Alicia Keys delivered an optimistic speech to students everywhere.
“Dear Class of 2020, congratulations! You’ve accomplished something remarkable,” Keys began. “But let’s be honest, it’s been a hard week, and a hard month and a hard year. Right now, it may not feel like there’s much to celebrate, and that’s okay. It’s okay to not be okay right now.”
She continued, addressing the state of civil unrest in America and the protests against racial injustice worldwide.
“I know so many of you are not thinking about your time at school, you’re thinking about what’s happening right now in the present,” she said. “You’re thinking about marching and protesting and making sure your voices are heard in a time where we cannot be silent. And I feel you, so much. The world feels broken right now. It is broken right now in so many ways, but you’re taking your heartbreak and your outrage and you’re putting it into action and you are showing that your generation is the one that’s gonna heal this. And I promise to always be by your side no matter where the fight for justice takes us next.”
Keys continued, encouraging students to use their education and perspective to make the world a better place.
“The pain we’re experiencing now, it’s not new, but it feels different this time, right?” she asked. “I think for the first time, all of us, no matter what we look like or where we’re from, we can see so clearly what injustice looks like. Now, we all can choose how to respond. The change only happens if all of us educate ourselves, if we hold each other accountable when we register to vote and make sure our voices are heard in November.”
The singer encouraged for young people to approach their lives through empathy.
“When all of us recognize our biases and find ways to empathize with people that look different than us or seem different than us on the surface, that’s the key right there,” Keys explained. “Empathize with those that seem different on the surface. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being the inspiration, for inspiring the world to see our collective humanity. But right now, at this moment, I hope that you can laugh, smile, allow yourself the time to reflect on all your accomplishments and all that’s coming.”
Keys then encouraged graduates to throw their cap—or whatever hat they had—into the air in celebration.
“You my friends, you are graduates in the most powerful time to be coming of age,” she said. “And there’s nothing and no one that can stop you from changing the world. I see you. You’re unstoppable. We honor you and celebrate you.”
#DearClassof2020 As @AliciaKeys says it’s been a hard year, but you’re showing that your generation will turn outrage into action. Before we get back to work, we hope you will join us & a few friends to recharge and honor your achievement – you graduated https://t.co/dL6UgwLFWL pic.twitter.com/0OcKLitKcc
— YouTube (@YouTube) June 7, 2020