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Vice President Kamala Harris Speaks at Tennessee State University Graduation

Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover and Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris smile at each other during Saturday’s TSU’s commencement. (John Partipilo)

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On a rainy spring morning, Vice President Kamala Harris stood before Tennessee State University’s class of 2022, reviewing the past and a future unknown to the graduating students.

Before her played a montage of the country’s history of Black Americans, of Emmitt Till’s murder, the Civil Rights movement and Martin Luther King Jr., all of which led to the first Black president, Barack Obama, being elected. 

Now Harris stood on a historically Black campus as the first female vice-president, the first Black vice-president and the first Asian-American vice-president of the United States. 

The rain stopped for a moment as she began to speak words of praise for the graduates, who were born and raised to witness several historical events in their lifetimes.

“You are a generation that grew up online and survived a pandemic,” she said.

“And the world that you graduated into is unsettled,” she added.  

Although inequality has always existed, she said, history is repeating  itself as women and men once again face disenfranchisement through extreme wealth inequality, disparities in criminal justice, voting rights and other “fundamental principles we hoped were long settled.” 

“Principles like the freedom to vote and the rights of women to make decisions about their own bodies,” she said. 

Vice President Kamala Harris congratulates TSU graduates as they receive their diplomas. (John Partipilo)

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