*In her commencement address to graduates of New York’s City College, First Lady Michelle Obama stressed the historical importance of diversity and immigrant communities in this country.
“It’s the story that I witness every single day. When I wake up in a house that was built by slaves,” she told the Class of 2016 in her final commencement address as first lady. “And I watch my daughters, two beautiful black young women, head off to school, waving goodbye to their father, the President of the United States; the son of a man from Kenya who came here to America for the same reasons as many of you, to get an education and improve his prospects in life.”
The first lady spoke on City College’s main campus in Upper Manhattan under cloudy skies and sporadic drizzle before more than 3,800 undergraduate and graduate students and their families. Founded in 1847, the school has long prided itself on educating immigrants and those without the means of attending a private university. More than 40 percent of City College’s students are first-generation college students and half are from low-income households.
“You represent more than 150 nationalities, you speak more than 100 different languages, you represent just about every possible background — every color and culture, every faith and walk of life,” said FLOTUS.
Without naming names, FLOTUS criticized the proposed wall on the U.S. southern border and she lamented “name calling” of opponents and “folks out there” who “demonize and dehumanize entire groups of people.”
“Here in America, we don’t give into our fears. We don’t build up walls to keep people out, because we know that our greatness has always depended on contributions from people who were born elsewhere but sought out this country,” she said in her 23-minute speech.
“One of us!” a woman shouted as Mrs. Obama received an honorary doctorate of humane letters.