Bernie Sanders' Powerful Graduation Speech Calls for National Transformation

At Brooklyn College Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders made an urgent plea to graduates at his alma mater: Fight back.


The Vermont senator was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters degree, after which he gave a moving commencement address to the 4,000-plus gathered at Barclays Center.

"You know and I know that these are tough times for our country," Sanders began. "But...standing up here and looking out at the beautiful people in front of me, I have enormous confidence in the future of our country." 

Sanders, like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who kicked off the ceremony, graduated from James Madison High School, a public school in Brooklyn. He went on to attend Brooklyn College for just one year before transferring to the University of Chicago.

In Brooklyn, Sanders shared a three-and-a-half-room, rent-controlled apartment with his parents and older brother. 

"From those experiences of growing up without a lot of money, I have never forgotten that there are millions of people throughout this country who struggle to put food on the table, pay the electric bill, try to save for their kids' education or for retirement," Sanders told the audience. "People who against great odds are fighting today to live in dignity."

Sanders also spoke to a second, but equally important reality that has impacted his life: growing up as a first-generation American. 

"My father emigrated to the United States and escaped Hitler and the Holocaust," Sanders explained. For this reason, the senator refuses to dismiss the surge in right-wing nationalism that has swept the country since the 2016 election.

Lastly, Sanders addressed the political corruption of the Trump administration—an “oligarchy” set to deprive 23 million of health insurance under its latest health bill. 

"Fight back," he urged the crowd. "Think big, not small, and help us create the nation that we all know we can become." 

Watch:

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.