May 7, 2016

It's the start of graduation season, and President Obama spoke at the Historically Black Howard University graduation ceremony earlier today. The Washington Post reports that Obama

emphasized that “racism persists, inequality persists. But I wanted the class of 2016 to open your eyes to the moment you are in.”

...And in front a predominantly black audience at Howard, the president chastised those who would not consider voting given the long and difficult civil rights struggle.

“You don’t have to risk your life to cast a ballot,” Obama said. “Someone already did that for you. What’s your excuse?”

The president, in another indirect response to rhetoric from presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, also made a call for empathy and understanding of different cultures and races, including immigrants, refugees, transgendered people and the rural poor.

And he urged the crowd to “be confident in your blackness. There’s no one way to be black. Take it from someone who’s seen both sides of the debate about whether I’m black enough.”

Here is the entire address courtesy of The White House Youtube account:

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