President Joe Biden on Saturday afternoon spoke to graduating students nationwide as the 2021 school year draws to a close. The president mentioned that, in his opinion, racism and climate change are “the greatest crises of our time.”
“Congratulations to the Class of 2021. You’re graduating at an inflection point in our nation’s history – and you have a genuine opportunity to change the trajectory of our country. Seize this moment. I can’t wait to see what you accomplish,” Biden tweeted Saturday, captioning the uploaded graduation speech.
“Congratulations,” says Biden. “I’m proud of each and every one of you.”
“This past year has been an extraordinarily difficult year for this country and the world. Times of loss and anxiety and disruption, and I know you felt it too. Losing loved ones and friends, losing time with each other, but you’ve been incredibly resilient, and you’re ready for what comes next,” Biden states in the video.
“No graduating class gets to choose the world in which they graduate. Every class enters the history of the nation up to the point that has been written by others.”
“But few classes, once in every few generations, enters at a point in our history where it actually has a chance to change the trajectory of the country,” he adds.
“Just three years after I stood where you are standing, two of my political heroes, Dr. King and Robert Kennedy, were gunned down. The Vietnam War divided the nation and divided families. We were in the midst of a great movement for civil rights, women’s rights and environmental rights,” Biden says to the camera.
Biden then ties the 1960s to the present-day world, saying that the change that will come this time will be even greater. “We faced an inflection point, and we did our best to seize that moment, because things were changing so rapidly. And now, you face another inflection point,” Biden pivots.
“As we put this pandemic behind us, rebuild our economy, root out systemic racism and tackle climate change, we are addressing the great crises of our time with a greater sense of purpose than ever before,” Biden claims.
“And, because of you, your generation, I’ve never been more optimistic than I am today. You represent one of the most gifted and talented and well-educated generations in American history, and you’re gonna see more change in the next 10 years than we saw in the last 50 years,” he tells the young viewers.
“But it’s gonna be up to you, it’s gonna be up to you to translate that unprecedented change into a greater measure of happiness and prosperity, for not only you and our nation but for the world around you. And I know you will.”
Biden then quoted Irish poet Seamus Heaney who once wrote: “History says, Don’t hope on this side of the grave. But then, once in a lifetime, the longed-for tidal wave of justice can rise up and hope and history can rhyme.”
“Graduates, you have a chance to make hope and history rhyme, so go out and do what you can. May God bless you and your families,” Biden concluded.