tv [untitled] May 31, 2012 2:00pm-2:30pm EDT
25,000. in washington and at howard, duchlt urell continues to treat democracy as a verb. it requires action, not just admiring. like many he is the first in his family to go to college. he came to howard and to washington around the same time that i did. president obama and i are both hoping to stay in d.c. for another four years. [ applause ] and i hope durell will be sticking around as well. in fact, working with us starting this summer. [ applause ] i have confidence in duree and in every single one of you because you don't get through howard without hard work and overcoming challenges. overcome the bison web and overwrite slips. you survived the snowmageddon
blizzard of 2010. and amp a short 14 years of waiting, the football team beat hampton. and morehouse! and your lady bison went all the way to the final, the meac basketball tournament championship. and made it to the finals. afro blue is more than a group of voices. they combine excellence with commitment, as howard's ambassadors, they've also sang vocal jazz to raise money to alleviate famine and malnutrition in somalia. at howard, afro blues commitment to social justice is widely, widely shared. nearly 400 howard students volunteered at the alternative spring break program in five cities this spring. you raised over $80,000 to
support service in five communities. you slept on the floors of churches and shelters to tackle the tough, tough issues, like the devastating level of gun violence in my home town of chicago and literacy in detroit. howard students have a long history of doinging what they think is right and not just what they are told. you insist on fighting inequity from creating the viral video campaign, am i suspicious, to counteract the operational profiling of trayvon martin and his hoodie to challenging campus policies. now i give a commencement speeches, i know i'm speaking to two audiences. the grad whooits want a short speech to get to celebrating right away, but your parents, your aunts, uncles and grandparents and professors, they're not in such a rush. they say maybe not so fast, mr. secretary. i've been waiting a long time for this day. we bought this lunch. please, take your time.
and since tomorrow's mother's day, i'm grog to listoing to li mothers and aunts and grandmothers in the audience and take just a few more minutes here. seeing your child in a cap and gown, earning a howard degree, that's about the best mother's day gift that i can imagine. [ applause ] and if i can leave you with two messages today, the first would be to pursue your passion in the years ahead. experience the life-altering opportunity to find what you love and stick with it. even if you may have to go down some unexpected or unconventional path. the second piece of advice i would pass on is to continue the powerful howard tradition of giving something back. of paying it forward. when marian wright adelman gave the commencement in the 1990 she said profoundly service is the rent that each of us pays for living. your goal in life can't just be
to do well for yourself. i love howard's motto. truth and service. it's not truth or service. truth and service, and as dr. king said, everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. i know that giving back is easier to preach than to practice. many of you have student loans to pay off. and you're concerned about the tough job market, and it's lard to take more rewarding job that pays less to think about giving back when you have those loans and other challenges to face. but despite those, life will ultimately be richer and more rewarding if you pursue a passion in your career. believe in your talent, and you can absolutely accomplish the unexpected. billionaire investor warren buffett said if you take a job you love, you will jump out of bed every morning. so don't wait. don't wait until your old age top do what you love. don't look back and say, i wish
i had done it different, but done it sooner. i've always had two loves. basketball and education. and 25 years after i graduated, those are the only jobs i've ever had. and though my career path followed an unconventional route, because i didn't end up making the boston celtics, i did end up playing basketball in australia. that's actually where i met my wife. it's funny how things can turn out. we're blessed to have two wonderful children. a 10-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son. i've had friends make a lot more money than me, but i think i've been so lucky to wake up every single day and to do something i care passionately about. i wouldn't change a thing. [ applause ] so when you leave here, run for office, or volunteer at local school, or coach a teach. even if it sometimes seem the tougher path to take. find what you love. find your own genius. find out what you would get up
