PROVIDENCE, RI (AP) — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday urged Brown University graduates to “hold on to your hope,” even in the face of the current darkness in the world. .
“In the midst of darkness, it would be easy to sink into apathy or despair. But we can’t. We can’t,” Pelosi said at the Ivy League school in Providence.
The California Democrat referenced the “senseless” shootings at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York – as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the U.S. Supreme Court pending ruling on abortion rights, January 6, 2021 insurrection, and voter suppression.
“You are graduating into a very different world,” she said, and praised the students for their bravery and resilience.
“Hope remains democracy’s most powerful weapon against oppression, against cynicism, against hatred,” she said.
Referencing President Abraham Lincoln’s efforts to unite the country during “one of America’s darkest hours,” Pelosi called on graduates “to help summon the finest angels in our nature to help heal the fractured soul of America”.
Pelosi was the keynote speaker at the Class of 2022 launch ceremony and one of nine people to receive honorary degrees over the three-day launch weekend. Recording artist Shaggy was also honored on Saturday for his work as a musician and philanthropist.