We are in an unprecedented time in our country. This will be one of the defining moments of your life. When you are an adult, you will remember this moment in history. Many of you were not old enough or even born when we witnessed the first Black man as President of the United States. This time around, you may have an opportunity to see a Black woman elected as Vice President of the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many of you are receiving your education. The murder of Black people at police officers’ hands has robbed you of youth as you had to read about how these senseless murders or see them on video.
I do want you to know there are people all over our country working to make the world better. We are trying to create a world for adults; you are not still fighting the battles that those before us were fighting. This journey that we are on does have a destination. The destination is as simple as the dream Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had spoken about over 50 years ago. Our destination is where you will be judged by your character’s content and not the color of your skin, where your skin does not give someone the license to murder you.
We dream for you a future far brighter than the reality many of you live. We want all of you, regardless of the zip code where you live, to receive an education that allows you to live the life you desire and deserve. We dream of breaking generational cycles of poverty. Right now, many of your schools are setting you on the path to prison or the grave and not the path to college. We owe it to you to do better. We must make sure that all our children attend a school that prepares them for college. Whether or not you choose college as your destination, the school must prepare you for it anyway.
My promise to you is to do my part. My promise is to do what I can within my space and my locus of control to be part of the solution and not the problem. My promise is to inspire other adults to do the same. It will take a collection of us to fix the problems that we have created, so you are not cleaning up the messes that we have made. I promise always to believe that you can be whatever you want if you set your mind to be that person.
I want to know the times we live in are just temporary; we have all in our generation experienced something that we thought would last forever. I want you to know that this current reality is not an indication of the future that you will experience. This is just a bump in life that we all experience. I want you to take this bump and keep moving. Do not let this bump knock off your path or steer you away from your purpose. The reason you have to stay focused is that there will be a generation that will depend on you to carry the torch. The only way we can get to our final destination is that we all must do our part and run our race while we have the torch.