tv Cynthia Nixon Commencement at Helene Fuld Nursing School CSPAN May 26, 2018 8:32pm-8:48pm EDT
love your children. your success as a family, our success as a society, depends on what happens inside your house." i leave you with those words because i believe they are even truer today than they were in 1990. cherish those around you. always look upward towards the challenges around you, and better your community. you will be a better person, but also build a lasting society that is better for future generations. and with that, i congratulate the class of 2018 on this momentous occasion on fulfilling your journey to graduation. god bless you and go braves. [applause] [cheers and applause] and activisttress
cynthia nixon gave this year's commencement address to the graduating class of the helene of nursing. she discussed the importance of the nursing profession, her mother's fight against cancer, and the need for a more equitable system. she is currently running to be governor of new york. her remarks are just under 18 minutes. [applause] thank you. thank you so much. hello everybody. robinson and to the faculty, alumni, friends, family, and to the 119 graduates of 2018. [cheers and applause] it is really an honor to be in your presence today. thank you for inviting me. nixon, and yes, i am running for governor of new york state. [cheers and applause]
not here todayam to give a campaign speech. today is about you. and we are here to celebrate you and your success. you are not sitting here today because this was an easy path or an obvious path. nothing has been handed to you. you aimed high. and you worked very hard, and you earned this. congratulations. [applause] frankly you don't need me here to make today's special. today is special enough already. and you certainly don't need a political candidate to tell you how valuable nurses are and that we desperately need more of you. [applause] through long hours and holidaysd weekends and nurses care for some of our most
vulnerable people in their most vulnerable state. nurses are there for some of the most pivotal moments of our lives. i have had very good expense with the doctors in my life, i am lucky to say, but whether it was the births of my three children, my mother's cancer, or the deaths of two very dear friends from aids, it was always the nurses who were my major allies and the people who i could trust and turned to date in and day out when the path forward seemed unclear. it was a nurse who helped both my wife and i learned to breast-feed, a nurse who gently but firmly insisted she should take the baby away so we should taught me toe who recognize the signs that the person i love was in their final days, or even in their final hours, of life. nurses do so much beyond
providing actual physical care. you educate patients, and you help them make important decisions. you advocate for your patience. you provide emotional support and you counsel families through difficult times. nurses have to be not only knowledgeable, but compassionate. patient-centered in a system that is all too often not. there is a reason nurses are considered the most trusted profession in america. i'm pretty sure politicians are a close second, but i will have to double check. [laughter] cynthia: while you are taking care of us, we should make sure our government is doing everything it can to be sure that you can take care of yourself and your families, and that means affordable childcare. , and a public education
good and affordable place to leastand last but not access to affordable health care of your own. [applause] was 13 and myi mother was 49 she got breast cancer. she found the lump herself. she said she was used to doing rest self exams, feeling around and assessing odd textures and should i be concerned about these lumps and bumps, but my mother said as soon as she felt this one, she knew it was different, and not in a good way. washer the biggest concern not the lump itself, but the fact she was unemployed at the time and had no health insurance. she went out and got herself a job as quickly as she could, not caring particularly whether the job was her dream come and
waited a number of weeks before going to the doctor, figuring if she started work on a monday and went to the doctor and got diagnosed on a tuesday that might make them suspicious and could very easily get her thrown off her health insurance as her cancer would have been a pre-existing condition. for many people that calculation would have been torturous to stomach, but my mother was the queen of you do what you have to do to get things done, a quality she and i share. my mother approached her cancer not as a catastrophe in the but as a problem to be solved. i remember clearly how she told 13-year-old me i have cancer, but you don't need to be scared. i know i am not going to die. i am going to find the right doctor, do the right treatments, and everything is going to be fine, and it was. [applause] her attitude and her proactive approach helped me so much decades later when i was
diagnosed with breast cancer myself. my wife could not understand my belief that everything was going to be ok, but then she had not n nixons don't worry it's this cancer course. way before her cancer, i learned everything i know about standing up and fighting back from my mother, and part of her developing that ability to fight back was becoming a mother, so maybe in a funny way she learned it from me, too. when i was little, my dad was really troubled and our house could be a scary place. my mother lived with it for many years before i was warned, like so many women who are strong and confident in the world, it is not always easy in their own homes. saw theot until she effect that his yelling and screaming had on me that my mother made up her mind that she had to make him leave, and she did. she made him leave to save me.