and do every single day, even if you weren't getting a paycheck, and whatever that calling is, pursue it, and pursue it with all your heart. i recognize, of course, getting a job is very important. it's a big, and a necessary step, but it's every bit as important to be an informed and engaged citizen and participant in our democracy. president obama's election four years ago showed that america has come a long, long way as a nation. everyone here knows we still have a long way to go to fulfill dr. king's dream and the american promise. we are not in a post-racial america. not yet. [ applause ] we'll be closer to fulfilling that dream when more black and brown children enter kindergarten ready to read. we will have arrived when more children have fathers actively engaged in their lives when more black ben by their mid-30s have
college degrees and not criminal records. [ applause ] we will have arrived when our schools are less segregated and less isolated racially when dr. king was assassinated instead of more selling gra gated as they are in fact today. and we will have arrived when an innocent black teenager in a hoodie is not somehow a criminal suspect. [ applause ] the truth is that in the years ahead, america will desperately need your leadership. there are so many battles that you must help fight, and to make sure we win. the poll tests and lit really tests once used to bar blacks from voting, those may be gone, but just since the beginning of 2011, in this past year, 17 states, one therpd of our nation, have passed laws that restrict the right to vote. most of these new laws require citizens to show a government issued photo i.d. before being allowed to cast a ballot. and it's no secret the sponsors of those laws know, they know,
that black and hispanic voters are overrepresent pd among citizens without a government issued >> i i.d. how is this allowed to happen? our nation is similarly engaged in a great debate about education right now. it not a theoretical or academic debate. it's a debate that will have a big impact on the future of pell grant scholarships and student loans. president obama and i both believe that education is a public good. colleges shouldn't be reserved for only those who can afford it. in fact, investing in education is the best investment america can make to bolster our competitiveness in a knowledge-based global economy. [ applause ] simply put if we don't invest today, we as families, we as a community and we as nation will lose tomorrow. yet we know not everyone in congress agrees with that. ship see student aid from middle class and working and poor families as an expense that should be cut back in tough
times. not an investment in the future. one recent presidential candidate even calmed president obama a snob for wanting more folks to go on to college. getting an education isn't snobbery. it's the ultimate act of self-empowerment. [ applause ] the pursuit of knowledge is a sacred journey people have literally died for. there was a time in this nation's history when you could be whipped and beaten for teaching a slave how to read. why was that? because everybody knew that knowledge is power. and while you can lose many things in life, an education can never, never be taken away from you. [ applause ] i look out of at this amazing scene today, i don't see any snobs out there. i see students and family whose have worked hard and sacrificed and saved to send their children to howard university. i see mothers and fathers with
sons and daughters who will be the first in their family to graduate from college. i see hard-working, committed students, who achieved their dreams of earning a howard degree with a help of pell grants and with the help of student loans. one of america's greatest writers and a howard alumnus beautifully captured the pow irof a college education when she described what it was like for her to hear howard's alma mater. she said, and i quote, my soul stood on tiptoe and stretched up to take in all that it meant. i wanted to be worthy, of standing there, under the shadow of the hovering spirit of howard. i felt the ladder beneath my feet. i felt the ladder beneath my feet. yes, she felt the sturdy rungs of that had ladder built by those that had come before her. she understood education was a column, one she couldn't have mapd without those who preceded her and without whose memory she
honored. as you leave howard i hope you'll always fieeel that ladde beneath your feet. there's ways to thank those who came befory and come after you climbing that ladder. don't take my word for it. ask your fellow howard students graduates here today. ask victoria, organized a benefit concert at howard to raise more than $17,000 for the relief effort and then took a trip to haiti to help on the ground in two orphanages. please ask april vance who started a nonprofit proifing desperate needed mentors for middle and high school students in foster care. more than 1960 students now in the d.c. area are enrolled in her program. ask chemical engineering major ms. bailey. the white house pick herd as a champion of change for encouraging more women and girls to go into science and technology and engineering and mathematics.
