I was incredibly honored to give the 101st Commencement Ceremony speech this year to 1,475 graduates of the College of San Mateo.
This exceptional class joined the proud legacy of the College of San Mateo, and included 31 veterans and 169 Promise Scholar students, dozens of first generation graduates and foster youth, and 18 international students from 10 difference countries. The youngest graduate was 17 and the oldest was over 60 years old!
The Class of 2023 graduated amidst a pandemic, which required true courage, conviction and resilience. My message was that courage is often born from adversity and has the power to propel us all toward success. I shared my personal struggle when I was in high school, living in affordable housing and working two jobs. These experiences led me to public service and while in office I've endured hateful attacks, bullying, and my home was vandalized. From these experiences, I learned not to succumb to fear and to put my oath above all because the fight for justice requires our perseverance.
This generation of graduates gives me hope that together we can transform hardship and fear into something beautiful. Collectively we can build a future to overcome our most urgent generational challenges like the affordable housing crisis and climate crisis, and strengthen democratic institutions to lift us all. I'm so inspired by these graduates who can lead and light the way!