My commencement speech

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - 9:12pm

Graduation caps in the air at 2019 University commencement

Graduation caps in the air at 2019 University commencement Buy this photo
Courtesy of Alexandria Pompei

Hello class of 2019

I come here today to not only speak about my story but to speak on our journey together and validate it.

Although each of our journeys have been different, we all fought with the same resiliency.

We have conquered so much and sitting here proves that whether it was going through tough classes, long nights, or lots of cramming. We got through it.

We even thought our summer experience with ALMA, CSP, or Bridge was going to be our college experience, but we quickly came to find out it wasn’t.

We sat in classes with people who did not look or talk like us.

We engaged in difficult conversations where we were tokenized

We experienced exclusion from this university, and with little knowledge on how to navigate it.

And, let’s not talk about the food

But, we rose together to create spaces for our community, to support one another.

Through these spaces we danced, laughed, and created many memories together.

And most importantly it gave everyone a home away from home

Because of your work, your efforts, and your time future Latinx students will no longer feel alone.

You have gained the skills needed to make a change in your own professional careers.

In this moment, I would like for you all to imagine in your head of who you want to become whether it is being an activist, a politician, or teacher (2 seconds) now imagine yourself in that position. I am standing here today to tell you, you can be that person and if you continue to live your life with the same resiliency you fought to create spaces for our community and achieve this degree you can achieve that image.

As you go into your professional careers, the statistics will always be against you. But, those statistics don’t know what is en tu corazon (points at heart). In here lies your passion, determination, and drive. And most importantly you have the people here in this room to support you on your next journey. Both combined your unstoppable.

I didn’t want to make this speech about me because I always strived throughout my work with La Casa and Latinidad Magazine to provide a voice to the voiceless pero mi familia esta aqui y tengo que ablar de mi un ponquito. Les quiero dicer a mis padres que sin ellos no estaria aqui. Ellos han trabajado en fabricas desde que cruzaron la frontera mas de 20 anos y con mucho amor y esfuerzo me sacaron adelante.

I am the girl from Hermosa community on the west side of Chicago, first generation Latina who made it. Y sin mi familia no estuviera aqui con ustedes. So quiero dicerles muchas gracias y los amos mucho.

I know many of you feel the same about your families. So, let’s give them a huge applause

At the end of this ceremony, I want you all to give them a huge hug

I want to reiterate how resilient our community and each one of you are

And make you understand how powerful your voice and actions are in creating change

The world is not ready for you but it needs you

You are the leaders of our generation and have paved the way for future generations.

Always go with your head held up high and take on the world.

Thank you