the stent fields we know so many of the jobs in the future will entail. she is president of the howard chapter of engineers without borders. and i hope many of you who leave here today will think about how you can strengthen our education system. especially for children of color. there are so many ways to give back. teach. become a principal. become a superintendent. mentor children. shape policy. become an advocate. please, ask michael powell who got his masters degree at howard school of education. when michael graduated from college, he first became a d.c. firefighter, but he came from a family where you were either a preacher or a teacher, and before long, he felt the call of the classroom. michael went on to win an outstanding young educators award for his work as assistant principal at an elementary school in upper marlboro, maryland. he worked tirelessly to help the whole child. he created the no child left
inside program, to excite children's interests in environmental science. his students have planted more than 1,500 trees and maintained historic trails. he didn't stop there. he created a father's group and after the big blizzard in 2010, fathers got together and shoveled a mile of sidewalk so their children could walk to school. one father had not seen his son since he was born. when the son sent home an invitation to attend the gathering, his father came and started meeting with his child, visiting with his child, working with his child every week and his son is now on the honor roll. finally -- [ applause ] finally, ask andreevens, like michael powell, he didn't start as a feature. he was a district sales manager. heard about howard's ready to teach program which prepares african-american men to become teachers in five urban school districts. today with less than 2% of our nations teachers being black
males we need support and expand programs like raise to teach. andres school in houston didn't have a library. so every week, andre went to the public library and carefully chose books for second graders and brought them back to the classroom. he newspaper that none of us can be truly free if we cannot read. since 2007, howard's ready to teach program has received 780 applicants for 80 slots and already it has produced four teachers of the year, one is andreevens. i would love many of you to follow until their footsteps. [ applause ] four short years ago when you arrived at howard, barack obama was running for president. and today, he knows that our work is far from done. he knows that the future holds big challenge, bill challenges, and will require difficult choices and real sacrifice. but he also knows that our
future is incredibly bright because of young people like all of you with the skill, the creativity, the tenacity, the work ethic and the passion to bring about real and enduring change. i'll never forget that november night four years ago. i know none of you will either. when the election was called students in the center jumped for joy, hugged one another and they wept. the president's election shattered barriers few dreamed would ever be broken in our lifetimes, but there's still barriers ahead. i have every faith in your generation that you will break that. as the president said when he spoke at howard's convocation in 2007, one man, one man does not make a movement. only all of you together do that. so as you leave today, savor the moment. cherish the celebration. cherish your family and your friends, but, please, always remember you will always stand on the shoulders of giants. today you are graduates from
howard. tomorrow, you will face new opportunities and new challenges. when bear yers rise up to meet you and when you start to question and doubt whether you have what it takes to succeed, remember that you are the proud and the prepared graduates of howard university. no matter how high you climb, no matter how high you reach, you will always, always feel that ladder beneath your feet. i cannot be more proud of each and every one of you. congratulations, and best of luck. [ cheers and applause ] subcommittee members still on the house floor voting that just wrapped up the last in a series of votes. the house just voted to reject a bill outlawing abortions on
fetus, based on gender. house moving on to intelligence programs and other series of votes scheduled about 5:00. this hearing is focusing on oil and gas drilling technique known at fracking which has seen a recent boom in paennsylvania an other areas east of the mississippi. the committee is looking into the obama administration of domestic energy production. while we wait for members to reconvene, yore commencement address. supreme court justice sonya society mare told graduate her story growing up in public housing in the bronx to become a supreme court justice. she delivered this at yankee stadium earlier this month in new york city. [ cheers and applause ] >> this is awesome.
