In her valedictorian speech for the Hancock College Prep's virtual graduation ceremony, Chicago Public Schools graduate Luria Tapia emphasized that "earning this high school diploma means more than earning a piece of paper. Earning this diploma means perseverance but not just through high school. We lived in the era of school shootings. For the past four years, we lived in Trump's America. And now, we are living in a pandemic. Nonetheless, we went to school."
She pushed graduates to be optimistic by saying, "I hope when we look back on life, we won’t look back on the things we lost or missed out on but on the way we learned more about ourselves and our potential during this time more than ever before."
Because "George Floyd lost his life as a result of police brutality" and because of "a history of systemic oppression that has consistently worked against people of color, those of the LGBTQ+ community, and anyone who is different for that matter," Tapia urged graduates to "rise to the occasion to make positive change. If there was a 'time' for us," Tapia said, "I would say that time has officially arrived."
Most importantly, Tapia highlighted how the class of 2020 must "listen to the truth that's inside of you and ask yourself: what matters most in my life and what am I doing about the things that matter most to me? Until we know those answers, keep searching. And when you do know, please share it with someone, anyone, and everyone--even if they don’t want to listen."
Listen to her speech:
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