For a better experience please change your browser to CHROME, FIREFOX, OPERA or Internet Explorer.
A Harvard Grad’s Powerful Speech Went Viral For All the Right Reasons

A Harvard Grad’s Powerful Speech Went Viral For All the Right Reasons

A Harvard graduate’s inspiring commencement speech has been called “one of the most powerful, heartfelt student speeches” by Harvard University.

Donovan Livingston, a master’s graduate from the university, performed his spoken word poem “Lift Off” for the Harvard Graduate School of Education student speech.

His poem addresses the history of racism in education and encouraged the next generation of teachers to recognise the individual potential of each student.

He begins with a quote from Horace Mann: “Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is a great equalizer of the conditions of men,” before pointing out how African American people were persecuted for learning to read and write during the educational reformer’s lifetime.

“For some, the only difference between a classroom and a plantation is time,” he said.

Over 170,000 people have shared the video on Facebook.

Here is the full text of Mr Livingston’s poem, titled Lift Off:

“Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin,

Is a great equalizer of the conditions of men.” – Horace Mann, 1848.

At the time of his remarks I couldn’t read — couldn’t write.

Any attempt to do so, punishable by death.

For generations we have known of knowledge’s infinite power.

Yet somehow, we’ve never questioned the keeper of the keys —

The guardians of information.

 

Unfortunately, I’ve seen more dividing and conquering

In this order of operations — a heinous miscalculation of reality.

For some, the only difference between a classroom and a plantation is time.

How many times must we be made to feel like quotas —

Like tokens in coined phrases? —

In case you missed it
How Getting Lost in Thailand Taught Me to Let Go

“Diversity. Inclusion”

There are days I feel like one, like only —

A lonely blossom in a briar patch of broken promises.

But I’ve always been a thorn in the side of injustice.

 

Disruptive. Talkative. A distraction.

With a passion that transcends the confines of my consciousness —

Beyond your curriculum, beyond your standards.

I stand here, a manifestation of love and pain,

With veins pumping revolution.

I am the strange fruit that grew too ripe for the poplar tree.

I am a DREAM Act, Dream Deferred incarnate.

I am a movement – an amalgam of memories America would care to forget

My past, alone won’t allow me to sit still.

So my body, like the mind

Cannot be contained.

 

As educators, rather than raising your voices

Over the rustling of our chains,

Take them off. Un-cuff us.

Unencumbered by the lumbering weight

Of poverty and privilege,

Policy and ignorance.

 

I was in the 7th grade, when Ms. Parker told me,

“Donovan, we can put your excess energy to good use!”

And she introduced me to the sound of my own voice.

She gave me a stage. A platform.

She told me that our stories are ladders

That make it easier for us to touch the stars.

So climb and grab them.

Keep climbing. Grab them.

Spill your emotions in the big dipper and pour out your soul.

Light up the world with your luminous allure.

 

To educate requires Galileo-like patience.

Today, when I look my students in the eyes, all I see are constellations.

If you take the time to connect the dots,

In case you missed it
A Single, Simple Rule That Will Change Your Life

You can plot the true shape of their genius —

Shining in their darkest hour.

 

I look each of my students in the eyes,

And see the same light that aligned Orion’s Belt

And the pyramids of Giza.

I see the same twinkle

That guided Harriet to freedom.

I see them. Beneath their masks and mischief,

Exists an authentic frustration;

An enslavement to your standardized assessments.

 

At the core, none of us were meant to be common.

We were born to be comets,

Darting across space and time —

Leaving our mark as we crash into everything.

A crater is a reminder that something amazing happened here —

An indelible impact that shook up the world.

Are we not astronomers — looking for the next shooting star?

I teach in hopes of turning content, into rocket ships —

Tribulations into telescopes,

So a child can see their potential from right where they stand.

An injustice is telling them they are stars

Without acknowledging night that surrounds them.

Injustice is telling them education is the key

While you continue to change the locks.

 

Education is no equalizer —

Rather, it is the sleep that precedes the American Dream.

So wake up — wake up! Lift your voices

Until you’ve patched every hole in a child’s broken sky.

Wake up every child so they know of their celestial potential.

I’ve been a Black hole in the classroom for far too long;

Absorbing everything, without allowing my light escape.

But those days are done. I belong among the stars.

And so do you. And so do they.

In case you missed it
40 Quotes that Will Calm Your Mind When You’re at a Crossroads

Together, we can inspire galaxies of greatness

For generations to come.

No, sky is not the limit. It is only the beginning.

Lift off.


GROW YOUR BUSINESS
Post Ads on GhanaBusiness.Net, Promote your own Products, Business or Services.
 It's Free. It's takes seconds to Reach 50,000 Visitors a Day
Search
Generic filters
Exact matches only
Top
Hello!
Get exclusive tips on latest resources to help you grow your business. No spam, just valuable content.
Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter Today!
SIGN UP
Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime
Close
Follow us

GROW YOUR BUSINESS
Post Ads on GhanaBusiness.Net, Promote your own Products, Business or Services.
 It's Free. It's takes seconds to Reach 50,000 Visitors a Day