NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on Monday urged a group of graduating students at Fisk University to mobilize against prejudice and inequality.
Paying tribute to the legacy of civil rights activism of students at the historically black university, Pelosi told the new graduates that they too would be called to action.
Pelosi did not mention President Donald Trump by name, but she alluded to him.
“The world you face today is much different than the world when you even first enrolled,” she said in her commencement speech. “The election showed how much more work needs to be done to rid our nation of negative attitudes that have haunted us for generations. But we will prevail. We will prevail because America is a great country.”
Pelosi spoke of how Fisk students fought in the 1960s for civil rights, including a campaign of sit-ins in Nashville to end racial segregation at lunch counters. Much of the civil rights doctrine embraced by Dr. Martin Luther King and first articulated by Mahatma Gandhi was based on the idea of insisting on truth, she said.
“Draw on your education you received at Fisk and insist on the truth of your right to every opportunity,” Pelosi told graduates. “Insist on the truth that we make good on the full promise of our democracy. Insist on the truth that black lives matter.”
She also called on young people to vote to honor those who fought for the right to cast a ballot.
Pelosi and Curb Records founder Mike Curb were awarded honorary degrees.