(CNSNews.com) – The class of 2017 is graduating in a “great period of great change,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told students at Fisk University, a historically black university in Nashville, Tennessee on Monday.
In her speech, Pelosi invoked God’s help for the nation; told graduates to “insist on the truth”; and urged everyone vote.
"The world you face today is much different from the world when you even first enrolled,” Pelosi said. "The election showed just how much more work needs to be done to rid our nation of negative attitudes that have haunted us for generations.”
She did not elaborate, but she did make a subtle jab at President Donald Trump: “We will prevail because America is a great country that can withstand even some of the present circumstances.”
(The audience laughed.)
"We will prevail, we will prevail because God is always with us,” Pelosi continued. “God is with us to help us rid our country of some of those negative attitudes. But we have more work to do, and you will be in the forefront.”
Pelosi told graduates that the 2016 election “reawakened the activism of the American character,” with young people “mobilizing against prejudices, injustices that have been tolerated, ignored for too long.”
She mentioned the past activism of Fisk students during the civil rights movement, and urged them to continue that fight:
“Insist on the truth that we must make good on the full promise of our democracy. Insist on the truth that black lives matter. Insisting on the truth is disruptive. It is difficult. But it has been absolutely necessary to the fight for justice and equality.
“Insist on the truth by voting. Mandate the truth by voting,” Pelosi continued.
She spoke about Dr. Martin Luther King’s emphasis on the ballot as a way of improving people’s lives:
"So in order to honor the sacrifice of Dr. King and so many and so many of our graduates, and those who went before, and so many in our history who fought for the right to vote, we must all honor that sacrifice by, not only honoring that sacrifice to vote, but to ensure that what they fought for in equality, fighting injustice, and providing opportunity by voting.”
Pelosi asked the graduates to “all pledge to take responsibility for the future by holding public officials accountable in the fight for equality and injustice.”
“So let's hear it again -- are you going to vote?” she asked. “Are your families going to vote?”