Dr. Carlos Muñoz Speech to Chicano/a/Latino/a Graduation, UC Berkeley, 5/15/11
Thanks to the Chicano Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and in particular to the student activists of that generation who struggled to open the doors to these previously all white institutions, you are here tonight. In particular, if it were not for the 1969 “Third World Strike” that was organized by Chicano/a and other students of color, I and the rest of the Latino faculty and staff on this stage, would also not be here tonight.
Those of you who are graduating, and your families, have a lot of celebrating to do tonight. You have survived the academic rigors of this University and you have not forgotten where you came from!
Armed with the knowledge you have thus far earned you have the potential to become the kind of leader our state and our nation needs. The kind of leader that can build the bridges that connects all the diverse races, ethnicities, and cultures that are represented in our nation’s population. The kind of leader that will be committed to the building of an authentic Multiracial Democracy that will promote peace, social justice, environmental justice, and economic justice.
I want to share a Dream that has kept me going throughout my life of struggle and activism. It is my graduation gift to you to keep in mind as you develop into our community, state, and nation’s leaders.
My Dream is that Americans of all colors, religions, sexual preferences, men and women, the able and the disabled will give birth to an authentic Multiracial Democracy.
A Democracy that will promote a true racial and ethnic diversity and equality in everyday life beyond SYMBOLIC tokenism.
A Democracy that promotes economic justice and honors its workers, and values as equal, all immigrant workers whether they are documented or undocumented.
A Democracy that will promote social justice, environmental justice, religious tolerance, non-violence, and peace at home and abroad.
A Democracy with a government that will include a representative of every diverse group at the table of political power on behalf of the people, not the military-prison-corporate complex.
A Democracy with a national political multiparty electoral system where candidates for election include the poor and working class, not just those who are rich or middle class. With an electoral system where every vote will in fact be counted. No more Florida’s, no more Ohio’s, no more Bushes.
A Democracy where human needs are prioritized and not the needs of the rich and the corporations. Where health care and education are defined as Human Rights.
A Democracy that prioritizes youth as the most important Investment for the future of our nation and builds more schools instead of prisons.
MY DREAM WILL TAKE A LONG TIME TO COME TRUE. I WON’T LIVE LONG ENOUGH TO SEE IT COME TRUE, BUT YOU WILL, IF YOU HAVE A PASSION FOR PEACE, SOCIAL JUSTICE, ECONOMIC JUSTICE, AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE!
What I have learned in my lifetime is that struggle is life and life is struggle. But most importantly, that victory is in the struggle!
Congratulations to each and every one of you. Love, Peace, and Justice to you all!
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