We are proud of you, and so should you be of yourselves. High School graduation reflects your accomplishment following 12 years of hard work, perseverance, as well as overcoming many challenges, and at times setbacks, as none of us are able to display strengths in every academic arena. Equally there have been joys in friendships, and at times, disappointments in this important aspect of your educational experience. And some may have had additional challenges and burdens as well to overcome – whether it be financial hardship, family stress, losses of family members and/or friends, fears of loss related to families immigration status, or the need for multiple moves and schools – among the many varied hardships – over which you adapted, managed and kept your eyes on the prize! Your community would like to honor all of you, and the struggles you overcame to triumph in 2020! Congratulations!
You deserved your graduation ceremonies, your Grad Nite parties, Senior Breakfasts and Senior trips. And you deserved to be with your families and friends in celebration of this wonderful occasion. We feel your disappointment, and hope that this Fall some of you may have those postponed events to look forward to. Others are celebrating in new and varied ways today. And these celebrations are not the same, but they are in the desire to honor you and your achievement.
And now that you have officially graduated from childhood, what does this world hold for you? You may also feel disappointed in this- an uprooted world in chaos and uncertainty awaits you. A world, on the surface, very different from just 6 months ago. Your college or other post-graduate plans may be on hold, or altered. It will definitely be a different way of starting your next phase. And the world has laid open its vulnerability, its wounds, its failings and its darkside- for us all to see. Today nothing is hiding beneath the surface – to be guessed at. You can plainly see the work that needs to be done to heal our nation and the world. Meaningful work awaits you on every front: Public Health, Economic Recovery, Environmental work, and Social and Racial justice- which includes equal access to quality healthcare, to safe housing, to education without barriers, to meaningful jobs with living wages and benefits of paid sick leave, among the top priorities.
Public Safety, and reversing the institutionalized systemic racism – require our focused attention, commitment and struggle to achieve. Yes there is much to do- and your work will be vital to creating the lasting change and recovery this nation needs, and you are just the right generation for the task. Your generation is a truly diverse American generation. There probably will never be a more important time – for young people to graduate and join the march – to achieve lasting civil rights, true equality and freedom for all- economic, environmental, social and racial justice.
We welcome your voices, your hearts and your abilities to overcome prejudice and tough challenges, to create the world of our future – that we all deserve. Your time is now.
Kate Schwartz is the Democratic-party endorsed candidate for the Assembly, 75th District.