Finnfan (1000+ posts) Wed Jun-04-08 07:45 AM
Text of the speech I will be making to my 7th-grade students today.
DU, I can't tell you how proud I am to be a teacher today. On my classroom white board, I have the statement "CONGRATULATIONS BARACK OBAMA ON BECOMING THE 1ST NON-WHITE MAJOR PARTY PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE!" I'm going to let my students, if they choose to, write messages to Obama on the board, and I hope to post pictures later. My student are mostly from the city of Hartford, and the majority are black or hispanic. I'm delivering the following speech to all of my classes today, in the hopes that it will inspire tham. Please let me know what you think.
Ladies and gentleman, I wanted to take a few minutes out of our normal class time to talk about something that happened last night; something historic. Does anyone know what I might be referring to? (wait for responses). Yes, Barack Obama has become the first African-American, the first non-white male, to secure from a major party the nomination for president. His major competition for the nomination, Hillary Clinton, was also not a white male, but a woman, and had Obama faltered, Clinton would have been the first female to secure a major-party presidential nomination.
I want to impress upon you just how much of a step forward this is. Despite all of the progress on civil rights that we’ve made in this country, I never thought that I’d live to see this day. I thought that the racism in our society was still too powerful. I did not think that “white America” could accept having a black man (or a woman) as our leader. Last night I was proven wrong. I am very proud of my country today.
I want to stress that I am not saying that you must support Barack Obama’s campaign for president (or encourage your family to do so). Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream was to have a nation in which we are judged not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character. In that spirit, I believe that Dr. King would want us to examine the policies and the positions of each of the men running for president and make our decision based upon careful judgment. What I am saying instead is that for the first time in my adult life I feel like I can look each of you in the eye and truthfully say “With hard work and perseverance; with dignitas, gravitas and pietas, you can do anything.”
I’ve gotten to know each of you fairly well over the course of this year, and my greatest joy has been learning that you all have something special about you, and because of that, this country and this world is wide open to you. _____________, you can do and become anything (repeat for each student).
My hope is that we will all look back on the events of June 3rd, 2008 as the beginning of real equality in this country. Everyone in this classroom and in this school will play an important part in making that happen. You can start be being the best “you” that you can be. I am going to miss every one of you, but I look forward to watching you grow and prosper hear at Classical and beyond, and I can’t wait to see what you become.