Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at the Tennessee State University’s class of 2022 commencement ceremony on Saturday, leaving the newly-degreed graduates with a somber message.
According to the Tennessean, while speaking at TSU’s Hale Stadium in Nashville, Harris touched on the eternal racial disparities intensified by the pandemic, the climate crisis, the war in Ukraine, and more recently, the threat of women’s reproductive rights as the future of Roe v. Wade looms in uncertainty.
“It is a world where long-established principles now rest on shaky ground,” Harris said during her first speech at an HBCU. “You graduate into an unsettled world both abroad and here at home.”
The sea of 500 blue-gowned undergrads listened to the bleak details the vice president reminded them that await in their futures just days after a leaked Roe v. Wade Supreme Court opinion that would overturn the landmark 1973 decision and ban abortion in the country.
“Here in the United States, we are once again forced to defend fundamental principles that we hoped were long settled; principles like the freedom to vote, the rights of women to make decisions about their own body, what constitutes the truth,” she said.
“Graduates, I look at this unsettled world and yes, I can see the challenges, but I’m here to tell you that I see the opportunities. The opportunities for your leadership. The future of our country and our world will be shaped by you.”
However, the nearly 19-minute speech from the vice president failed to mention perhaps the most relevant topic for the graduating class – student loans.
The Biden administration extended the student loans moratorium until Aug. 31, yet student loan relief has been on the docket since Biden’s presidential campaign.
Following Harris’ keynote speech, she was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in humane letters by the school’s President Glenda Glover.
“I’m now a Tiger!” she exclaimed.