she could not just end up for herself, so she stood up for both of us and fought back. one-bedroomved to a walk-up where i grew up. it was hard sometimes, but it was so much better. i remember the day my mother told me she had investigated our rent and discover the landlord had been overcharging us since we had moved in. she was angry at him for cheating as when the rent had been so hard for her to come by, but more than that she was proud of herself. she was proud of herself for catching him at it and getting our rent reduced and retroactively holding him accountable. [applause] my mother, like so many women and strong mothers facing impossible odds inside the home and outside the home, stood up , andought back and won the little girl watching her
absorb that lesson that when you stand up with courage, what you can achieve may surprise even you, and that is what i want to share with you here today. never doubt that you can make a enough for yourself in this world. [applause] cynthia: and what you want to fight for and advocate for is worth saying and worth hearing. ,peak up, make your voice heard whether you are being advocates for your patients or ad advocates for a more equitable health care system. you are on the front lines and witnessing the shortcomings of our health care system firsthand. we need judicial that knowledge and be part of this conversation about how we can improve health care in this country and make it available for all of us. because our health care system is changing.
it has to. the status quo is unsustainable. each of you can play a role in what comes next. will it be a more equitable system that provides higher quality patient-centered care for everybody at a lower cost, or a system in which only the wealthy can afford quality medical care? in other words, the future of health care is in your hands, no pressure. if this last year and a half has made anything clear, it is this, we can't just count on politicians to fix things. we can't leave it up to our elected leaders to solve inequality or end racial injustice. each one of us has to get involved and do our part if we to do itge, we have ourselves, whether protesting anti-immigrant policies, organizing for women's rights, refusing to give polluters our business am a demonstrating against police violence, or even taking the leap to run for
office ourselves. got first involved in politics not as a candidate, but as a parent, a parent who wanted better schools for my kids and all our kids, just like you want to better health care system for your patients. some of the greatest changemakers in our history never held elected office and never worked from within the political system, but had a great effect nonetheless. and that is why i have been so inspired by people, especially strong and resilient women, who had been standing up around the country and fighting back over these past few years, ordinary people who are saying enough is enough. to solve,g problems and i am so inspired by the women all over america who are diving into the system to fix it themselves. the record number of women running for office this year, m a gonzalez and the students of chicago, the youth of
igniting a nation to end gun violence in our schools and on our streets, the black women of alabama whose tenacious, creative, relentless organizing cap a pedophile out of the senate and put the orange man in the white house on his heels. the dreamers who are saying loudly and clearly that they are undocumented, unafraid, and here to stay. [cheers and applause] the black lives matter activists demanding justice. and police accountability. the people of puerto rico have been marching on the island and here in new york, protesting being saddled by death that has forced-- debt that has them to cut education and basic services. and the women from hollywood to washington and everywhere in between who followed the lead to and times up for
sexual harassment and violence against women. taking a story about monsters and turned it into a story about heroines, whose discontent with the world before them has stirred them to actions that are changing all of our world. florence nightingale once said, "were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better." our world is reaching something better today because of them, and our world is reaching something better today because of you. [cheers and applause] because of your achievement here today and because of the commitment you , a lifelong commitment to something bigger than you, to a life of service and caring and healing.
we are at a watershed moment in our nation's history. we are at a moment of profound discontent, but if we approach it the right way, it can be a moment of profound change. to are at a watershedo moment that would change you and the families forever changed for knowing you. treasure this moment. exult in it. feel the pride and the power and the responsibility that you own graduates,rses, as as citizens. because with every passing day i am more aware of my mother's lesson, that we all have it in us to be agents of change. we just have to go out ourselves it.seize
thank you, and congratulations. [cheers and applause] announcer: washington post publisher fred ryan returned to his alma mater him of the university of southern california, to address law school graduates, where he talked about tech innovation, attacks on journalism, the rule of law, and internet privacy. mr. ryan is the former president and ceo of politico and served as chief of staff to ronald reagan after his presidency. [applause] dean, thankhank you you class of 2018 for that warm welcome to usc. it is great to be with you on this special day. just to assure you that life continues after law school, in fact long after law school, i would like to point out that several members of my class, the class of 1980, are here tonight. thank you for joining us. [applause]