Television commentator and Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile urged Florida A&M University fall 2010 graduates to shoulder their responsibility and take up the struggle for a better future.
“Defend the freedom for your future and your children’s future,” Brazile said. “You are the generation we have been waiting for. Google is your god. Facebook is your Jedi.”
Speaking at the crowded Lawson Multipurpose Gym Friday night, Brazile invoked the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela and Mississippi voting rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer as she urged grads to shoulder their responsibility to those who have gone before.
“We marched so you can soar,” Brazile said. “Agitation for change is the duty of youth.”
An adjunct professor at Georgetown University, Brazile cautioned graduates that their education should continue even though their formal schooling has ended.
“You will never escape school work. The world is now your school work,” Brazile said. “The world has daily homework you will have to learn.”
During a speech that sometime bordered on politics, Brazile reminded her audience that it was 10 years ago this month that she, the then campaign manager for Vice President Al Gore presidential bid, was enmeshed in the lengthy recount in Tallahassee that led to the election of George W. Bush. But on Friday night, her thoughts were on another president, Barack Obama.
“Go out and make the change. Guard the change. Make sure you have the president’s back,” she continued. “You must stand for change. Continue to guard it. You owe it to those who laid down their lives.”
Brazile, a New Orleans native, is the founder of Brazile and Associates LLC, and the author of the best-selling memoir, Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics. She is also a syndicated columnist for United Media and TV political commentator for CNN and ABC. She also works on voter issues with the Democratic National Committee. In trying to inspire the new grads to greatness, Brazil recalled the words of a giant of Democratic politics, the late U.S Rep. Shirley Chisolm, the first African American woman to be elected to Congress.
“Service is the rent we pay for living on this earth,” said Brazile, quoting Chisolm’s famous dictum. “Your rent is now due. Pay it in full.”