[ cheers and applause ] there are graduates, families and friends here today from all 50 states and from around the world. i suspect that having this ceremony at yankee stadium may not be so meaningful for the many of you who are not from new york. or the few misguided of you like david brooks who root for the mets. [ applause ] but as you've heard, i grew up in a public housing project in the bronx just a few miles away from the old yankee stadium, the house that babe ruth built. so for me, this event at the new
stadium is momentous. [ cheers and applause ] nothing in my childhood hinted to me that i would be in a positionship day to stand on this field and speak to such a large crowd. as a child, i only saw the stadium on television when i watched baseball games next to my dad on the sofa. so it is not hard to understand how delighted i am to be here with you today. in thinking about today, i have experienced many emotions, but five capture the essence of my feelings. humility -- excitement -- challenge --
gratitude and engagement. these emotions are mine, too, and i hope is, or will become, your attitude about your futures. first, i have felt humility. i am humbled to receive an honorary degree from nyu. i am especially grateful that this honor has been bestowed on me during the presidential tenure of john sexton, an old friend from his days as dean of the new york law school, and by a distinguished board of trustees led by martin lipton. i am so glad john is wearing a yankee cap. my most enduring memory of john is his coming to a formal saturday luncheon meeting at the law school dressed in jeans and
sneakers, sporting a yankee cap a after watching his daughter katie playing softball. knowing john, i bet it is the same cap he is wearing today. i just hope he washed it. many of us take for granted that we have graduated for college. we forget that for many of our parents and grandparents, college was an unattainable dream. it is still a dream for many even here in the united states. you are all privileged to have received the education that nyu offer, and i hope that you will always treasure that gift as much as i treasure my degree. [ cheers and applause ] i am also deeply humbled to
share this honor with father patrick du bois, david brooks and charles weisman. three men who have helped us better to understand our history and the nature and social worlds we live in. i am fortunate, as you are, to share this day with them. second, i have felt excitement in returning to new york. my new home is washington, d.c. is lovely, and i have been warmly welcomed by my new colleague, the court family, and the residence of my new city. but every time i cross a bridge or tunnel to return to new york for a visit, my heart sighs with joy. i love this city. and all it has given me. [ applause ]
some of you came to new york for the first time to attend nyu and a very few of you may never return, but i promise you, new york is now a permanent participate of who you are. in the middle of a new york city street, stand there, and you sense immediately the magnitude of this city. i remember coming to manhattan as a child to visit the empire state building, looking up and being amazed that i could not see its top. walk around manhattan and you will inevitably see tourists craning their necks upwards to find the tops of buildings and bumping into new yorkers hurrying somewhere. the feeling of bigness can be overwhelming initially, but there is a magic in being a part of the city once you have lived here. i love having new york in me. i hope that you will always
carry with you the excitement of your student days in the city. the professors who opened your minds to new experiences. the life friends you have made, and the joy of basking in the knowledge of how much you and your families have done to earn today's celebration. i also hope that the city has left you with the emotion of constant challenge it invokes in me. and that is the third emotion i want to talk about. challenge. many complain of the hustle and bustle of new york city. after i graduated from law school, i loved for a couple of years in a suburban area in new jersey, and commuted to work at the district attorneys office in lower manhattan. the week i came to my senses and moved back to the city, i was
walking its streets when a fire engine and police car screeched by with sirens blazing, and a man began to howl next to me. the cacophony of new york is as overwhelming at times as its sighs. nothing is small in this city. everything is large, big and noisy, including its problems. yet the city does not merely survive. it thrives. having been a part of the fabric of this city, you will always carry its energy inside you, and the city will challenge you to do big things, to accomplish as much as you can, to work at bettering the world in every way you know how. so how do you do that? i don't know.
i hope your education has taught you not to be afraid to add nmi that you don't have all the answers. it might be the most important lesson of your schooling. every one of you has had a moment in your time at nyu when a new thought, insight or piece of knowledge excited you. find more of those moments. the key to success is continuously maintaining an ever-present curiosity. openness to enjoy and learning new things. when i was a child, my dreams were simple. i dreamed first about graduating from college. up to that point, none of my family in new york had done that. then i grew bold and dreamed about becoming a lawyer and perhaps some day a judge.
but the only kind of judge i knew was a child judge on "perry mason." i did not know what the supreme court was, and you can't aspire to do things you don't know about. so how did i become a supreme court justice? how did steve jobs who grew up in an era when there were no pcs create apple? one of the most innovative companies in history. steve jobs, who recently passed away was a college dropout who was fired from apple during his first tenure there. in a commencement speech at stanford university in 2005, he talked about three ingredients to his success. first, trusting his gut. second, liking what he chose to do. and three, living each day as if it were his last. his advice and the advice i
offer you is not a map for your future, but an attitude about your future. that attitude will let you find satisfaction in the choices you make, and achieve dreams you never imagined. for me, curiosity about the world and people i interacted with and maintaining an excitement about new learning propel immediate forward in my career. in law school, i studied international law. i met marv morganthau, the famed manhattan attorney completely by chance. i was wandering the halls of my law school wllhen i spied a tab of food in the back of the room and decided to sit in to hear bob, the last speaker being introduced. at the food line -- the rest of justice sotomayor's speech you can watch