Senator Booker to SC State Graduates: ‘Stand up and stay faithful’

Tuesday, May 21, 2019


ORANGEBURG, S.C. – On Friday, May 10, SC State University conferred degrees to nearly 500 graduates on the field of the Oliver C. Dawson Stadium. The crowd of supporters beamed with excitement as they waited to honor the graduates who were at the cusp of their undergraduate career.


Brig. Gen. Twanda YoungSenator and 2020 presidential hopeful, Cory Booker, energetically delivered his Commencement speech on Friday, offering uplifting words and encouraging graduates to always remember those who have paved the way.


“Life is not about the degrees you get, but the service you give. Everything you have is the result of the struggles of others. You worked hard. You slept little and you worked through failure. You cannot forget the debt you owe to those who came before you,” said Booker.


Booker acknowledged his father, who has imparted in the New Jersey senator to never forget the sacrifices made on his behalf.


“My degrees were paid for by the blood, sweat and tears of my ancestors,” said Booker.


He also spoke on issues that the nation faces each day- issues that are near and dear to him, such as gun violence and inequities endured by the African American community.`


“I worry about a nation where so many of our children are dying by gunfire. Black men are 6 percent of the population, but make up over 50 percent of homicide victims,” said Booker.


“What we suffer from in America is not about material things. It is poverty of empathy, poverty of compassion and poverty of action. The opposite of justice is not injustice; it is inaction, indifference and apathy. This world needs graduates like you,” he continued.


The presidential candidate voiced his dedication to serving those around him, along with ensuring that historically black colleges and universities get the support they deserve.


His speech concluded with stirring remarks, as he motivated and challenged the class of 2019 to stand up for what is right.


“Don’t just stand up for yourself, but stand up for other people. Every day, find a way to be there for someone in need,” he said.


He underscored the phrase, “Be faithful,” promoting the graduating class’s commitment to remaining dedicated.


“When you stand through resistance and pain, heartache and strain, make sure you stay faithful in kindness, love and the small things. Generations not yet born will feel your faith-will feel your love. Class of 2019, I love you. I believe in you. I see you. Stand up and stay faithful.”


SC State awarded Booker an honorary degree for making significant contributions in various arenas.


The senator’s words were not disregarded and the spirit of graduation has proven to linger on.


Recent SC State graduate, Thomas Blake, said “Graduation was everything I thought it would be. It was one of the best days I’ve ever had, and senator Booker is a very well- spoken individual whose words gave me some much-needed reassurance about my future,” said Blake.


“My time at SC State was an experience of growth. I did things that I never thought were possible.”