Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I've heard the class of 2020 referred to as the "Chosen Ones." We have all seen the cartoon that takes us month by month through 2020, including threats of World War III, murder hornets, and the very real and world-changing COVID-19. I'm not sure what it means to be a "Chosen One" in the wake of the craziness that has been 2020 so far, but I do know this: the graduates of 2020 have had to overcome some significant hurdles to complete their schooling during the upheaval of a pandemic.
Throughout history, there have always been events of significant change that have marked time, and most change events bring human suffering. We often hear people say, "When bad things happen, look for the good." There are always good people. While COVID-19 has brought with it human suffering around the world, we haven't had to look long or hard for the good. The good has been loud; the good has been visible, and the graduates of 2020 have been part of that good. They give me hope for a future where divisiveness and racism are replaced by civility and kindness and where we are united by our common humanity.
The graduates of 2020 will not let us down. They have shown us that they are able to face uncertainty and roll with the punches. They have shown determination to deal with what life has put in front of them and to keep going. They have arrived at this huge life milestone resilient and ready to take on tomorrow, and we are proud, Mr. Speaker. The graduates of 2020 are globally united as the "Pandemic Class." The whole world is watching and cheering them on as they step into their future resilient, driven, passionate, and also hopeful. As they step into their future, Mr. Speaker, the class of 2020 stands in a global battle against a worldwide pandemic, climate change, racism, and massive income disparities. They stand at a fork in the road that challenges unity and strength of character and which demands advocating for the greater good.
To each of our graduates, I want to encourage you to enter the world with an open mind and a caring heart; be compassionate; help find ways to serve others, not run away from them; help to unite, not divide; help to build, not tear down; help support, not demean. If you do you, you'll find your own path to fulfillment and happiness, and, in doing so, your example will inspire the rest. Lend your unique voice and talents to your community and find a path that allows you to be fulfilled while uplifting others at the same time. It is hard to stand up against the flow of the masses and be brave through kindness, but it is possible. It feels good, and good breeds good, and, class of 2020, you are, oh, so good.
"Good" doesn't mean you have to do what people expect of you. "Good" means you have integrity. "Good" means you know your truth and your truth inspires those around you to share their own honest selves. So, as you begin to find your way in this world, know that you have the power and presence to drive change. You are the greater good, and you have within you the power to change this world for the better. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.