Congratulations to the 2016 Graduates: Now Go Make it Happen, We’ll Keep You Fly While Doing It

I came across this video last night and had to post. Donovan Livingson is a Harvard Graduate who recently gave an amazing speech at graduation, listen below, it's less than 5 minutes. View the entire transcript of the speech below after our 3 Urban Gentleman Career Looks:

 

Some of you are headed off to Wall Street for the 1st or 2nd time. Some of you will be educators, others may be creatives expressing themselves, while some may simply be corporate America soldiers– hustling and doing your thing until your purpose and vision become crystal clear. Whatever the job or career, look good doing it! People will take you more seriously, many will admire your style, and most importantly you'll feel good.

I chose 9 items below that can become a staple in various careers– whether it's a classic navy suit for the business man, perfectly ripped denim jeans for the creative, or chinos for the well-dressed teacher. Take your pick!

This is for your Class of 2016.

Congratulations – The Urban Gentleman is proud of you!

 

Donovan Livingson Harvard Graduate Speech

LIFT OFF

by Donovan Livingston

 

“Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin,

Is a great equalizer of the conditions of men.” – Horace Mann, 1848.

At the time of his remarks I couldn’t read — couldn’t write.

Any attempt to do so, punishable by death.

For generations we have known of knowledge’s infinite power.

Yet somehow, we’ve never questioned the keeper of the keys —

The guardians of information.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen more dividing and conquering

In this order of operations — a heinous miscalculation of reality.

For some, the only difference between a classroom and a plantation is time.

How many times must we be made to feel like quotas —

Like tokens in coined phrases? —

“Diversity. Inclusion”

There are days I feel like one, like only —

A lonely blossom in a briar patch of broken promises.

But I’ve always been a thorn in the side of injustice.

Disruptive. Talkative. A distraction.

With a passion that transcends the confines of my consciousness —

Beyond your curriculum, beyond your standards.

I stand here, a manifestation of love and pain,

With veins pumping revolution.

I am the strange fruit that grew too ripe for the poplar tree.

I am a DREAM Act, Dream Deferred incarnate.

I am a movement – an amalgam of memories America would care to forget

My past, alone won’t allow me to sit still.

So my body, like the mind

Cannot be contained.

As educators, rather than raising your voices

Over the rustling of our chains,

Take them off. Un-cuff us.

Unencumbered by the lumbering weight

Of poverty and privilege,

Policy and ignorance.

I was in the 7th grade, when Ms. Parker told me,

“Donovan, we can put your excess energy to good use!”

And she introduced me to the sound of my own voice.

She gave me a stage. A platform.

She told me that our stories are ladders

That make it easier for us to touch the stars.

So climb and grab them.

Keep climbing. Grab them.

Spill your emotions in the big dipper and pour out your soul.

Light up the world with your luminous allure.

To educate requires Galileo-like patience.

Today, when I look my students in the eyes, all I see are constellations.

If you take the time to connect the dots,

You can plot the true shape of their genius —

Shining in their darkest hour.

I look each of my students in the eyes,

And see the same light that aligned Orion’s Belt

And the pyramids of Giza.

I see the same twinkle

That guided Harriet to freedom.

I see them. Beneath their masks and mischief,

Exists an authentic frustration;

An enslavement to your standardized assessments.

At the core, none of us were meant to be common.

We were born to be comets,

Darting across space and time —

Leaving our mark as we crash into everything.

A crater is a reminder that something amazing happened here —

An indelible impact that shook up the world.

Are we not astronomers — looking for the next shooting star?

I teach in hopes of turning content, into rocket ships —

Tribulations into telescopes,

So a child can see their potential from right where they stand.

An injustice is telling them they are stars

Without acknowledging night that surrounds them.

Injustice is telling them education is the key

While you continue to change the locks.

Education is no equalizer —

Rather, it is the sleep that precedes the American Dream.

So wake up — wake up! Lift your voices

Until you’ve patched every hole in a child’s broken sky.

Wake up every child so they know of their celestial potential.

I’ve been a Black hole in the classroom for far too long;

Absorbing everything, without allowing my light escape.

But those days are done. I belong among the stars.

And so do you. And so do they.

Together, we can inspire galaxies of greatness

For generations to come.

No, sky is not the limit. It is only the beginning.

Lift off.

via: Harvard News

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