorgan Chase shined a spotlight on graduates from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) with its #ShowMeYourWalk – HBCU Edition virtual graduation ceremony.
The two-hour ceremony, which was streamed live from the ESSENCE Studios platform, featured a host of guest speakers like Kevin Hart and Steve Harvey, performances from Doug E. Fresh and Rapsody, and celebrated the achievements of several graduates. The highlight of the ceremony was the speech given by Obama.
“Congratulations to the HBCU class of 2020; Michelle and I are so proud of you,” he stated in his opening dialogue, according to Essence. “Graduating from college is a big achievement under any circumstances and so many of you overcame a lot to get here. You navigated challenges in and outside of the classroom. Many of you had to stretch to afford tuition and many of you are the first in your families to go to college.”
Obama mentioned the festive times that are a staple at several HBCUs.
“While our HBCUs are mostly known for an education rooted in academic rigor, community, and higher purpose, they also know how to turn up. Nobody shines quite like a senior on the yard in springtime. Springfest at schools like Howard and Morehouse; that’s the time when you get to strut your stuff a little bit.”
While also acknowledging past graduates who also attended an HBCU.
“Many of you could’ve attended any school in this country,” he said. “But you chose an HBCU, specifically because it would help you sow seeds of change. You chose to follow in the fearless footsteps of people who shook the system to its’ core. Civil rights icons like Thurgood Marshall and Dr. King; storytellers like Toni Morrison and Spike Lee.”
In conclusion, the former president offered the hope and encouragement that the graduates needed to hear in today’s climate.
“You’re the folks we’ve been waiting for to come along, that’s the power you hold,” he said. “I’m so proud of you and as you set out to change the world, we’ll be the wind in your back.”
You can view President Obama’s entire speech, here at #ShowMeYourWalk – HBCU Edition program.